Posts

We like certainty. When things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. Part of protecting your health is being mindful - what are you thinking?

What Are You Thinking?

We like certainty. We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening and notice threats, and when things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. And while this reaction is there to protect us, it can cause havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us. What are you thinking?

Are you feeling some anxiety? Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19. We may feel helpless about what will happen and uncomfortable with our apparent loss of control, and this uncertainty can remind us of times when we didn’t feel safe and the future was uncertain.

In times like these, our mental or emotional health can suffer without our realizing it’s happening. Take time to notice … what are you thinking? You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, or sad. Or you might find yourself feeling depressed and less motivated to carry out daily activities.

I want to encourage you that you are not helpless, despite what you are reading in current news. You can always choose your response. If you notice that you are struggling here are some things you can do to take care of mental and emotional health in the face of uncertainty:

Separate what IS in your control from what is not

Focus on what you can do. Wash your hands. Make sure you sleep. Check out other suggestions I shared earlier this month, and limit your consumption of news (it’s not encouraging positive thoughts, right?).

Do what helps YOU feel a sense of safety

This will be different of each of us, and I encourage you not to compare yourself to others. It’s okay if you feel safer when you limit your attendance at social events, provided you are isolating yourself out of concern for infection and not because of depression.

Get outside in nature!

Even better, take a walk in nature. There are numerous studies that have documented the benefits of being out in the sun where you can see the signs of spring and hear the birds and the wind in the trees. This one practice alone will boost your mental, emotional and physical health. If you didn’t read my suggestions for supporting your immune system, check it out here.

Challenge yourself to stay in the present

Do you find your worry is compounding – you are not only concerned about what is happening now, but also the “what ifs” in the future? When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently shift yourself back to the present. To do this, notice sights, sounds, tastes and sensory experiences in your environment and name them. This is called mindfulness, and coupled with deep breathing, it helps to reduce stress. Here are more approaches.

Stay connected with people and reach out for support

Talk to trusted friends or family members about what you are feeling. It’s okay to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry. It can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with someone trained to help.

Parents be aware that teens tend to feel emotions more intensely. If you have a teen who seems anxious about current events, read this article for some tips.

There may also be a physiological reason for your anxiety or depression. The microbiome (bacteria in your gut) is a key player in making the neurotransmitters that govern our feelings. When it is damaged by medications or eating foods to which your body reacts, your body will lack the neurotransmitters that it needs. Thankfully, the gut can heal and the microbiome can rebound, and I can help identify what is needed to support healing.

Life is full of uncertainty and change. It is important, as part of your overall wellness, that you take note of your emotional and mental health and mindfully take action to support yourself.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Prioritize Self-Care

Do You Prioritize Self-Care?

December is a busy month! Many of us love the holidays, yet when you get past the anticipated special moments, there is far more demand on each of us. Will you come through the holidays with positive outlook or will you claw your way through to the end?

Are you doing the holiday cooking?
Who is hosting or organizing the holiday parties?
Are you the primary shopper? And who does the wrapping?
If you send Christmas cards, are you the one who writes the letter or signs and addresses the cards?
And then there’s cleaning the house, hosting guests …. and your daily responsibilities, too!

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired just reading this!

You could hire some help or you could come into this holiday season with a plan to focus on nourishing yourself for the tasks at hand. And by nourishing yourself, I’m not speaking of what you eat. There is more to it than food.

In my coaching training, we discovered primary and secondary foods. You might be surprised to hear that the edible stuff is secondary, and primary food pertains to your full well-being. It encompasses your relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality. You can eat healthy real foods, but if you are falling short in primary food, you won’t experience wellness.

What Is Self-Care?

We – women and men – need to nourish our minds, our spirits, our innermost beings. That’s where self-care comes in. Self-care is defined as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. Thriving is dependent on whether you prioritize self-care.

In an aircraft safety briefing, you are directed to put your oxygen mask on first. Does that sound selfish? How can you pour out to others without first filling up? If you would answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you need to shift your focus …

Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty?
Have you been feeling like you’ve lost your focus?
Have you experienced weight gain?
Are you feeling irritable or impatient?
Has your skin been acting up?

What Does Self-Care Look Like?

It can be as unique as you are, and you are the only one who can determine what will fill you up. Perhaps it’s a walk in the woods or coffee with a friend. It may be a mani/pedi, a massage or a walk on the beach. Self-Care is not usually an exhausting or sweaty activity, but rather one that recharges you. I found a list of self-care activities in this blog post to spark ideas. And it may take some experimentation to determine what works best.

Those who prioritize self-care have been known to experience positive impacts on their mental and physical health. It is an essential step to truly living a healthy, more balanced life. You, and those around you, are worth it.

As noted above, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It is important that you keep an open mind and remain committed to your self-care practice in order to reap the benefits. My goal is that you thrive this Christmas and set a new priority of self-care for the rest of your life.

You are important to so many people, and they need you to practice self-care so that you are there for them. Fill your cup to the brim for you and pour out for them. Everyone benefits!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness