During this time of heightened stress, challenging changes and isolation, its most important to be grounded and calm. The simple fact is that our brain is programmed for fear and fear significantly compromises our immune system. When we grab onto our mind’s fearful thoughts, it sends a chain reaction to our feelings and behaviors, putting us into a downward negative spiral. These thoughts can create depressive and/or anxious feelings, which then affect our choices to do helpful and healthy things for ourselves, and others.
The following tips and techniques will help provide the necessary self-care you need to stay centered and promote a healthier mind, body and spirit.
1. Make self-care the number one priority after social distancing I appreciate that thinking about self-care can be a difficult task with children at home and/or a new home office or maybe you are now entirely alone without social interaction.
However, structure is key. Keeping routines is very helpful in not losing track of the days, time and your mental health. Even the simplest things like, taking a shower and getting dressed can actually improve your mood. Keep a regular meal, exercise, work and relaxation schedule. I highly recommend adding the following three things to your day which will take only about 30-minutes and will positively impact your mental and physical health. By creating this simple Daily Energy Routine it will center your mind, move your body and boost your immune system.
- Meditate. Add 10-15 minutes of meditation to your daily routine. Meditation has been proven to reduce cortisol and increase the production of IGA which helps your body fight bacteria and viruses. I personally use a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra & Oprah called Perfect Health. The cost of this 21 day meditation is $49 to own and can be found on www.choprameditation.com. You can create an account and share it with your whole family. Each daily guided meditation is about 15 minutes.
- Get outside and move. At minimum, I recommend a safe 20-minute walk around your neighborhood once a day to get out of the house, breathe fresh air and appreciate the outdoors.
- Stimulate your immune system. 30 seconds of thumping your thymus gland activates the thymus to produce T-cells which stimulate your immune system into production. It also will calm and ground you. It is recommended to do this three times per day. It's easy and can be taught to anyone
2. Limit your exposure to negativity. This includes people, news and social media.
- Give yourself a balance when checking in on the world. When watching or reading the news, do it only once a day, or twice at most. Try to focus on what is relevant for you and don’t dive too deep. Remember to read the positive feel-good stories. •
- Turn off your phone notifications that are not necessary. This way you can stay in the moment and not be interrupted from a positive activity and drawn back down into fear. Add inspiring people to your social media feed. Some of my favorites are Peaceful Barb, Elizabeth Gilbert and Byron Katie.
3. Challenge and re-frame negative thoughts. Anxiety is running high because of all the unknowns right now.
- Stay in the moment of what you are doing right now.
- If you find your mind telling you things like “this is awful” or “I can’t handle this isolation” sit with that thought quietly and purposefully for a few minutes. Close your eyes, drop your shoulders and take three deep slow breaths and ask yourself “is that true?” The truth is that you are doing it so you can do it, and this will pass.
- Re-frame the current situation into all the positives you can think of and write them down.
- I/We are home and healthy
- I/We are actually enjoying our home more than ever before
- We have new family time
- The pets are so happy to have us home
- I have time to read or watch a show
- I get to sleep in and start my day slowly
- I get to slow down or, now I can finish that project, etc.....