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The Silent Strain: How Chronic Stress Deteriorates Your Body

The Silent Strain: How Chronic Stress Deteriorates Your Body

While stress is a natural response designed to keep you alert and safe, the prolonged strain of chronic stress acts as a silent strain deteriorating your body and harming your health. Stress is inevitable for many of us in the fast-paced world we live in. So, the key to managing your stress levels and staying ahead of any detrimental effects stress can have on your body and health is to understand more about chronic stress and how it shows up, its connection to burnout, and the role of the parasympathetic nervous system in maintaining your overall health. Keep reading to learn more.

The Nature of Chronic Stress

Stress is a physiological response that dates back to our ancient ancestors. It evolved as a survival mechanism, helping our predecessors react quickly to life or death situations. This “fight or flight” response floods the body with hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, preparing you to either confront or flee from a threat. Nowadays, you still experience this sympathetic, or “fight or flight” response in times of stress or perceived danger. However, it can become chronic if, for example, you’re in a high pressure work environment and putting out fires throughout the day, most days. 

In moderation, stress can be beneficial, enhancing our performance and boosting our responsiveness. Unlike acute stress, which is short-lived and often beneficial, chronic stress is persistent and ongoing. It can be triggered by various sources like work-related pressures, financial worries, relationship problems and health concerns. As you juggle these stressors day in and day out, your body struggles to return to a state of equilibrium, leading to a range of health issues.

Burnout is the Culmination of Chronic Stress

One of the most concerning outcomes of chronic stress is burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of stress. It often affects individuals who are deeply committed to their work or responsibilities, pushing themselves beyond their limits without allowing for proper rest and recovery.

The symptoms of burnout are multifaceted. Physically, you may experience fatigue, headaches and gastrointestinal problems. Mentally, you may feel detached, experience reduced concentration and exhibit signs of cynicism and negativity. Emotionally, burnout can manifest as a sense of hopelessness and a loss of motivation. Left unaddressed, burnout can severely impact your quality of life and your ability to function well both personally and professionally.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System: A Balancing Act

To understand the impact of chronic stress on your body, we must also explore and understand the role of the autonomic nervous system, specifically the parasympathetic branch. The autonomic nervous system regulates bodily functions that occur unconsciously, like your heart rate, digestion and respiratory rate. The parasympathetic nervous system acts as a counterbalance to the “fight or flight” response, promoting relaxation and restoration. It’s often referred to as the “rest and digest” response. 

When you experience stress, the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the “fight or flight” response, becomes dominant. This activation is vital for immediate survival, but it should be followed by a period of parasympathetic dominance to allow your body to recover and repair. It’s all about balance. 

Unfortunately, chronic stress can disrupt this balance. With the sympathetic system constantly in overdrive, your body doesn’t get the chance to return to its resting state, leading to a cascade of health problems.

The Physical Toll of Chronic Stress

Stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous and reproductive systems. It can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and diseases. Additionally, prolonged exposure to stress hormones like cortisol can lead to high inflammation, a known driver of various chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Increased heart rate and blood pressure, common responses to stress, can strain the heart and blood vessels, potentially leading to hypertension and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Mental and Emotional Ramifications

The effects of chronic stress extend beyond your body, or  physical realm, affecting your mental and emotional well-being. Persistent stress can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders and depression. And the constant activation of stress pathways in the brain can lead to structural changes that disrupt healthy cognitive functions, including memory and decision-making.

Mitigating Chronic Stress: Strategies for Resilience

The good news is that you can take steps to mitigate the impact of chronic stress on your body and mind. Building resilience is essential to navigate the challenges of modern life while preserving your well-being. Here are a few strategies to consider:

Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness and meditation can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress hormones. These techniques encourage you to be present, fostering a sense of calm amidst the chaos.

Energy Healing: Energy healing sessions also activate the “rest and digest” parasympathetic response in your body. The practitioner guides you into this deeply relaxed state, where the body is then better able to heal itself on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

Regular Exercise: Physical activity is a powerful stress reducer. Engaging in regular exercise helps you release endorphins, your  natural mood elevators. Exercise also provides a healthy outlet for your pent-up energy and tension. A daily walk is a simple way to start your exercise routine.

Quality Sleep: Adequate sleep is crucial for restoring your body and mind. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a conducive sleep environment can improve your sleep quality and help manage stress.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices: A balanced diet and proper hydration can support your body’s resilience to stress. Avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption can also contribute to better stress management.

Social Connections: Building and maintaining strong social connections can provide emotional support during challenging times. Sharing experiences and seeking guidance from your friends and family can alleviate feelings of isolation.

Your Next Steps for Stress and Burnout Relief

Chronic stress is a silent strain that has the potential to erode your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Understanding the effects of chronic stress on your body and recognizing the signs of burnout is crucial for taking proactive measures to protect your health. 

If you’re curious about the level of stress or burnout in your life and how detrimental it may be, take my complimentary “How Bad is My Burnout?” quiz to find out. The results will tell you the phase you might be in and what next steps to take to ensure your body’s health and wellbeing don’t deteriorate any further. 

Additionally, start nurturing your parasympathetic nervous system and adopting one or more of the stress-reduction strategies noted above. Practiced on a consistent basis, you can build resilience and have a healthier, more balanced life in an increasingly demanding world.

 

Photo by jeshoots – Unsplash

What Everyone Ought to Know about the 3 Phases of Burnout

What Everyone Ought to Know about the 3 Phases of Burnout

Burnout is a prevalent and serious issue in our fast-paced, demanding world. It’s a state of chronic exhaustion and reduced motivation that affects both your personal well-being and professional performance.

To effectively determine if you have burnout and address it,  you need to understand the three phases that burnout typically has. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of each phase, you can evaluate where you stand in your burnout journey. And take action to heal and eliminate your burnout before it’s too late.

Please read on to learn about the three phases of burnout and how you can assess which phase you might be in. I’ve also developed a complimentary  “How Bad Is My Burnout?” quiz to help you figure it out. Understanding your burnout phase is the first step towards healing and reclaiming a healthier, happier and more balanced life.

Phase 1: The Honeymoon Phase

The initial phase of burnout is called the Honeymoon Phase. During this stage, you experience high levels of enthusiasm, motivation and commitment to your work or a specific task. You willingly invest long hours, take on additional responsibilities and display an overall positive outlook. However, the excessive workload and relentless pressure gradually begin to take a toll, indicating the onset of burnout.

To evaluate if you’re in the Honeymoon Phase, reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you frequently working longer hours than necessary, neglecting personal time and relaxation?
  • Do you find yourself taking on more responsibilities without considering the impact on your overall well-being?
  • Are you experiencing an increasing pressure to meet unrealistic expectations and constantly striving for perfection?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be in the Honeymoon Phase. It’s crucial to be mindful of the signs and proactively address them to prevent burnout from progressing further.

