On top of the universal grievances we have all been navigating, each of us also has a personal collection of challenging situations to manage. You may be enduring long-term, typical levels of stress or be nearing full burnout. Either way, reading one more “inspiring” article that smacks of toxic positivity or having a well-intentioned friend suggest you try meditation might just send you careening over the edge.
I am here to offer you something different today.
Take a breath. Drop your shoulders. Relax your jaw. Stare out the window. Let your brain wander. Do nothing for a few minutes.
As a presenter on well-being, I have collected copious ideas for handling most of life’s tribulations, be they mental, emotional, physical, nutritional, spiritual, cultural, financial, intellectual, occupational, environmental or relational. These activities reset and repair your systems, many of them are supported by research, and all are supported by anecdotal evidence. Yet, even reading that list of life areas to address can be overwhelming and lead to inertia.
Go easy on yourself. Slow your breathing. Stretch your arms between e-mails. Touch your toes between Zoom meetings. Stand in the sunshine for a few minutes.
Little things can signal to your parasympathetic nervous system (which controls rest, repair and other pleasurable human activities) that you are safe and not being chased by a tiger. Self-care gestures signal to your body and mind that it can release unhelpful stress responses and allow you to cope with the moment in calmer, more productive ways.