As the global crisis drags on and lockdowns continue for many of us, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. After all these months, staying positive can be increasingly difficult. So, it’s important to recognize when our own stress levels become elevated, and take steps to proactively address those feelings in order to regain a sense of personal balance and control.
For me, I’ve learned that it’s important to find frequent opportunities to take – no, make –time to reset. So, the following are practices that have proven effective for re-establishing balance in my own life:
1) Enjoy some fresh air
Hiking has always been a great stress reliever for me. It forces me to live in the moment, plus the combination of physical activity and natural surroundings helps me become more attuned to myself at a very fundamental level. By focusing on the exertion, regulating my breathing, and appreciating nature with my family, I’m able to put life’s priorities back into the proper perspective.
2) Take time alone
Find a quiet corner to read a book or practice yoga. Reading Untamed helped me realize that this time for yourself isn’t about answers, it’s about getting comfortable with how uncomfortable life can be at times. So, I like to meditate. This helps to calm my mind and model the values of self-love and mental well-being for my children.
3) Find your personal escape (without leaving home)
I love to cook, so I enjoy seeking out new recipes. While I love creating new culinary experiences for my family, it’s mostly about the journey. Preparing a new recipe allows me to focus on the details an get lost in the present. When I’m cooking, I’m able to ignore life’s external “noise”.
4) Learn a new skill
As a life-long learner, I love to read and take classes. One of my favorite resources is www.coursera.org where I have personally taken classes health and wellbeing, human rights, equality, and more. Below are some of my most recent courses:
- International Women's Health and Human Rights, from Stanford
- The Science of Wellbeing, from Yale
- Revolutionary Ideas: Utility, Justice, Equality, Freedom, from Rutgers
5) Treat yourself
Since we’re all spending more time at home, consider what would make your space more enjoyable or relaxing. For example, I love buying myself flowers. Fresh flowers are not only beautiful, but they can smell incredible – engaging multiple senses at once. Stargazer lilies are a personal favorite!
Though I know we all have different preferences and methods for maintaining balance in our lives, I hope that my examples will help inspire everyone to find new ways for prioritizing YOU.
With all the new challenges that 2020 has brought, we need to continue helping one another overcome our personal adversities – while also remembering that we can’t be there for others if we’re not first taking care of ourselves.