Phase 2: The Onset of Stress

The second phase of burnout is characterized by the Onset of Stress. During this stage, you begin to experience heightened levels of stress: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The initial enthusiasm you had starts to wane as the demands of work or life take their toll on your overall well-being and performance.

Signs and symptoms of the Onset of Stress may include:

  • Increased stress levels, manifesting as persistent anxiety and unease.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion, even after getting enough rest and sleep.
  • Difficulty concentrating and finding it challenging to complete tasks efficiently.
  • Emotional instability, like irritability, frustration or frequent mood swings.

To evaluate if you’re experiencing the Onset of Stress, consider the following questions:

  • Do you frequently feel exhausted, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, despite attempts to rest and rejuvenate?
  • Are you finding it harder to concentrate and struggling to complete tasks efficiently?
  • Are you experiencing emotional instability, such as heightened anxiety, irritability or a sense of frustration?

If you identify with these symptoms, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you may be entering the Onset of Stress phase of burnout. Taking action to address these issues and implementing self-care strategies can help prevent burnout from progressing further. You may want to consider professional help from someone like me to ensure you’re getting to the root cause of your burnout so that it doesn’t progress to phase 3. 

Phase 3: Chronic Burnout

The final phase of burnout is the most severe and debilitating, called Chronic Burnout. In this stage, you experience a state of chronic exhaustion on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You may feel emotionally detached from your work, experience a sense of hopelessness and develop a negative attitude towards your job or work-related tasks. Physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia and frequent illnesses, may also manifest and are common.

Signs and symptoms of Chronic Burnout may include:

  • Chronic exhaustion, even after resting and time off.
  • Emotional detachment and cynicism towards work or previously enjoyed activities.
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and a lack of motivation.
  • Decreased job satisfaction and performance.

Physical symptoms related to stress, such as headaches, insomnia, dis-ease or frequent illnesses. (I’m purposely writing it as “dis-ease” to emphasize that disease is merely the body in a state of un-ease; bring ease back to the body, and healing begins. The energy healing work I do with clients works beautifully for this.) 

To determine if you’re in the Chronic Burnout phase, reflect on the following questions:

  • Do you constantly feel exhausted, regardless of how much rest and relaxation you build  into your routine?
  • Have you developed a negative attitude towards your work or tasks, finding it increasingly difficult to find motivation?
  • Do you frequently experience physical symptoms related to stress, such as headaches, insomnia, dis-ease or a weakened immune system?

If you resonate with these signs, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you may be experiencing Chronic Burnout and you need to take immediate steps to address it. Support from loved ones, practicing self-care, setting boundaries and seeking professional help are actions you can take towards healing and recovery.

My Experience

In my personal experience, I went through the first two stages of burnout without really understanding how serious burnout can become if ignored. At the time, I didn’t have the knowledge or a proper support system and before I knew it, I was in the Chronic Burnout phase experiencing all the debilitating symptoms mentioned above. 

The scariest part was a serious dis-ease taking its toll on me physically as I experienced excruciating joint and muscle pain, painful burning in my stomach and other GI issues, poor quality sleep, night sweats, fevers, exhaustion, shortness of breath, and frequent ankle and foot swelling. It lasted for almost 2 years as the traditional doctors and western medicine approaches kept treating the symptoms rather than the root cause. Multiple visits to “specialists”, and multiple rounds of steroids and antibiotics prescribed without any diagnosis or true healing, sound familiar?

I was suffering and struggling, yet kept prioritizing work and trying to “push through it”. That’s when a friend led me to energy healing as an option which – methodically and gently – provided the ease and relaxation I didn’t realize I so desperately needed. I began to feel better almost immediately and felt healing on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The healing was on a deeper level addressing the root cause and big positive shifts were the result. Shortly after starting with the energy healing sessions, I was led to other professionals who actually diagnosed my dis-ease and provided comprehensive treatment plans that included healthy lifestyle changes for permanent results.

Your Experience

What’s your experience in dealing with stress and potential burnout while trying to balance a fulfilling career with an equally fulfilling personal life? Do you think you may be prone to burnout or in the middle of one of these burnout phases? Understanding the three phases of burnout – the Honeymoon Phase, the Onset of Stress, and Chronic Burnout – provides a framework for evaluating where you might be in your burnout journey. 

If you’d like more help in understanding and evaluating burnout in your life,  here’s the link to take the complimentary “How Bad Is My Burnout?” quiz that I created to help you determine which phase you’re in. 

Recognizing what stage you’re in is the first step. Then, you’ll become aware of the signs and symptoms to watch out for as you take proactive steps to address them and heal your burnout, and prevent it from recurring at some future time when life gets challenging. 

Learn from my experience, and don’t ignore your burnout in the earlier stages. You can’t “push through it” hoping it’ll get better by chance.  

Remember, seeking support from loved ones, practicing self-care, setting boundaries and seeking professional help from someone like me are crucial in navigating and overcoming burnout. Prioritizing your well-being and taking appropriate action will pave the way towards a healthier, more fulfilling career and joyful life. Remember, it’s never too late to address burnout and embark on your own healing journey of self-restoration.

 

Photo by twinsfisch – Unsplash

The Connection Between Burnout and Your Physical Health and Wellbeing

The Connection Between Burnout and Your Physical Health and Wellbeing

In today’s fast-paced world, burnout is becoming more and more common. And the connection between burnout and your physical health and wellbeing is undeniable. 

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It’s a condition where you’re completely depleted and feeling hopeless, frustrated and fatigued. Chronic stress that’s tied to burnout has a significant impact on your body and mind, and it’s essential to understand the effects of this type of stress to prevent burnout and maintain good health.

Chronic Stress Causes Burnout

Chronic stress is the most common cause of burnout. It’s the result of prolonged exposure to stressors, like work-related stress, financial stress, relationship stress, or health-related stress. 

In your body, chronic stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, triggering the body’s “fight or flight” response. When this happens, your body releases stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, to help you respond to the stressor. These hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, preparing your body for action.

While the fight or flight response is needed for you to respond to acute stress that lasts from a few hours or days to a few weeks, it can be harmful when it’s chronic (lasts for months or years). 

Burnout’s Detrimental Effects on Your Body

Chronic stress can lead to the overproduction of stress hormones, which has detrimental effects on your body. These effects include:

Cardiovascular problems

Chronic stress is known to increase the risk of heart disease by causing the heart to work harder than necessary. It can also lead to high blood pressure, which can damage the arteries and increase the risk of a future heart attack or stroke.

