How are you coping with these challenging times? We are all navigating uncharted territory right now, and we are in this together, learning as we go along.
As caregivers, we often feel like we are running on empty and giving from an empty well. We often do not have time for ourselves. Or when we do take the time to relax, we might end up thinking about our long to-do list. We might even end up feeling guilty for taking the time for ourselves. Yet, we are likely to experience stress. If you had to rate your stress level lately, on a scale of 1 to 10, what would it be?
Do you ever feel like your mind has been going on a spin cycle? I am very familiar with the spin cycle. I noticed that is where I end up every time I watch the news lately. How about you? Maybe like me, you have experienced feeling like your heart is racing, breathing gets more shallow, and your stomach is in knots. Welcome to the fight or flight response, which is how we, humans, respond to stress. Stress is just a symptom that we have gone out of balance. Just like a computer needs a reboot sometimes, our brains and emotions require a reboot sometimes as well. The good news is that once we learn to recognize what happens to us when we are under stress, we are more likely to hit the “pause” button so that we can stop and create new habits to reduce the effect of stress on us our mind and body.
Once my mind starts spinning, it takes some work to get it to re-set. Sometimes I find myself taking deep breaths, and that helps. Other times I end up scrubbing the toilet to get the spin cycle to stop, and to feel like I am doing something productive. When we can RESPOND instead of REACT to stressful events in our lives, we can make more conscious choices when so much feels out of our control.
I have learned to identify my stress triggers, like the news, so that I can find better ways to cope with them. I have learned to eliminate the ones that I can. And if you think there isn’t anything in your life that you can cut out, I encourage you to make a list of your stress triggers, no matter how big or small. When we are caregivers, sometimes those little stress triggers can throw us off balance when so much is already on our plate. Take a look at what you can eliminate, and you will be surprised. So, I no longer watch the news and don’t feel guilty about it. I want to be informed, so I limit myself to reading the news once a day, when I know, I can follow up with a positive activity, like watching a funny animal video.
Through my work as a personal development coach and instructor, I have met many people who are coping with stress. Introducing them to simple, effective techniques that help reduce stress increases their ability to respond rather than react, and boost resilience. As a caregiver myself, I know first-hand how challenging it can be. I would love to be able to help you find ways to reduce your stress.
I encourage you to experience many different stress management practices that I will be introducing during through the Wellness Workshop for Breathing Spaces, so you can experience which work best for you. My intention is for you to have a toolbox full of tools that you can bring out next time your mind starts to go into a spin cycle.
To register for the workshop on June 17 @ 4 PM PDT via Zoom, please sign up in advance. Tickets are available for $15.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Guest Contributor/Workshop Host; Alisa Ozernoy