Last night I was on a Zoom call with several amazing women.
Together we form a powerful community that comes together regularly for inspiration, support and meaningful conversations.
Our call started with the question…
“How are you really doing?”
We didn’t have to wait long before one of the participants answered.
“If I am totally honest…” she started.
“The last couple of months have stretched me in more ways than I can put into words. It’s been a crazy ride trying to balance life, work, and taking care of my parents not to mention also having to be there for my kids – it’s just been a lot to manage.”
The room was silent as we all held space for her to continue.
We had no idea she had silently been battling with so much all alone.
She continued by sharing how overwhelmed she was – until she finally decided to reach out for help.
She wrapped up by saying…
“It’s a lot. It’s just been a lot!” as she wiped her tears away.
Some of the women were a little unprepared by what she shared, probably because she is the one person we “assume” has it all together!
My heart sank as I listened deeply.
I totally get it – because unfortunately, this message is consistent with what I hear from other women I interact with each week.
Stress and overwhelm are common issues that plague most of us.
Your mind and body are constantly talking to you, sending you messages about what they need to feel their best.
Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s all too easy to ignore these vital signs and this has to change.
Over the years, I have experienced the up and downs of stress and overwhelm myself – and I discovered what helps is creating micro self-care habits to provide some relief.
Like most women, fitting in time for self-care continues to be challenging, so I have boiled it down to a few minutes of activity – which I repeat 2-3 times throughout the day.
Hey, I figure if the compounding interest formula works for money – then it’s worth applying the same approach to well-being and self-care, right?
We both know Rome was not built in a day, so the objective is to make it simple, easy to do and repeatable to get results over time.
Here are the 3-phases of the micro self-care session that you can do in about 5 or 6 minutes.
ISOLATE: Give Yourself Permission to Pause
Find a distraction-free location and disconnect for a few minutes.
Put the phone on Do Not Disturb (if necessary).w
Close your eyes.
Take long deep purposeful breaths and repeat.
This action alone will help to calm and center you!
MEDITATE: Rewire Your Mind for Positivity
We don’t always recognize when our thoughts might be leading us astray, so be aware of the snowball effect that triggers negative thoughts and feelings of stress and anxiety.
Once you know what these are, you need to flip the switch from negative to positive.
Start by paying careful attention to what you’re thinking; pick one thought and give it a more positive spin.
For example, “This task looks hard” has a heaviness to it and already sets you up for stress.
Instead, switching the thought to “This task looks like an interesting challenge” makes everything seem more possible and maybe even a bit fun.
RECALIBRATE: Increase Energy Through Gratitude
We know expressing gratitude helps us better manage stress and increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
When we express gratitude we increase Dopamine – our brain’s own “feel good” chemical – which allows to us feel more motivated and content.
To recalibrate, reflect on the following:
- Name three things that make you smile.
- Reflect on how these affect your mood.
To help create the practice of habit:
- set a reminder for 6 minutes on your phone (or block up to 10 minutes on your calendar)
- repeat 2-3 times a day
- make the time your priority
This subtle micro activity might not seem like much at first glance, but the results will compound and give you the space, positivity and energy boost you need to keep going.
As tough as things may be right now, do a little bit every day and over time your mind and body will thank you as you’ll naturally feel the load shift.
Lead vibrantly and keep shining!