Immune system dysfunction

Stress hormones can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to getting sick by picking up contagious infections and illnesses from others. 

Increased inflammation

Chronic stress can also increase inflammation, which has been linked to a range of chronic health conditions, including chronic joint pain, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and cancer.

Digestive problems

Stress can also lead to digestive problems like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux and excess stomach acid. Chronic stress is linked to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Mental health issues

Chronic stress can have a significant impact on your mental health, leading to brain fog, the inability to concentrate, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. It can also worsen symptoms of existing mental health challenges and conditions.

Sleep problems

Stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and other sleep issues. Lack of sleep can, in turn, worsen stress and lead to a vicious cycle.

Muscle tension and pain

Chronic stress can cause muscle tension and pain, especially in the neck, shoulders and back. It can also worsen existing chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Managing Burnout and Chronic Stress

It’s important to understand that the effects of chronic stress are cumulative. The longer stress is present and not addressed, the more damage it can do to your body. So don’t ignore the signs of burnout and chronic stress. It’s crucial to take steps to prevent burnout and manage stress levels quickly.

Here are some ways to manage stress and prevent burnout:

Prioritize self-care

Self-care is essential for maintaining physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Taking care of yourself can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. Some examples of self-care include exercise/regular movement, getting good quality sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or intentional breathwork.

Practice time management

Effective time management can help reduce stress levels by allowing you to prioritize tasks and manage your workload effectively. This includes setting realistic goals, breaking tasks into manageable steps, delegating tasks to others, and scheduling time for breaks and relaxation.

Set boundaries

Crucial for preventing burnout is the setting of boundaries. It’s important to learn to say “no” to requests that are not essential or that will put too much strain on your resources. It’s also important to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life, and allow and plan your time to include rest and relaxation. Hint: add it to your calendar.

Seek social support

Talking to friends, family or a professional can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. Having a support system can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that often accompany burnout..

Practice being present (mindfulness)

Being present, or mindfulness, is a practice that involves being fully conscious of what you’re experiencing in the now – your present moment experience. And being fully engaged with it without distraction. If you’re lost in thought, reliving the past, worrying about the future, or going through the motions, it interferes with how you act in the present. 

The famous philosopher Lao Tzu said “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Being  present by focusing and listening to others during conversations, or with practices like meditation and deep breathing can help you feel more connected, reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Fully enjoying the little things in life, like savoring a hot cup of tea or coffee, or joyfully appreciating the blooms and wildlife in a garden during spring or summer, are other examples of being present. 

Take breaks

Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. It may not always be feasible, but a 5 to 10 minute break every hour is ideal. Taking a short walk, practicing deep breathing while stretching your body, or taking a brief nap helps recharge your batteries and keep stress levels in check. Listen to your body’s cues and don’t push through what it’s telling you it needs. Take that 10 minute nap if you’re exhausted. You’ll feel better afterwards.

Seek professional help

If stress levels are severe or chronic, it may be necessary to seek professional help. As an intuitive healing coach who specializes in burnout and stress relief, as well as a Corp HR burnout survivor, I believe everyone suffering with burnout deserves help to recover more quickly and effectively than suffering alone.  I know first hand how important getting the right  professional is to help you develop coping skills, manage stress and prevent burnout.

In Closing

The connection between burnout and your physical health and wellbeing is clear. Chronic stress has a significant negative impact on your body, and can lead to a range of health problems like cardiovascular disease, immune system dysfunction, increased inflammation, digestive problems, mental health issues, sleep problems, and muscle tension and pain. 

Because of this direct link, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent burnout and manage stress levels before it’s too late. Prioritizing self-care, practicing time management, setting boundaries, seeking social support, practicing being present, taking breaks and seeking professional help are all effective ways to manage stress and prevent burnout. By taking care of yourself and managing your stress levels, you can maintain good physical and mental health and wellbeing and avoid the detrimental effects of chronic stress.

Additionally, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout. These can include physical symptoms like exhaustion, headaches, and muscle tension, as well as emotional symptoms like irritability, cynicism, and a lack of motivation. Burnout can also lead to a decrease in productivity, quality of work, and job satisfaction.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of burnout, it’s important to take action sooner than later. Get  professional help, adjust your workload or take time off to rest and recharge. Ignoring burnout can lead to long-term and serious health issues and a decreased quality of life.

 

 

Photo by Alexander Grey, Unsplash

Burnout and Mental Health: How to Recognize the Signs and Take Care of Yourself

Burnout and Mental Health: How to Recognize the Signs and Take Care of Yourself

Burnout is a common experience that many people face, especially if you work in a high-stress profession or environment. Burnout can have a significant impact on your mental health. And it’s important to recognize the signs and take action to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion caused by excessive or chronic stress. It’s often characterized by feelings of cynicism and detachment from work, reduced effectiveness and productivity, and a sense of being overwhelmed, emotionally drained or physically exhausted.

Burnout can affect anyone, but it’s most common in professions that involve long hours, high-pressure situations, and a sense of constant demand. Healthcare workers, Human Resources professionals, business leaders, lawyers, and entrepreneurs are just a few examples of professions where burnout is prevalent.

The Relationship Between Burnout and Mental Health

Burnout and mental health are closely intertwined. In fact, burnout is now recognized as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization (WHO), which describes it as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

If you don’t address it, burnout can lead to serious mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse. Burnout can also exacerbate existing mental or physical health conditions, making it more difficult for you to manage your symptoms.

Recognizing the Signs of Burnout

The first step in addressing burnout is recognizing the signs. Here are some common indicators that you may be experiencing burnout:

  • Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
  • Feeling cynical or detached from work, coworkers, or loved ones
  • Reduced effectiveness and productivity at work or in daily life
  • Dreading Sundays or holidays as you think about returning to work
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions; brain fog
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Lack of joy in life activities that gave you joy before 
  • Increased irritability or anger; lashing out at others
  • Physical symptoms, like headaches, muscle tension or digestive issues
  • Poor quality sleep including inability to fall asleep, waking during the night and can’t fall back asleep, or feeling exhausted after a full night of sleep

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action to prevent your burnout from getting worse.

Preventing Burnout and Promoting Mental Health

Preventing burnout and prioritizing your mental health requires a multi-faceted approach. Here are some strategies that can help:

Seek Support:

Don’t be afraid to get professional help. This may mean working with a healing coach like me who specializes in burnout prevention and recovery by revealing and healing the root cause. When I had burnout during my previous HR career, I wish I found the right support sooner rather than suffering for as long as I did. 

Practice Self-Care:

Taking care of yourself first is essential for preventing burnout. Selfish is not a bad word! This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying active, and consistently practicing relaxation techniques like meditation.

Set Boundaries:

In my experience, hard-working, ambitious and giving people who value their work find this difficult. It may be the people pleasing values or work ethic they were taught that causes these work and personal life imbalances. Sometimes you don’t even realize how off balance until it becomes a major problem. It’s important to set boundaries around your work and personal life to prevent burnout. This may mean limiting your work hours, saying no to additional assignments or “growth opportunities”, or taking breaks throughout the day when you need it.

Prioritize Meaningful Activities:

It’s important to prioritize activities that bring you joy and meaning outside of work. This may mean spending time with loved ones and friends, pursuing a hobby, or volunteering for a cause that you care about.

Create a Supportive Work Environment:

If you’re in a position of leadership, it’s important to create a supportive work environment that promotes mental health and prevents burnout for your employees. This may mean offering flexible work arrangements, providing realistic work expectations, creating a culture of open communication and support or paying attention to any signs of burnout and addressing it before it escalates. 

Conclusion

Burnout can have a significant impact on your mental health, but it’s a preventable and treatable condition. By recognizing the signs of burnout early and taking action to prevent it from getting worse, you can protect your mental health and overall well-being.

 

Photo by Elisa Ventur, Unsplash

What Everyone Needs to Know About Energy Healing

What Everyone Needs to Know About Energy Healing

What does everyone need to know about Energy Healing? Well, it’s effective and works. The end.

It really is that simple. But sometimes people want to know more about energy healing, and why I combine it with my coaching services for long-lasting results.

What is Energy Healing?

Energy healing can be described as relaxation technique that helps release stress & promote your body’s natural healing abilities. Yet it is so much more.

As kids, we learned Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, which proved to scientists that energy and matter are expressions of the same universal thing. In other words, energy is everything. And energy healing is directing higher vibrational energy that is all around us to bring about the body’s natural healing abilities on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

There are various methods or types of energy, or vibrational, healing: Reiki, theta, sound, music, crystal, Healing Touch, acupuncture, homeopathy, flower essences, Chakra healing, and numerous other ancient methods. I use a combination of methods that I’ve been trained in to provide the best results based on each individual client’s needs.

Getting to the Root Cause

Energy healing is an ancient healing practice that’s been in existence for thousands of years. Unfortunately modern medicine, pill popping and other “quick fixes” that have been in existence for relatively short periods of time, are prevalent nowadays. And most times they don’t address the root cause, the energetic underlying, of what is causing a person’s mental or physical ailments. It will continue to show up, or worsen, until the root cause is healed.

I tend to work with people that have energetic distress, as I like to call it. In the fast-changing, uncertain and often turbulent times we live in, most people are experiencing distress. It’s energetic distress because it’s affecting one or more levels of the body in a subtle yet powerful way. It causes imbalances within us and challenges in our lives.

The levels of the body I’m referring to are:

  1. the mental body or mind (those thoughts that seem never ending at times),
  2. the emotional body (think of emotions as energy in motion),
  3. the physical body (where the slowing and blocking of energy flow creates denseness, discomfort and disease, or dis-ease…when the body is no longer ‘at ease’), and
  4. the spiritual body (your connection to something larger than yourself which varies by individual; it could be God, Spirit, the Universe, Nature, Higher Power, Intuition, Life Purpose, Passion, Love, etc.)

Energy Healing effectively works on all of these levels. It is a holistic approach to complete wellbeing and wellness, and can complement any current treatment plans you are following.

The Benefits of Energy Healing

Since Energy Healing works on the whole body, we see benefits in all areas. Commonly reported benefits of energy healing include decreased pain, ease of muscle tension, improved sleep & improved mental clarity. Additional benefits include:

  • It’s safe and non-invasive.
  • Promotes natural self-healing processes.
  • Clears toxins from the body.
  • Increases energy.
  • Relaxes the body and mind.
  • Relieves stress.
  • Soothes anxiety and distress.
  • Promotes feelings of calmness and wellbeing.
  • Reduces overthinking.
  • Promotes a focused, peaceful and positive outlook.
  • Releases worry and replaces it with a sense of safety and comfort.

As you can see, Energy Healing promotes your overall health, is an excellent form of preventative care, and can help support your journey to wellness if you experience stress, anxiety, headaches, muscle or joint pain, chronic illness, poor sleep, tension or other challenges.

Life Changing Results

I’ve found Energy Healing is beneficial for anyone who’s looking for relaxation and natural relief of emotional, mental and physical ailments. It’s especially useful for people who have a large amount of stress, and can’t seem to turn off their mind from work or worry. Once you being to feel better, the possibilities for life changing results come next.

You experience relief in one area, and then notice other issues have resolved as well, without much focus or effort on your part. I’ve helped many clients whose initial complaint was a physical issue, like chronic headaches or migraines.

After the physical pain lessened or completely resolved, usually very quickly, they reflected back on other areas of their lives had improved as we continued to work together. Things like performance at work, self-confidence, emotional wellbeing and feeling more empowered.

Personally in my previous Corporate HR career, I experienced a large amount workplace stress that led to a physical illness. I credit Energy Healing as the catalyst for my disease going into a remission. And for experiencing stress reduction and hope again. It created the space where I could breathe easy again, start taking my power back and plan for a pivot in my career.

Going from HR to being a Life Coach, I now help hard-working professionals suffering physical and other ailments, mostly due to work stress and misaligned purpose (root cause). I use a powerful combination of Life Coaching plus Energy Healing techniques for life changing results. I find this combination to be more efficient, effective and meaningful than either practice on its own.

How to Get Started with Energy Healing

If Energy Healing is new concept for you and you’d like to learn more, follow me on LinkedIn (@kathyzering), Instagram (@energyrapport) or Facebook (@energyrapport) and reach out in a PM if you’d like to explore working together.

Still have questions about Energy Healing and how it could benefit you? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress

Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress

Do you ever feel pressure building up at work or at home? Pressure is great for growth; you need it to keep moving in the right direction toward your goals.

It helps you to expand and create in the way that only you can. You want to use pressure to benefit you, and don’t let pressure become stress.

The Pressure Cooker at Work

The thing about pressure, if it goes unchecked and just keeps building and building without any release (think of a pressure cooker), that’s when it can turn into the unhealthiest kind of stress called chronic stress. The stress that causes health and other issues.

You don’t want to let pressure become this type of stress. Learn about the 3 types of stress and what to do to if you’ve got chronic stress here.

As I look back at my previous career and work habits, I could sense the pressure building, feel it, and yet felt powerless against it. Over time without actively addressing it, the stress became chronic, taking its toll on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

It’s common to feel this type of pressure regularly when in a high demand job or fast-paced work environment. The important part is to address the pressure before it turns to stress.

