(view from my living room – thought it was fitting, given the circumstances…)
Most of you will know I’m a trainer specialised in (amongst others) stress management, resilience and burnout prevention.
I have a lot of tools and I try and walk my talk but… the current crisis has taught me that, in times like these, ‘even I’ sometimes need a reminder… And in case you do too: here are my tips.
Notice your stress
I consider myself to be rather practical, not very ‘panicky’…
Rationally I was dealing very well with the whole ‘confinement situation’.
However, I did notice some things:
- When I was shopping 10 days ago, I reached for the candy near the check-out. And when I got home, I didn’t have my healthy lunch, I ate the candy and not just one, no… I had to finish the box.
Normally I limit my sugar intake. It’s a choice and once you’re used to it, you don’t have too many cravings… But this ‘need’ for sugar told me there was stress in my body. And noticing it, helped me to address it.
- At the beginning of last week, when I woke up to go the toilet and then got back to bed because it was too early to get up, I noticed some anxiousness. And even though I did go back to sleep, I had nightmares linked to the crisis situation. Again, this made me aware of the stress ‘in my system’ and … the necessity to address it.
How can you notice it too?
I got much better at noticing since I started to practice mindfulness.
It helped me to become more aware of my feelings, thoughts, physical sensations.
I helps me to ‘notice’ what I’m doing and this gives me a ‘choice’: I can choose to keep on doing it or I can choose NOT to do it.
Why is it important to notice stress and to address it?
When dealing with a virus, a strong immunity system is vital. Guess what: when you are stressed, your adrenals produce more cortisol which has an impact on … your immunity system. So… managing your stress is good for your immunity.
Manage your stress
I’ve said it before, I have been reminded now so I’ll say it again: YOU are responsible for your stress management. While you can’t control what happens around you, you can decide how you deal with it.
Keep on breathing:
When your body goes into stress mode, a breathing technique can activate your parasympathetic nervous system and… calm you down
There are many different ones. I have been talking in the past about the ‘4-4-4-4-technique’, heart coherence, mindfulness. More information can be found in the articles on my website and in the videos on Facebook and Youtube.
Don’t believe everything you think:
It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you look at what happens to you. The virus doesn’t cause the stress. It’s your thoughts about the virus that cause the stress (bold statement, I know). Maybe now is a good time to do my free mini-course…
Moving helps you to get back into your body (and not stay stuck in your mind). While I love walking in nature, this is no longer an option for everybody. But even when you are stuck in your apartment, move some furniture out of the way and do some exercise, or simply dance… Last week I danced a Nia-routine for an hour and my body and I loved it: I noticed I was smiling most of the time. I will definitely do it again. If you normally go the gym: find something online. There are so many things: exercise, yoga, dancing, … Even if you are working from home: have a short dance break: dance to 3 of your favourite songs (I already had one this morning…). You’ll be energised to return to your screen afterwards.
Last week I didn’t have a lot of structure. I had some meetings, I had some work but in between there was a lot of ‘nothing’ (and as a result too much television, social media, etc… – OOPS: as I write this, I just receive the message that my screen time was up 69% last week!!! This must and will go down this week). As from this week I will be more organised and structured. And yes, there will still be time for exercise, for reading, for fun things, for talking to friends and family… AND it will be a lot more structured.
It calms the mind.
Take care of yourself first so you can take care of others too. Think of the oxygen mask: you have to put on your own first so you can give one to your children. So take care of your own stress too, so you can deal better with other people’s stress…
While it’s important to have an update (change in the rules, etc…), I’ve chosen not to watch the news all day long. I usually watch it at 1 pm (and only part of it) and that’s enough. Notice how it make me feel. Does it reassure you? Does it make you feel more stressed? And decide what’s the best approach for you.
While some messages are helpful and uplifting, others have the opposite effect. And even when there are a lot of uplifting ones: there is such a thing as too much screentime (see above!)
How do I plan to help:
- I will offer ‘The truth about mindfulness’ for free as long as the ‘confinement’ lasts here in Belgium. For those who are not familiar with mindfulness, it can be the perfect way to start.
- Since I don’t want to send too many mails, I will repost some old articles on social media. So if you want the information, it’s easier for you to find. (Facebook is probably a bit easier than Instagram for that). I’ve also included a lot of links in this article (you’re welcome! ;-D)
- Working on your mindset is key. If you haven’t signed up for the free mini-course ‘Don’t believe everything you think!’ yet, this is the right time, trust me. And if you want, we can do a ‘group session’ next week. I will answer all your questions on FB. (For instance: on Monday I will answer the questions for day 1, on Tuesday for day 2, etc…)
- If you’re done with all the free resources and you want to work on a specific issue: I offer virtual coaching.
If there is anything else you would like me to do: reply to this mail or send me a PM or DM on social media. And I’ll see what I can do.
Please feel free to pass this one to anybody who might need this…
Take care of yourself and stay safe and healthy!