These last weeks of summer are sweltering and seem to add pressure to already chaotic times. We’ve just adjusted to the new, pandemic-driven way to live summer and now the early signs of a changing season are upon us. If you are a parent, caregiver, or teacher you have been living the realities of the new school year. And if you support one of those aforementioned people, you’ve been hearing all about it! One word describes it all: overwhelming. The pressure is on to manage it all with grace.
Life often gives us intense periods of time where we have a lot going on and the pressure to perform well in multiple areas of our life becomes intense. Just when we need energy and clarity of mind the most, we feel stressed, sluggish, tired, and overwhelmed.
So what do we do about it? There is no magic formula, but there is a series of 8 questions you can ask yourself every day and some simple actions you can take to feel some instant improvement.
Have I spent time outside in fresh air?
Quick action – step outside for just 5 minutes (yes even when it is hot or rainy). My favorite times to step outside are first thing in the morning with my coffee, right before I eat lunch, and in the evening before the bedtime routine starts in our house.
Pro Tip – no electronics! Just be an observer and breath.
Have I eaten regular meals?
This one is going to seem obvious…Quick action – eat a full meal at the next designated meal time. You will kill your energy by skipping meals or snacking your way through the day.
Pro Tip – if you are in back to back meetings all day, suggest that one of them become a working lunch and everyone takes the time to eat (turn the video off if necessary). Not only will you get the nutrition you need, but so will your co-workers. A win for everybody!
Have I showered?
Seems like a silly question to ask, but with so much remote work it is easy to skip this step a little more often than you think. Quick action – go wash your face, your wrists, and the back of your neck with cold water. This will get you an instance rejuvenation. Wearing makeup? Use a cold towel to pat your face, especially your temples and around the eyes.
Pro Tip – this works even when you have showered and will give you a quick pick me up.
Have I moved my body today?
Quick action – stand up. Yep, it’s that simple. If you have been sitting a lot, standing will help your blood start to flow. If possible, go for a short a walk. It will take you places (okay – that was a terrible joke). I work from home and find that even walking and looking out each door in my house is enough movement to bring me back to life a bit. Ideally, scheduling a solid 30 minute walk or your favorite workout will bring you the best results.
Pro Tip – add some music to your movement. It will give your brain a boost too and even make you smile (another energy boosting move!).
Am I getting enough sleep?
The answer is probably no. LOL. Quick action – take a nap. Neuroscience has taught us a lot lately about the power of naps. Short, 10-20 minutes naps can be rejuvenating and give you an energy boost. Longer naps (2-3 hours) can increase your creativity. I have found that 6-7 hours of sleep at night combined with an afternoon nap a few days a week is a good combo. I promise you can find some time in your day for a nap, even if you have kids around.
Pro Tip – set a timer for 20 minutes and have everybody in the house go to a different room for some quiet time. Let them play with toys, read books, or just roll around singing to themselves. This will give you some much needed space and a moment to rest your own eyes.
Have I connected with someone I love?
How easy it is to find ourselves feeling alone during stressful, high pressure times. Good thing it is easy to resolve! Quick action – call or text someone you love. Trust me – they love receiving the message “I needed a quick break so I thought I would call you.” Being that person you thought of gives them the warm fuzzies. Hearing their voice or exchanging some quick texts will remind you that you are not alone.
Pro Tip – no complaining about work or your pressure. Keep the conversation quick and light-hearted. This will reduce your stress and give you a bigger energy boost.
Have I been comparing my real life to other people’s highlight reel?
Ugh – let’s just say this is too easy to do. Good thing you can counter any negative, jealous feelings pretty quickly. Quick action – First, be genuinely happy for the person you are comparing yourself too. They are a person in your life for a reason. We want good things for our family and friends. Second, take a moment to grab a piece of scratch paper and write down 5 things you are grateful for in your life. Gratitude quickly shows you your own highlight reel.
Pro Tip – if you see someone who really seems to have it together, reach out and connect with them personally. You will gain insights and benefits that help you no matter what. They will either share some tips on how they are making it happen, or you will see that they too have strife (or maybe even both!).
Have I been thinking kind thoughts to myself?
Working on a big project at work? Do you ever find yourself thinking that your teammate seems to be cool as a cucumber, and you wonder why you feel like a hot mess? Yep – there you go beating yourself up. Quick action – repeat after me: “It is okay to feel <insert emotion here>.” Research shows us that naming our emotions and telling ourselves it is okay actually triggers our brain to start to counteract that emotion. Humans are so cool!
Pro Tip – see above for connecting with someone you love. They will remind you that you are a pretty good person!
When you are feeling overwhelmed take a deep breath, ask yourself these questions, and then choose 1-2 of them and take quick action. This will give you some momentum to build on so you can tackle another set of tasks. Pro Tip – ask yourself these questions at the end of the day too! A couple of quick actions to improve your mood in the evening will help you end your day on a positive note.
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These blog posts are meant to be thought-provoking. We encourage you to use your deep thinking skills and apply this to your own growth and development in a way that is meaningful to you! If you choose to respond or start a conversation on this, we ask that you practice professionalism at all times.
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