Last week I wrote about shifting through the tough stuff. It seems a lot of you could relate. Many of you gave suggestions for tools and techniques that help you shift through difficult things. Here are some of your suggestions (and a few other resources I’ve gathered since last week’s blog).
Your Tips for Shifting through Tough times
- Setting goals and scheduling activities to help reach goals
Lack of motivation is my Achilles heel since I get sluggish and depressed when I stop moving. When I stop moving, I lose energy which means I stop doing things that I enjoy, since they soak up the energy. And then I eat too much and drink too much alcohol, which further slows me down and interferes with my ability to get a deep restful sleep. So, I set goals. Big, long-range goals that can only be achieved by daily tiny steps. Maybe it’s a cycling goal, a weight goal. Running a marathon at 65? Improving my French. Reading all of Mark Twain’s works. Reading a biography of every American President. I schedule activities that lead toward these goals. And if I meet these small achievable goals, I do experience a rush of satisfaction. Maybe that’s the dopamine released when I exercise. And if I feel better about myself, I can be a better person for others. And I allow myself rewards. If I complete my daily goals of exercise, answering emails, reading, chores, study, self-care….I earn the option of a great cocktail on a weekend evening or a restaurant dinner. My inner parent rewards my inner child with an external signal of approval. JB
Fitness-wise I have been using “The Conqueror Challenges”. I love that virtually I am going and seeing places I never thought I would. When I am struggling the Conqueror community on Facebook is so positive, encouraging and inclusive. BA
- Being Outdoors
- Breathing techniques
Meditation is my saviour – especially outdoors. I find that picking a space be it, front porch or somewhere on the trails – sit, concentrate on breathing and being grounded and mindful helps refocus. Keeping busy helps too. I have had a battle with physical health which affected my mindset and mental health… surprising how it’s all a domino effect. It’s important to balance and be grounded for me. KB
- Eating right
- Planning my days
I make sure to meditate, get enough sleep, pray, plan my days, eat right, spend time with the ones I love and have faith we’ve got everything we need. JP
- Practice self-acceptance, letting go of judgement and applying self-compassion
I accept it. No judging, no big agendas to reform me. After a few days, I start making short lists of things I can accomplish each day and I check them off. Nothing complicated. Then I wait and trust that it will pass and that I will get back to my old self soon enough. In there, I take stock of my goals, motivations, commitments and stresses. That can be very revealing. Sometimes certain things have to be dealt with and/or let go of. SJ
I can relate. I agree that being compassionate to yourself is difficult. But when it all comes crashing down sometimes that’s when self-compassion is the only way up. same. SJ
- Do something fun to get perspective
I take a plane ride! ED & EBTwo of our pilots out there suggested this one!
- Talking to a friend
- Asking for prayer support and talking to God
I call my dear friend and have a great chat TM
I share with & ask a few close friends to pray for me as I’m struggling. I have an honest conversation with God about it & surrender myself to Him. If need be, I get Counseling. 2 years of Covid (plus life’s problems) takes a toll. GD
This last week I listened to a conversation between Dr. Jon Korkidakis (pastor) and Dr. Jill Matsuo (medical practitioner) (17:43) on the subject of not feeling your best and how to deal with it. This was packed with lots of helpful suggestions including many that echo the ones above. Here are some resources and key points she mentioned:
- Free resources for those in Ontario
- If you are concerned that your feelings of depression or anxiety are not normal and you may need additional help, take the PHQ-9 and Gad-7 assessments. Reach out to your doctor if you need extra support
- The Calm App for breathing techniques and meditation. (I also like Headspace and of course the Positive Intelligence Mental Fitness course which you can take by connecting with me.)
- There are many things we can’t control but we can control our time, what we think about and watch, what we put into our bodies. Focus on the things you can control.
- Completing the stress cycle through physical activity:
“Physical activity is the single most efficient strategy for completing the stress response cycle and recalibrating your central nervous system into a calm state. When people say, ‘Exercise is good for stress,’ that is for realsie real.”
“The good news is that stress is not the problem. The problem is that the strategies that deal with stressors have almost no relationship to the strategies that deal with the physiological reactions our bodies have to those stressors. To be “well” is not to live in a state of perpetual safety and calm, but to move fluidly from a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement, back to safety and calm, and out again. Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you.”― Emily Nagoski, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
This Week’s Photos
I love taking pictures of mushrooms. They remind me that growth can happen in the most unusual and challenging circumstances. They seem to spring up overnight in places that look like they shouldn’t be able to support growth of any kind. Mushrooms remind me that my own growth can happen in circumstances that seem less than ideal.