#1: Create time for mini check-in’s with yourself throughout the day. 

As cliche as it sounds, it’s helpful to “name it, to tame it” by checking in with yourself and working to label your feelings. Feelings are meant to be felt after all.  Keep in mind that feelings should not be labeled as good or bad! 

You can also feel multiple things at once. It’s okay to feel grateful that you still have your job, while also feeling stressed and overwhelmed with having to work from home. You can be grieving the things you are missing out on, while also having compassion for those who are struggling. 

Feelings are our body’s way of communicating to us. An increased heart rate might be our body asking us to slow down and take some deep breaths. Or the tension in the neck and shoulders letting us know we are angry.

Feelings are our body’s way of communicating to us. We just have to slow down enough to listen to hear the message. Is our body asking us to slow down and take some deep breaths? Or letting us know we are angry with tight fists, anxious with increased heart rate? Wanting connection and to feel seen in your pain?  

#2 Practice self-compassion, especially when things don’t go as planned! 

Research shows that self-compassion increases motivation, happiness and self-worth, while reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.

Go a step further, and after naming your experience, offer yourself some words of kindness or compassion for what you’re going through. If this is difficult, try this trick: What advice would you give a friend going through a similar experience? See if you can offer the same wise and compassionate words to yourself. It takes practice, but we can become our own allies instead of inner critics. 

Mindful self-compassion also involves recognizing “common humanity” or the idea that suffering is a part of life and being human. So avoid comparing yourself to others as pain is relative. There is no benefit in invalidating your own suffering by assuming someone else’s is worse or by comparing yourself to others 

#3. Focus on the things you can control. 

With so much uncertainty and things outside of our control, it can be overwhelming. And this year more than ever, we should try to focus on our own decisions around covid and safety and what boundaries feel right for us and our families.

Try focusing on the things you can control, however small they may be, such as how you spend your time and energy, how much media you consume,  your reaction to situations and others, how you treat yourself and others, what you eat and how much you exercise.

#4. Practice Soft Belly breathing

If all else fails, take a few deep breaths. I know, it’s another cliche, but when done correctly, it can help to reset the nervous system, among other benefits.

How: Practice breathing in through the nose and think “soft” on the inhale, and exhale through the mouth and think “belly”. Deep-breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, also known as soft-belly breathing, relaxes the vagus nerve and enhances digestion as well as improves our immune response. Through a few rounds of breaths, we can create an antidote to the fight fight-flight-or freeze reaction by quieting the activity in the amygdala.  

#5 Get Clear on your Values

If you find yourself stuck in comparison mode, get clear on what your personal values are. It helps us with decision making and to stop comparing ourselves to others!

Maybe you value quality time and experiences over things, so you might be choosing to forgo on fancy decorations or presents this year. 

Being clear on our values can also help us set healthy boundaries, as we know what to prioritize and when to say no.

PS- Yes I’m a perfectionist and yes, the formatting of this blog post is messed up. I’m practicing what I preach over here!