Pressure is a Sign of Growth and Change

Lately that familiar feeling of pressure has returned in my work life. I’ve begun some new coaching work. I typically work one on one with coaching clients, however, I started some coaching work for an external company where I must learn their systems and processes.

It’ll take some time to acclimate to all this newness, and I continue to remind myself that it’s part of the growth process and only temporary. This reminder helps in times when the pressure rises.

When you take on new assignments or when you’ve switched jobs to a new company, how was it for you? Those first 30-60-90 days can be rough.

You’re attempting to do the work you were hired to do, but getting up to speed with who’s who, how things are done, new systems and processes – it all takes extra time and extra effort.

When Pressure Becomes Stress

You may experience increased pressure due to other external forces too. Maybe someone was laid-off and now you have to take on the work they performed. Or maybe you’re experiencing more pressure from leadership, or a higher than normal work demand, or a lack of job security.

Even a lack of flexibility and autonomy in your work and your work schedule can leave you feeling stressed and as if you have no control. Over time or with too much pressure all at once, it can become overwhelming and stressful.

The effects of work-related pressure turning into stress is evident in your physical, mental and emotional health. Common ailments can include musculoskeletal problems like chronic back pain, joint pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. Gastrointestinal disorders, like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers typically have a stress component.

Mentally and emotionally, issues like anxiety, burnout and inability to get good quality sleep (sleep disorders) are a result.

Pressure becoming stress also has adverse effects on a company’s performance and bottom line too. Increased healthcare costs and absenteeism are a result of chronic stress in the workplace.

Business leaders and owners should have an interest in managing the pressure and stress in their environments. But many times they get caught up in it as well.

Act with Intention: Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress

Here are some strategies to implement so you don’t let pressure become stress.

First off, stay present and conscious in the moment. In other words, realize that something is causing pressure. Pay attention to situations that you know will likely impact you.

Also, be realistic about what you can and can’t control. If the pressure is getting to you, take a few minutes to list out what the causes might be and circle the ones you can control.

Next, take action. For those items you can control, try a new strategy or approach to change the outcome. For instance, if you feel stuck in an unproductive weekly meeting and can feel the pressure beginning to rise as you think about the other work you need to be doing, have a direct conversation with the meeting leader. Give some suggestions for improvement like having a clear agenda with time allotments for each item. Or maybe suggest less frequent meetings with email updates weekly.

And for the things you can’t control, let them go. If you have a tendency to take on things that aren’t yours or that you have no way of influencing, it’s best to recognize that early on and let it go.

For instance, being late to a meeting due to a traffic accident causing traffic backup on the road, or technical problems on a webmeeting due to bandwidth overuse – let it go. Getting frustrated or upset doesn’t help. These things are beyond your control, and you when you recognize that and let it go, it takes the pressure off and allows you to move forward in a calm healthy way.  

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Is a Fear Mindset Causing Your Stress?

Is a Fear Mindset Causing Your Stress?

A fear mindset could be the main cause of your stress

Your mindset is how you think and what you believe about yourself and your environment. It plays a critical role in how you cope with life’s challenges.

What you think determines what you believe, and what you believe influences what you experience in life. Thoughts shape your reality.

The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu wrote: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

If a majority of your thoughts are fear-based, you’ve got a fear mindset. It could be thoughts and even statements (your words) about fear of rejection, fear of failure, or fear that you’re not enough.

This fear mindset saps your energy. It keeps you in the predictable and comfortable, preventing you from challenging yourself to achieve your full potential.

Fear is a normal emotion and has its function. It serves as your natural response to possible threats to your physical or emotional safety.

Unfortunately, in our modern world this response can be misused, overused or chronic. (See my previous blog called Letting Go of Fear.)

Too much fear causes stress. A fear mindset is contracting, and exemplified in chronic tension, struggle and hardship. This unhelpful energy is energy you could be investing in growth, in achieving your dreams and desires.

People often give up on what they want because they believe that reaching their goal is beyond their abilities. They continue living in fear and settle into their lives, thinking they shouldn’t try at all.

Fear is part of the fixed mindset

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, writes about the power of mindset. She states that success is influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.

People with a fixed mindset – those who believe that abilities are fixed – are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset – those who believe that abilities can be learned and developed. Fear is part of this fixed mindset.

The most successful people have a growth mindset. They don’t freeze up or flee when fear shows up, they embrace it and leverage that fear into taking action. When faced with a setback, they try harder.

They keeping looking for solutions and trying new strategies. They adapt and grow.

What mindset do you have?

What are your predominant thoughts and actions? If they seem fear-based or fixed, there’s no need to worry. The best part about your mindset is that you can change it.

You can move from a fixed, fear mindset to a love-based, trust-based, growth mindset where you’re more likely to flourish. Trust and love drives out fear. They can’t exist at the same time.

Intentionally Expand and Grow – Take Action

Use one or more of these techniques to move from a fear mindset that’s causing your stress to a new mindset of trust and growth.

1. Watch your thoughts.

First off, pay attention to your thoughts and the words you use. Are you frequently telling yourself fearful or limiting things? Things like: “I’ll never be able to get that promotion, I’m not experienced enough.”; “I’m not smart enough to lead this project”; “What if I fail – will they fire me?”

2. Choose to adopt a new mindset. Change your limiting thoughts and beliefs.

Start by challenging your thoughts the next time you don’t do well on a task. For example, if your presentation at work didn’t go well, and you hear yourself thinking “I never do anything right”, “I’m not good at my job”, or “I’m such a failure”, stop and ask some prodding questions.

What is the evidence for and against your conclusion? You can create a list of all the times your presentations were successful and when you were great at your job in the past.

You could think of reasons why it didn’t go so well this time, rather than concluding you’re a failure. Did you get enough quality sleep?; did you plan and prepare enough?; are there other things going on in your life right now causing you to be off your game?

Answering these questions leads to the new mindset. Figure out what new beliefs are more supportive and adopt those beliefs. Your internal dialogue of “I’m such a failure” can change to “If I’m prepared and feeling well physically and emotionally, I’ll always succeed.”

Keep in mind, these new beliefs take their place alongside the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act.

3. See everything as an opportunity to grow and develop.

Another way to change your mindset is to see every situation and person you encounter as an opportunity for expansion and development. When challenging events happen, ask yourself: “How is this calling me to expand and grow?”, “What am I learning?”, or “How can I improve?”

This strategy works well if you have a demanding or controlling leader at work. You can switch the focus of being judged or criticized to how this is calling you to develop.

