Has the shine of new years worn off? Feeling like you’re hitting a slump? Does winter have you down? Here are 6 quick ways to “level up” right now! Focus on self-care and shift your thinking and get back on track today!
Build a self-care bank:
If the foundation of our self-care is in order, everything else feels easier to cope with. But if we’re not sleeping well, eating well, exercising, hydrated or if we don’t have any outlets for stress or socialization, every life stressor feels like a mountain we don’t have the energy to climb. When we practice impeccable self-care on a regular basis, we are building a bank of resiliency and we’re more equipped to handle life’s bumps, bruises and curve-balls when the arise. For quick self-care changes, ask yourself if the choice you’re making is in alignment with your highest good. When we elevate our consciousness before making a decision on what to eat or drink or when to exercise or go to bed for example, these decisions become important investments in the greater self-care bank.
Hit the pause button:
When my clients feel overwhelmed, the quickest way to relief is to take a deep breath, close their eyes, mindfully tune in and ask “what do I need?” This pause allows us to tap into our self-care short list and assess what might make things feel better. Many times, busy, over-extended clients I work with complain of feeling flooded with mental thoughts, lists and worries. Hitting the pause button helps us stop the flow of external stimulation and helps us tune in to how we’re feeling and identify what we need. Think of the pause button like a 1 minute meditation break. Try it right now. Pause, close your eyes, take a deep belly breath, exhale and ask yourself “what do I need?” This practice is like a mind, body, spirit reboot and it helps us quickly transition to feeling centered and calm through expanding our self-awareness and self-compassion.
Stop sign your thinking:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) teaches us that our thoughts and perceptions create our behavior. When we start to feel anxiety or stress build, we can practice using a stop sign for our thoughts. Ask yourself if the thoughts that you’re having are true and evidenced-based or if they’re based on fears and distortions? Shift those thoughts into an evidenced-based column of thinking and you’ll notice it shifts how you feel. CBT is a quick and simple practice that improves our wellness and mental health. When we shift our thoughts and feelings, we often shift our behavior too. Practicing CBT can help us relax our mind and calm our worries.
Link to APA info on CBT: https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral.aspx
Another quick strategy for shifting from scarcity to abundance is to practice gratitude. There’s science behind “count your blessings.” Shawn Achor, happiness researcher and author says that practicing gratitude teaches our brain to scan the world for positive things. In addition, research on maintaining a weekly practice of gratitude has been shown to increase trust-related behaviors and have physiological benefits as well. (link to article below)
Oprah’s 21 day happiness course with Shawn Achor: http://www.shawnachor.com/in-action/oprah-happiness-ecourse/
Gratitude research: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886917300429
Help your future self:
As a solution-focused and strategic clinician, I help clients move from managing crisis to focusing on prevention. It’s much easier to prevent stress than to untangle from it once you’re in it! One of the best solutions for this is learning how to stay organized, how to manage our time and focus on preparation. Stay ahead of stress by doing something small today that makes a big difference tomorrow. Learn how to help your future self. Lay out your gym clothes, shoes and water bottle, meal prep and batch cook when time allows, use your weekends and downtime wisely, stock your supplies for busy, hectic times. Simple, easy prep-ahead gestures can make us feel nurtured and cared for when we’re rushed and over extended.
The fastest way to increase our distress tolerance is to remind ourselves that what we’re experiencing, no matter how stressful or challenging, is temporary. Anxiety grows exponentially when we feel trapped. When we’re in the middle of a very stressful life event, we feel all consumed by our emotions and worry that this state of mind is our new normal. When we remind ourselves that what we’re experiencing is challenging, but temporary, we instantly shift from hopelessness to hope.