Mental Health · Mindfulness

Looking After Yourself During Stressful Times

It’s been a tough few months and just like any human, sometimes my good intentions with regards to my own wellbeing can fly out of the window. Trying too hard to spin the many plates of life, I find myself energy depleted.

Even meditation has turned into a series of sitting practice that turns into being slumped over and snoring. So I remind myself to respect the fact that I have met my human limits and that I am exhausted. Working in the confines and environment that currently present themselves, there’s a few things that I can still do with regards to self care. These may seem basic, but during our busiest times, even the smallest of things make a difference.

Firstly, I spend that journey into work planning what is absolutely necessary to do during the working day. By absolutely necessary, I mean that if I don’t do it, there will be bad repercussions for myself or others. If there are more than three critical items in a day, I make sure to escalate the situation and get help. There’s no point trying to do what it is impossible for one person to do in the allocated timeframe as that will result in burnout.

I then look to outside work. What am I giving my energy to? If it’s tasks, again I ask myself what is essential. If it’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, I study them in terms of ensuring I am not placing more stress on myself by getting caught up in worry. Of course it’s fine and ok to worry, and natural too. It’s more a case of seeing what I can reassure myself on or look at more objectively to alleviate some of my energy depletion.

Next, I look at the refined version of my day or week. Does it still feel too full or stressful? Is there anything else I can shift around or work with in another way?

Once the refinement is done, it’s time to look at the standard self care elements. What three things can I do for myself in a day. These items should not add more stress, rather than be the glue that keeps me stuck together during a busy period. My three things are: hydration, meditation and sleep.

This month the meditation practice has resulted in the aforementioned drifting off to sleep. To me, this is a sign that my body simply needs more rest seeing as it has happened more often than not and I usually can stave off the standard tiredness that can sometimes come when meditating. So instead I’ve placed on some Yoga Nidra recordings to help settle my mind down and prepare for sleep. Often I prefer not to meditate to a recording, but it has its place and can be incredibly useful when you need a helping hand with your practice.

Next, I like to look at my circumstances and practice understanding and acceptance. We need to fully understand or give time and consideration to the circumstances we find ourselves in. For now I understand that life is very busy and some elements are upsetting. And that is how it is. And sometimes life simply is like that. But just like a wave it will rise again with great energy and happiness. So for now I accept the situation I am in and I try not to fight it. I allow myself tears when I feel sad and sometimes feel myself fight against this tricky time, but I also accept that that is a normal way any human would behave in a similar situation. All we can do is best work with our situations and ask for help where needed and understand that life has its highs and lows. We can also practice our appreciation of what we do have and what is good and well during times of difficulty. It is important to remember these seemingly small but not insignificant things.

During some of the hardest times of my life, I practiced appreciation and found that even something as simple as enjoying a cup of tea was a great gift. Sometimes giving or receiving a smile was a great gift. Sometimes just feeling a nice refreshing cool breeze was a gift. In reality, these are gifts I receive almost every day. These are also forms of energy that I receive each day. When feeling depleted, it’s important to draw upon this energy that can be easy to find but also easy to go unnoticed. No one thing is more valid or invalid in our lives. It is a matter of where we place our focus.

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Wishing you all a happy day. Please look after yourselves!

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