It could be as simple as witnessing their behavior and realizing you never want to treat others that way, or maybe it’s a challenge about developing a relationship with a difficult personality.

If you stay in a fear mindset, the stress of living every day in fear of disapproval or of doing something wrong can become toxic. You may become paralyzed from moving forward in attempt to protect yourself.

Changing your mindset to embrace the challenge and grow allows you to take back control in what feels like a powerless situation and live up to your potential.  

4. Use the word yet

Adding yet to your inner dialogue may be enough to change your beliefs about yourself and what you’re able to do. It helps with motivation too.

You can change:

  • “I can’t do this” to “I can’t do this yet”;
  • “I’m not good at this” to “I’m not good at this yet”;
  • “This doesn’t work” to “This doesn’t work yet”.  

One last thing. Make sure after you change your thoughts you step into those new beliefs. Take an action step in that direction to support the new thought.

Changing the fear mindset that’s causing your stress will change your outcome and results. With a new mindset, you can transform your life and the lives of others.

 

Photo by Bram on Unsplash

Why Everyone Needs Meditation

Why Everyone Needs Meditation

Everyone needs meditation, and this recent example is why.

Something felt off. I overslept the past two days due to poor quality sleep (seasonal allergies + a muscle pull in my neck) and I missed my morning meditation. I figured I’d have to time to get it in later in the day, but that didn’t happen.

Now that I reflect back on it, I felt less clear headed and energetic throughout these days. Was it the poor sleep, or missing my meditation practice? Most likely a combination of the two.

So this morning, I was determined to get back into my daily routine. I know from experience that meditation is a game changer for people.

I recommend it to all my clients and I’ve seen the phenomenal results that come from meditating regularly.

Personally, after two days of missing my meditation, it felt like coming home this morning. No racing thoughts, but instead peace of mind, tranquility, stillness, clarity – all the things that put a smile on my face during and after my practice.

I was floating afterwards and in a high energy, happy mood. So much so that my 14 year old dog picked up on it. This dog who now sleeps about 90% of the time, grabbed his toy and started chasing me around the house, poking me with his toy to get me to chase him back.

Our pets know energy better than we do, and he certainly was picking up on my high energy and was loving it.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has been around for thousands of years and has numerous benefits. It triggers your body’s relaxation response to reduce stress and anxiety, lengthens your attention span, and is highly beneficial to your emotional wellbeing and for people struggling with addictive behaviors.

Meditation also increases self-awareness and emotional intelligence, two very important traits for professionals and leaders to help with relationships in the workplace and at home.

I was encouraged to start a meditation practice by numerous experts during a health crisis years ago. The root cause of my illness was eventually determined to be work-related stress.

I only wish I took that advice to meditate regularly sooner, I may not have suffered as long. If you experience a lot of stress or have unresolved health related issues, read more about the impact of stress and why you should care here.

A simple practice of a few minutes of meditating per day or in particular situation (before or after) can bring you a sense of calm during stress or help center and ground you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

I know meditation on a regular basis works, I personally don’t need scientific proof to experience something and realize the benefits directly.

However, if scientific confirmation helps others become more open to the concept of meditation and gets them to start practicing it, then by all means, keep the research going.

There are plenty of scientific studies reporting that meditation helps relieve anxiety and depression, improve focus and attention, increase concentration, and improve overall psychological well-being.

Meditation has also been shown to produce favorable changes in the brain. In this Forbes article, 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain, several studies are cited showing how meditation preserves the aging brain, reduces activity in the “Me Center” or “monkey mind”, changes key areas of the brain that support learning and memory, improves concentration and attention, and reduces anxiety.

Are you convinced yet that everyone needs to meditate?

Take Purposeful Action: Start a Daily Practice

If you’re not mediating now, start a daily practice. If you don’t think you have time for it, start off with a 1 – 5 minute practice first thing in the morning.

Keep it simple. Find a space where you won’t be disturbed and sit comfortably.

Set a timer: I like the Insight Timer app available for iOS and Android.

Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing. It may help to count your breaths (inhale: 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale: 1, 2, 3, 4).

As thoughts arise, observe them without judging, and let them go.

Try smiling to support a feeling of inner calm and joy. It gets easier with continued practice and when you start seeing the benefits.

After some regular practice and when you feel ready, slowly increase the time you meditate. If you start with 5 minutes per day, increase it to 6 or 7 minutes after a couple of weeks. You’ll know when you’re ready.

Some additional tips: play soft music to help you get in a relaxed mood, write down how you feel before and after, and if you keep a journal write directly after meditation. You may be pleasantly surprised by the content.

Lastly, if you feel fidgety or tense while meditating remind yourself that it’s a normal part of the process and a great reason to continue. Over time you’ll find that getting into a relaxed state comes easily and quickly.

Next thing you know, you’ll be buying a “heavily meditated” t-shirt to wear proudly in public.

Take Purposeful Action (For Current Meditators): Try Something New

If you already have a daily meditation practice, I’m sure you see its value and don’t need me to tell you to continue it.

I do want to encourage you to change it up or enhance your daily practice by adding different types of meditation every so often, like once a month or once every few weeks.

You can try a guided meditation on YouTube or one of the meditation apps, a mindfulness meditation, a group meditation experience, or a walking meditation.

Here’s one to try this weekend. Take a walk in a wooded area or other peaceful place out in nature for a walking meditation.

While walking, get centered and grounded by paying attention to your feet as they move, the strength in your legs, and the air easily flowing into and out of your lungs.

Then, bring your focus to all the beautiful things that surround you. Notice the birds, butterflies, and other wild life. Pay attention to the trees, the wind moving the leaves, and the warmth of the sun on your skin.

Be present with the whole experience. Needless to say but I’ll say it anyway, no listening to music, books or podcasts during this walking meditation, and put your phone on do not disturb mode if it’s with you.

In the comments below, share the one benefit you want most from your daily meditation practice? Or, if you already meditate regularly, what’s the best benefit you’ve gotten from it? Please share to encourage others.

 

 

Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

Letting Go of Fear

Letting Go of Fear

Becoming skilled at letting go of fear is a powerful step in creating a happier and healthier life. What you may not realize is that fear, like all your emotions, is under your control.

With the proper techniques and practices you can get really good at managing unhelpful emotions and experiencing more positive, helpful ones.

These days many of us are being forced to let go of things due to social distancing and other measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

This sense of uncertainty can bring up fear: when will stores and restaurants open up, when will I be able to go back to working in an office, how will this all work so that we stay safe and healthy? There’s no shortage of fear and uncomfortable feelings.

You can let go of negativity around a current situation and focus on positives, and address the fear when it gets to be too much.

