It’s time to check in with ourselves. Are we okay? There’s a lot going on in our world, weird & negative politics, lives of people of color are in peril, a global pandemic ... the heaviness can really get you down, read on to learn some simple and easy ways to cope.
Change your thoughts, change your life
As we continue to fight our way through COVID-19, and its residual effects on the economy; the social injustices of the world, and environmental impacts that continue to plague the world causing our health and well-being to suffer, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it all.
We can find ourselves wondering how we can contribute and do our part to make things better. But before we dive into saving the world, let's take some time to examine our inner peace and emotional well-being.
Whenever you take a flight, there is one thing you'll consistently hear, regardless of the airline you choose, "grab and put on your oxygen mask first." Every time passengers board a plane, just before takeoff, we hear these words. You can't help others if you are not able to breath yourself. The key lesson here is self-care.
Let's Talk About You
Are you sitting home right now? Maybe you're taking care of your family - your spouse, your kids, or maybe you're helping to care for someone else's children. Perhaps you are caring for your aging parents or grandparents. It could be
that you find your alone at this time, or missing loved ones for various reasons. Whatever your state of being, it likely looks a lot different than it did a few short months ago.
With the onset of the Corona Virus, people's daily lives changed tremendously. Our daily routines of running to and fro, coming and going from here to there was suddenly condensed to being simply, "here" in whatever place we find ourselves today. Everything to our daily living including work, school, and shopping all began to take place under one roof. In the interest of public health and stability we self-quarantined in our homes and here we have remained for the past few months.
For many of us, we are cooking and cleaning far more that we did before. Some of us have become instant school teachers helping our children to learn lessons we either haven't seen in decades or never even heard of. Our bosses may have become more expectant of us because we are working from home and avoiding time consuming traffic and the daily interruptions that can occur inside the office, surely we must have more time to dedicate towards getting work done! With the absence of barriers and dedicated work spaces we can find ourselves working well past usual work schedules and mixing work with everything that should be about home and family time. Then there are those of us who lost jobs and have been feverishly waiting for the economy to regain some footing so we can get back to work.
When the Walls Are Closing In
There is no place like home, especially when the walls begin to close in on you. Humans are social by nature, we can or will only stay closed off for each other for as long as we can stand it. Even introverts find some solace in hearing the sounds of people around them. So since we could not go outside and play, we submerged ourselves into social media, online gaming and shopping. Yet, there's only so much time that will pass before your phone even starts to lose its appeal.
For some of us, all of these forced changes to our daily living may not feel forced at all, we welcome and embrace solitude. However for others, it can can a strong affect on our psychological well-being. When people begin to feel caged, or boxed in , its natural to want to break free. I was so happy when our first box of face masks arrived in the mail, finally I could meander around outside my among my neighbors, meet up with friends or simply go grocery shopping without worrying about getting sick - all while safely socially distanced of course!
Are you okay?
As the new normal way we are living continues to feel no so normal, there are ways to cope with "not so normal" feelings. It's time to step outside yourself and look within, are you okay? None of us are perfect, it's perfectly okay, to admit you're not okay. If you're someone who is not impacted at all by the changes in our world and daily living, more power to you! If that's you, check in with the rest of us, we could use your support.
If you find you can't quite button up you favorite pair of jeans, there's been a noticeable ache in your neck or lower back that popped up out of nowhere, did your turn off your morning wake up alarm on your phone and realize that its now time for lunch and you've been scrolling Facebook the whole time? Maybe you want chicken for dinner, no fish... no wait, chicken? Find yourself being a bit indecisive?
These examples of the beginning signs of mild depression may be a bit extreme, but if you answered yes to any of those questions, you may be among millions of other people who are feeling the same.
The Good News Is...
Human beings are very resilient. You can bounce back and start feeling more like yourself again. Being resilient is the ability to pick yourself up after a setback, traumatic event or disappointment. Resilience is not something we are just born with, it is learned over time.
"Roughly 40% of our overall happiness is thought to derive not from our circumstances or genes, but from our actions, and resilience is part of that." - Prevention.com
Our ability to be resilient has everything to do with how we take care of ourselves, the people we choose to be around and where we find purpose and meaning in our lives. Set yourself up for success and be the strongest yet no matter what you're facing.
Change the way you think, watch the words you say to yourself, and get a handle on certain habits that may be part of your everyday routine that may be keeping you from being your best. Here are a 8 tips to help get you along.
1. Get More Sleep. Aim for 7 - 8 hours of relaxing sleep for a stronger body, healthier immune system and improved brain function to make better decisions. There are apps you can download right to your phone to help you fall effortlessly into dreamland.
2. Move your boombsey! Exercise regularly! You'll amazed at how great your body feels and your mood is enhanced with at least 30 minutes a day of movement, walk, run, dance, the choices are endless, just get up and move.
3. Breath! Start your day with meditation can help to clear your mind, making your more alert and calm.
4. Eat well to be well. Our bodies need energy. When we eat enough to feel full we have the strength and vitality to keep moving. Increase your water, fruit and vegetable intake. The body uses at least 20% of our overall calorie intake to effectively solve problems.
5. Talk. Share your feelings with someone you love/trust. If you can't be with them face to face, call them. Chances are they may need to open up and talk too.
6. Find something funny. Laughter is good the soul.
"A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells." - helpguide.org
7. Write. Starting a gratitude journal and repeating daily affirmations can also help you become stronger and better handle whatever life brings your way.
8. Do you have a hobby? Set an appointment with yourself. Carve out at least 15 to 30 minutes a day to focus on doing something that brings you joy.
The tools and advice shared here are merely opinion and may not be enough for what you may be facing or how you may be feeling. Get help. Seek the advice or guidance of a medical professional if you are feeling sad, overwhelmed or depressed in away that you don't think you can quite handle on your own. You owe it to your future self to be your best today.
You are more than enough for these trying times. Every step you take gets you further along the journey to becoming and living your amazing life of purpose.
Valerie Winrow is an author and a women’s lifestyle writer/blogger with focused content on health, wellness, and finance. Her “Yes, I'm That Girl!” blog and "Yes, That Girl!" podcast, shares inspirational stories and anecdotes to encourage others to live a life of purpose.
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