Since last Friday, a lot of change has occurred with eyes watching along all sides of the spectrum.
For me, I’ve been feeling the pulse of strong emotions and charged energy surging through my body. Magnify that with news, social media, conversations with friends and family – it’s a lot for our minds and bodies to manage.
Yesterday, I finally recognized “Ok, I’ve gotta regroup or else I'll burn out!” Which to be honest, isn’t something new for me. Or for any of us really. When our immediate attention shifts from our established priories, it’s natural and common to feel “off” – in body, mind, spirit.
I use the word “normal” loosely – nothing about all this is normal which is why so many of us are feeling it – no matter where your affinities lie. But a sense of “normal” puts your priorities, abilities, and capabilities back into balance and that helps you make wiser decisions going forward. A stressed out mind makes lousy choices.
So what can you do to help pull the threads back to the center? Try these 3 simple, but powerful, activities that take under 5 minutes to do.
Set a timer for 2 minutes and just breathe
This is the quickest, easiest, and most effective way to calm yourself down. Not only is breathing a nice break from the world, it helps send a dose of soothing signals through your body. Why 2 minutes? Because that’s all it takes for the relaxing effects to kick in. Repeat as needed. I personally do this 3-5 times a day (usually when I’m riding the train) or when I find myself getting sucked into the black hole of link-clicking.
Make a list of personal activities you enjoy and pick 1 to do in the next 48 hours
This one will be fun. Whenever we think about enjoyable activities, our mindset shifts towards the positive, and this has what’s called an “upward spiral” effect, meaning – enjoyment inspires uplifting behaviors. It re-establishes a sense of “normalcy” for you personally. I’m a trained life coach and I’m all about pairing ideas to action because movement forward helps us get out of our own way.
To focus, set a timer for 5 minutes. Get really specific – the more detailed, the better. For example, I really enjoy cleaning my make-up brushes; making music playlists for both yoga classes and personal workouts; I love walking around the health/beauty section at Whole Foods, smelling EVERYTHING; I love getting new colorful pens and decorative journals. You see? Even me writing this, I just got a jolt of excitement!
It may seem small, but little doses of empowerment add up.
Turn the volume down
When things get too loud, turn it down. This can mean a lot of different things – literally or metaphorically.
I know social media is a major one, so take some steps to adjust or reframe your use. If keeping up with news is very important to you, but all means keep doing that, but give some structure to what that means. Unfollow people, pages, groups that are not aligning with what you need right now. You can always adjust settings in the future – and no, turning off is not the same thing as avoiding. This is a version of self-care.
Most things in life are negotiable if you’re clear on your reasons and boundaries. For example, my husband loves to talk about the daily news right when we come home from work, but sometimes I am just not able to give the mental or emotional attention to it and I often say “I know this is really important to you, but right now I’m not able to participate because I just need to recharge myself first. Can we maybe pick it up later?” Yes I do this – a lot – and it works and we call it “decompress time” and it’s the best.
I hope some – maybe all – of these ideas work for you, let me know and please share, take care of each other and when in doubt, JUST BREATHE.