Why let go of fear

Fear is your body’s signal alerting you to danger, or what is known as the fight or flight response. However, when you’re not being chased by a tiger or in some other life threatening situation, and that situation is not under your direct control, it’s not helpful.

Fear produces cortisol and a stress response in the body, and if it occurs too frequently (chronic stress), it can lead to health issues and negatively impact your emotional wellbeing.

We often don’t realize how long-held thought patterns and emotions that no longer serve us prevent us from moving forward. Feeling the fear and letting it go helps you move forward and closer to achieving your goals and dreams.

It may be challenging to let go of what you once cherished or feel pressured by others to hold on to, or that you’re accustomed to. But the more you let go, the more space you create for new opportunities and people to come into your life, and the easier it becomes to address future fear or other unhelpful emotions.

Strategic action you can take

Try these 3 steps the next time fear is taking its hold on you.

1 Notice the fear. Become aware of when it comes up – awareness is a powerful tool. Appreciate that this feeling is totally normal. Your mind is trying to resolve what it perceives as “unsafe” to your survival.

2. Be with that feeling. Don’t try to fix it or get rid of it. Take a pause and as your notice it, see where it appears in your body. Maybe it’s a tight feeling in your gut/stomach, or in your chest. Some people say it feels hot, or heavy, or that it has a shape to it. Be curious, and appreciate that it’s there.

3. Let your body do its thing and process it. As long as you don’t attach any more energy to this feeling by creating a story around it and making it more than it is, the feeling will usually dissipate on its own in less than 90 seconds. Remember: notice it, be curious, and see if it’s changing as you stay present with that feeling.

You can do some breathing exercises or body movement to match the energy of that feeling. For example, if it’s a tightness or heaviness in your chest area, take a few deep inhales and imagine the oxygen going directly to that tightness or heaviness. Typically, you’ll begin to feel a shift of energy, and you may notice a lighter feeling or opening of that area.

One of my most scary times

A few years ago I was driving on one of the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world, the Hana Highway in Maui (read more here).

It is a 60+ mile curvy road full of over 600 hairpin turns, many of them blind turns (click to take a virtual drive). There are over 50 one-lane bridges and the trip is full of twists, with the road not wide enough for two cars in many places.

As you can imagine, the fear of driving this road consumed me. The trip takes 2.5-3 hours to drive straight through, for roughly 60 miles!

As far as working through the fear, I had no problem noticing it (step 1). I felt it for weeks. But I couldn’t let it cause me to freeze while driving.

So I felt it, and noticed where it was in my body (tightness from my stomach up to my chest) and felt how strong it was, especially during especially scary parts of the drive (step 2).

Then, I let my body do what it was meant to do, process it (step 3). Lots of calming breathing exercises helped.

I also matched that feeling of fear with singing and praying – loudly – to match the energy of that fear. Especially on those blind hairpin turns, when I had no idea if I would have a car coming right at me when I got around the corner. I also proactively forced a huge smile on my face and appreciated the beauty of the ocean and waterfalls and flowers.

I survived the Hana Highway, and hope this story helps you the next time you’re feeling fear.

Review and practice the above steps with fear, or any unhelpful emotion, and see how things begin to improve.  

 

Photo by Mazhar Zandsalimi on Unsplash

My Top 3 Go Tos for Anxiety and Stress Relief

My Top 3 Go Tos for Anxiety and Stress Relief

If ever there was a time to have some effective go tos for keeping anxiety and stress down, it’s now.

We are living in unprecedented times right now. The world has a lot of uncertainty and fear due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and all of its resulting consequences including job and income loss, lifestyle changes like social distancing, business closures, potential illness and death.

Add to this any planned activities you had scheduled for this time, and it can feel like it’s too much to handle. Life’s big celebrations like weddings, graduations and holidays are cancelled. People have been furloughed as many service industries are severely impacted. You’re putting your life at risk just to go buy groceries.

Moving During COVID-19

I moved into a new home last week. It was planned since January, not knowing all the complications that would be happening in March.

Moving is a big life change and full of stress, but add the pressure of not knowing if the transaction was going to get cancelled, if the deed could be recorded or if the movers would be forced to stop working (would they be considered an essential service during ‘stay at home” order).

Thankfully, I made it through the rollercoaster of emotions the week before closing on the purchase, but then came the next hurdle, physically moving to the new home.

Friends came to help move my breakable items and living plants, it was an exhausting day but went smoothly. I’m so grateful for their kindness and support in these social distancing times. The next day the moving company would come and move the rest.

That’s when the anxiety and pressure seemed to notch up again. Over the next 5 days, a new issue would arise almost daily, and each time I would get that tight feeling in my solar plexus area, directly under my ribcage and above my belly button. That’s my body’s signal telling me to brace for the uncertainty to follow. For example:

  • When the moving company called the morning of my move to let me know a couple crew members had head colds, and they weren’t chancing it. That they would send 2 others instead of the 3 planned, and another 2 would join later on;
  • When my desk for my home office wouldn’t fit through my new home office door;
  • When my washing machine was broken during the move, and I had to risk COVID-19 exposure to go buy another at Lowes. I’ve never been so excited to do laundry;
  • When the smoke detector in this brand new home kept going off making my 2 pups, already frazzled from the move, hide in the furthest bathroom and closet. The smoke detector was defective and was replaced;
  • When the toilets all backed up filling the tub and shower with sewer water because the pipes were filled with all sorts of new construction debris. The plumber came by and cleared out the main drainage pipe.

As I look back now, 2 weeks later, I realize what helped get me through that daily barrage of unexpected problems. It was the tools and techniques I’ve used over the years to become a more centered, present, and peaceful person.

Do I get angry, frustrated, and lose it sometimes? Of course, I’m only human. However, now I find it easier to recover from those feelings and realize, from experience, that all these issues do work out in the end, as all the ones above did. It may not be the result I was expecting, but it gets resolved.

My Top 3 Go Tos for Anxiety and Stress Relief

Here are my top 3 go tos to keep the anxiety and stress at a manageable level. I used them extensively over the past few weeks, and will continue to practice them as we all get through this new world with COVID-19.

1. A Morning Routine that Includes Meditation

My all-time favorite recommendation to coaching clients, and anyone really, is a morning routine that includes meditation. The benefits of meditation are well documented and include reducing anxiety, increasing wellbeing, better sleep, better attention and focus, decreased pain, better immune function, and more happiness overall.

My daily practice takes 30 – 60 minutes. If this is new to you, start off small and work up to longer periods of time.

You’ll find, as I did, that it increases very easily and you’re going to want to spend more time setting up your day for success with a daily practice that feeds your mind, body and soul.

