These are certainly times of stress and uncertainly. There are so many trials and questions that even when we try to find solid ground, all we find is shifting sand. Everywhere we look, there are seemingly insurmountable challenges. The war in the Ukraine, climate change that is no longer coming but is happing now, the on-going COVID health threat, and the never ending battles amongst our own government leaders that thwart their ability to make necessary changes threatening our nation, the economy, and the planet.
The livelihoods of many people have been endangered, and even those who are employed or have financial reserves are still sucked into a mass consciousness of fear and worry about the future. We worry about our health, or the health of our children or our elders, or if we will have to relocate if the weather becomes intolerable. We worry if our businesses will be allowed to stay open, or whether we will have a job in the coming year, or whether we will be able to find a job that will enable us to afford housing, food, clothing and healthcare.
Our low moods are dampened even more with the persistently hot dry weather, or the rain that doesn’t cease bringing floods and damage. The weather keeps us indoors and lethargic, restless to be able to enjoy the outdoors again. Those with anxiety and depression are especially challenged!
If these words resonate with you, then you might also benefit from the advice I’m sharing with my clients to help them stay as positive as they move through these uncertain times.
Exercise: Exercising just 20 to 30 minutes a day can help elevate our mood. Cardio exercise generates endorphins, those natural hormones that help us to feel good and combat depression. Stretching, yoga and strength training are also good. It’s not necessary to sign up at a gym or purchase expensive equipment. Just walking for 20-30 minutes a day will give you the same effect.
Pamper yourself. Most of us don’t set aside enough time for self-care. This is especially true for women. Now more than ever is the time to be good to yourself. Take time to luxuriate in a bubble bath, or stop for a latte, or curl up with a good book, or take a walk in nature! These few minutes you spend nurturing yourself lets you know that you matter, that you are important! And YOU are important! You have value! You deserve time for your own self-care. Especially if you spend lots of time caring for others.
Speak Up. Many of us become depressed or anxious when stressed-out or overwhelmed. Life has become so fast-paced. Often, we cram way too many things into an already jam-packed day. Some of us don’t know how to set boundaries or to “just say no!” Some of us don’t know how, or don’t feel we have the right, to express what we need or want. Many tend to put ourselves last. By speaking up, saying NO, and setting boundaries you can regain a sense of your own worth and claim your rightful spot on your list of priorities. Aren’t we told on the airplane to put our oxygen mask on first before helping our child? It’s OK, and sometimes necessary, to put ourselves first.
Reach out. With low-moods and depression comes lethargy. When we are fatigued and unmotivated it is easier to isolate than to get out and be social. Yet the best way to counter depression is to reach out to others. We human beings need connection. It’s a basic need and helps to rebuild those happy feel-good chemicals in our brain. So, if you find yourself isolating, then make a point to reach out and connect; you will probably find that others are glad that you did!
Practice gratitude. When we focus on those things for which we are grateful, our minds shift from the negative thoughts of worry, lack and limitation. I have a crystal bead light catcher dangling from my rear-view mirror. It reminds me to think of something for which I am grateful. This simple daily practice helps me to maintain a positive attitude. Even though there are lots of things that I don’t like right now, I still find many things for which I am grateful. I bet if you take up this simple practice that you will find lots to be grateful for too!
Cultivate Pleasure. When we focus on positive thoughts our brain chemistry is altered so that we create more hormones like serotonin and endorphins that help us feel good. Cultivating positive thoughts and experiences actually perpetuates a more positive mood. Even though life can be stressful and worrisome right now, it is still possible to maintain a positive attitude by simply taking time to enjoy nature, listen to music, read a good book, fix a good meal, watch a movie, laugh with a friend, or play with a child or pet. These are all inexpensive yet important ways of preventative self-care that can repel the ravages of stress, anxiety and depression.
Help someone. Helping others shifts the focus away from our own concerns. It helps us open our hearts, to be more sensitive and compassionate. It also helps us to build those human connections that are so important. No matter how bad things are, it always seems as if there is someone out there who is in worse shape. So, give a helpful hand to someone. It will help you too.
Doing one or several of these suggestions daily will help you maintain a more positive outlook on life. If you find that you still can’t shake the blues, please feel free to contact me for a complementary 20-minute consultation to find out how transformative life coaching and hypnotherapy can help you reclaim your sense of joy and find greater inner peace. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy. For more information please visit my website www.joyreichard.com