The power of gratitude and caring for yourself during times of stress and change.
For the past 22 months, the human race has been in a constant state of crisis. While the mind and body are wired to rise to short-term crisis events and do very well, the physical and mental states do not do well with long-term crises. Symptoms can be poor sleep, more sleep, increased body aches and headaches, gastrointestinal problems, weight gain or loss, muscle twitching, being more easily startled and fearful, slower thinking, decreased memory for immediate and short-term thinking, and sadness and loneliness. Sound familiar? It can leave one feeling drained even after a couple of days off.
This season, help the brain move from surviving to thriving with these tips to replenish your bucket and have something left for yourself at the end of the day.
Assess for Burnout
Feeling like a robot? Heading home after the day only to collapse for the evening? That’s a sign of burnout.
Use 5 Skills Human Minds Already Have:
Curiosity: Seek answers to your questions.
Creativity: Create ideas, music, art, words, things, food, and projects.
Initiative: Take ideas and make them happen.
Networking: Find support, vent, and brainstorm.
Empathy: Offer help to coworkers, friends, or family who are not doing well emotionally.
Stress Buster Tips:
• Breathe in through the nose and out through pursed lips two to three times when stressed.
• Use phone apps for meditation.
• Aim for better sleep at night.
• Listen to your favorite music.
• Stop running errands on breaks.
• Allow oneself to do fewer extra things on stressful days.
Try Mini Meditations Close your eyes and visualize your very favorite place. Notice all the things you see. Smell the things you love about this place. Listen to the wonderful sounds of this place. Soak up how this special place makes you feel. Breathe in all these things with two or three deep breaths. Open your eyes and continue your day. Know that you can return anytime.
Love and Kindness Meditation* Visualize your favorite place, take deeper breaths, and say the following as you breathe in deeply and out slowly: “May you be well. May you be healthy. May you be at ease.” Say it for yourself. Then, offer it to a few others you wish to bless that day by sending positive energy out to the world.
Attitude of Gratitude* At the end of the day, pick three things to be grateful for, one thing to pat yourself on the back for, and three people to send some love and good wishes to.
*Research has found practicing these two exercises cononsistently can lower your physical stress response by 80%.
3 Questions to Start Your Day: What can I look forward to today? What has the potential to stress me out or worry me? (Separate factual worry from catastrophic worry.) How do I want to feel at the end of the day?
Books to Read:
“The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World,” by Dr. Vivek Murthy
“The New Normal,” by Dr. Jennifer Ashton
“Brain Tap,” by Patrick Porter, PhD