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Let's face it, COVID is taking its toll on the world.
Whether it's from the constant fear-mongering over the infection rate and death toll. Or the realities of your business or career-ending due to forced shutdowns.
The price of this pandemic has been high, and sadly it doesn't look like the end is in sight.
Learning how to cope with this long-term stress is crucial to surviving this pandemic.
Possibly even thriving during it.
Over the last year, I have watched my career end with international travel shut down -I map the ocean, kinda need to travel...
I have watched my business ideas flounder and flop. Something entrepreneurs are used to but I'm new to this so it's hard not to take it personally.
I have watched my belly grow to worry sizes, and through hard work watched it shrink to new levels.
Through it, all my mental health has stayed pretty steady.
With each passing day, the realities of the world we've created are taking their toll. I feel my foundations are slowly chipping away.
Being somewhat experienced with mental illness and breakdowns, my warning bells are starting to go off.
I have systems in place through experience to ensure I never fall into a proper downward spiral. So as I'm implementing my strategies, I thought it would be a good time to share some of them in case they help you.
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Become a minimalist
The first thing I do when I'm feeling overwhelmed is simplify my life.
How many uncompleted projects are you juggling?
How many unrealistic goals are you nowhere near achieving?
How many conversations having you been putting off due to procrastination?
All these things take up real estate in your mind and help weigh you down.
Buy a journal and write down every one of these things. no matter how small. and put them into 3 categories: less than an hour, more than an hour, and more than a day.
The idea here is to identify the easiest and quickest jobs to do and commit a day or two to smash them all out. If you are like me, the list of things that I have been putting of doing that take less than an hour is often 10 or more.
Committing time to tidy up all these loose ends doesn't just take some mental weight off your mind. It helps you regain a sense of control in your life.
Something in short supply at the moment.
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Be a sunflower
It's amazing how treating yourself like a houseplant can help you thrive like one.
Prioritizing fresh air, clean water, and lots of sunshine will transform your life.
Waking up to a tall glass of water and spending ten minutes soaking up the morning rays, does more to make me feel alive than ten good cups of coffee.
Whenever I feel the presence of the black dog on my mind, it's usually because I have been neglecting one of the trio.
Humans love to overcomplicate things. sometimes just the smallest things make all the difference...
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Unleash your hidden Hemingway
I know it is a little cliche, but writing out your thoughts really is an amazing tool.
Creating a daily journaling habit (using the journal you bought for the first tip) will help unburden some thinking from your brain.
It is amazing how seeing a thought written out on a piece of paper can completely transform it. Giving it a greater perspective or change how you perceive it at all.
I am no saint and I definitely don't journal every day. But when I am feeling overwhelmed, even just a day or two of inspired writing can have a massive impact on my mental health.
I find the best way to write is to set myself a target: 2 pages of writing in a single sitting.
Having this target forces me to keep writing when I have run out of ideas. It is amazing what comes bursting out of the depths of my thoughts when I have given up writing what I "think" I should be writing. And instead, just let the writing come freely.
Most of the time it will just be pointless rambling. But every so often I will write a sentence or two that really reveals some of my deep-seated thoughts and patterns. These little insights into my soul are what I base and future self-work on.
Although often I'll find that just openly expressing them is enough to help ease their trauma.
Change your identity
People, who consistently manage to do tedious, boring, or difficult work, when asked "how do they do it?" Always reply that it's just "what they do."
They don't see the work as something they have to do. It's part of who they are, part of their identity.
When I'm feeling overwhelmed or stalling, upping my exercise always kicks my ass out of that slump. The problem is when I'm in a slump is when exercise is most difficult to do.
Learning to adopt the identity of someone who: never skips a workout or runs every day - rain or shine. This has become my secret weapon.
I turn it into a sort of game, imagining what I would say and how I would act if I was one of these people...
The funny thing is it usually works!
No one is perfect and every routine has slip-ups, but I find my longest streaks are when I'm playing this "game."
Give yourself permission to live outside your expected patterns and thoughts. It is wonderfully therapeutic on the mind.
These tips aren't for everyone and you are welcome to ignore them if you want. But, if you are someone feeling a little stretched thin and on the verge of a breakdown. Give them a try I know they work wonders for me and I'd love to know if they help you too.
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