For more information on how to create a morning routine, click here to read my blog Connect to Success Every Day for Best Results and sign up to get access to my free Connect to Success Morning Routine Guide and Checklist.

2. Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is a habit we can all cultivate in order to proactively compensate for our brains’ automatic processes. Our brains naturally assess our environment and come up with thoughts to “help” us survive.

It’s the function of our brain. Unfortunately, we’re wired to seek out problems (in order to solve them and survive) and some of our thoughts could be unhelpful and even hurtful.

For example, I kept hearing myself say “this is a nightmare” quite a few times on my moving days, when all that could go wrong seemed to be going wrong. Was it really a nightmare? No. But it sure did feel that way, in that moment.

I caught myself thinking and sometimes saying it out loud. When I did, I would then take a deep breath, question that thought, and then change it to a more helpful, positive thought. Many times, just acknowledging different and helpful thoughts can make all the difference.

For me, acknowledging that moving to a new home is always challenging. It’s not fun, and it’s typical for things to take longer than expected, for walls to get dinged, for my body to get tired and sore after many long days and nights packing, moving, and cleaning.

That helped and completely changed how I was feeling and subsequently how I was reacting to everyone and everything coming at me.

3. Breathwork

Breathwork is another tool to help calm your body and change your state of mind. My favorites currently are box breathing and relaxing breath (4-7-8 breathing).

Box breathing is a deep breathing technique that increases calm and focus and reduces stress. You breathe in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and then hold for 4 seconds. You can repeat this pattern for a few rounds, or keep going for 5 minutes or longer until you start to feel deeply relaxed. For those of you who are visual, think of each of these 4 steps as drawing an outline of a  box when doing them – up, across, down, over.

Relaxing breath, or 4-7-8 breathing, helps reduce anxiety and is great to do to help you get to sleep more easily. You breath in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds, and then exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds. Then repeat. When starting out, you can repeat this cycle up to 4 times, and build up with more practice and time.

Take Action

I’d like you to try one or all three of these techniques the next time you begin to feel the pressure building. Bonus points if you create a daily practice like #1 above to help keep you in a balanced state on a regular basis, so you’re already in a better space to handle the anxiety and stress that is very prevalent in our new normal world.

 

Photo by Thomas Rey on Unsplash

Who’s Taking Care of You? 3 Tips for More Self-Care and Self-Love

Who’s Taking Care of You? 3 Tips for More Self-Care and Self-Love

You’ve been stressed lately. There’s a big initiative at work and you’ve been putting in a lot of hours, even bringing work home in the evening and on the weekends, and getting up early to catch up on your email inbox that you never have time for during the workday.

You’re starting to feel the effects of too much work and not enough quality sleep. You’re feeling run down and hoping this itchy throat and congestion in the morning doesn’t develop into a cold or the flu.

You’ve got no time for anything you enjoy; you can’t remember the last time you had a massage or went out with friends during the week.

You try to unwind some nights by binge watching your favorite TV shows and Netflix, but that doesn’t really help.

You just want to start feeling better, to be full of energy, to really relax after a long day of work and running around. You want to stop working so much and have more fun with family and friends.

You want the control back in your life so life doesn’t feel like it’s running you.

This scenario sounds a bit out of control, definitely unbalanced at the least. It was my experience years ago when in my Corporate career and I wished someone asked me sooner: who’s taking care of you?

So, who is taking care of you? If the above sounds a lot like your current situation, you’re definitely not taking good care of yourself and I’m sure you know that. It’s time for a change.

It’s time for some self-care and self-love. In fact, if you’re not feeling well on a regular basis – physically, mentally and emotionally – it’s probably long overdue.

Self-care is actually part of self-love, and includes mostly physical aspects like going for walks, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and making sure you’re sleeping well. It’s taking care of your “self”.

Self-love includes not just your physical wellbeing, but also loving and caring acts for your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing too. It’s about balancing and supporting all the parts that make you whole.

Self-love is having regard for your own well-being and happiness and doing the things that support it. And it’s also paying attention to when something isn’t working for you so that you can pivot quickly and make a better choice that’s more aligned to your best interests.

It seems pretty straightforward but many people act in ways that don’t support wellbeing, for numerous reasons. Sometimes they don’t even realize it’s happening until something makes them stop to listen, like a serious health crisis or the end of a relationship. It can go on for weeks, months, even years before being addressed.

Here are 3 tips to bring more self-care and self-love into your life, so that you take back control and start feeling better fast.

1. Get a pre-sleep ritual. Sleep is so important. For optimal health and wellbeing, it’s recommended that you get no less than 7 hours each night.

Make that happen by creating a ritual to help you de-stress at night. Take an epsom salt bath, read a book, meditate, do some stretching or relaxing breathing exercises. Do whatever works best to help you unwind after a long day.

2. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Most of us are our own biggest critic and we think and say some very mean and unhelpful things. Would you talk to your best friend like that?

Be supportive, be kind, and be loving to yourself. Compliment yourself without feeling guilty about it. Pay attention to what you say or think when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Shut down that self-critic quickly and replace any negative self-judgement with a more positive statement that supports you. Again, pretend like you’re helping your best friend.

Take a break from self-judgement; don’t be so hard on yourself. For example, call something you accomplished “good enough”, without worrying about all the ways you could have made it better.

Even if something goes wrong or you don’t get the result you wanted, make sure you treat yourself like someone you love. We’re all human and we’re supposed to make mistakes, that’s how we learn and grow.

3. Speak your truth. Express what you truly feel, think, or want to do – respectfully without regard for what people might think or how you may be judged.

We’ve all done this before: where you agree to help out a co-worker with a project, and then end up doing most of the work while he gets the credit and your own work gets put on hold. You were trying to be helpful and a team player, but as it kept taking more time away from your priorities, you began to really regret helping out, even getting short-tempered, frustrated and angry about it.

In these kind of cases, don’t hesitate to say “no” when you have to. Your most valuable assets are your time and your energy, and it’s an act of self-care and self-love to prioritize your wellbeing over any requests from others.

If you have a hard time with implementing self-care and self-love on your own, I urge you to pick one of these tips and commit to it for the next month. And after that month, spend 15 -30 minutes to focus on where you are and evaluate your progress. Has your overall stress lessened? Are you sleeping better? Do you feel like you have more control of your work life and balancing a healthy personal life too? Most importantly, are you feeling better and more in control? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Another act of self-love is to get help when you need it. If you feel like you could benefit from someone partnering with you to reach your career and personal goals, I offer Free 20 Minute Insight Calls for professionals. You’ll gain greater insight into your specific challenges and how coaching can help. Schedule your call directly by clicking here or via my website at www.energyrapport.com.