This week and over the coming weeks, many of us across Australia are returning back to work, school and a ‘new normal’ way of life. The challenges that this great ‘re-entry’ brings are many. Momentum First clients are sharing that some of the rituals, routines and micro-habits that served us and made up our days pre-coronavirus era now need a re-think.
We see this reevaluation as a good thing. Awareness precedes change. Now, more than ever, we need to sharpen our wellbeing toolkit and strengthen our leadership muscles to help our families, colleagues and communities rebuild Australia.
Mental health experts have been advocating the need to recognise and process the unprecedented mental health issues many of us are facing. These include dealing with increased anxiety in the workplace, financial pressures, the specific stresses racial minorities face, loneliness, grief, and much more.
Here are seven of our top tips to look after your wellbeing this week:
- Just choose one thing: Do a quick ‘brain dump’ of all the things that are causing you stress and choose just one that you would like to change. Maybe it’s those stressful mornings trying to get everyone out the door, or an email inbox that’s flooded. Pick one thing and focus on that.
- Take five to thrive: Ever wondered why, at end of the day, you feel about as run down as the battery on your mobile phone? That’s because stress builds up cumulatively. Set aside some time to recharge yourself during the day and diffuse your nervous system. Whether you’re at work or home, there are plenty of apps and online resources to help get you in the zone, quickly. These apps and websites are all scientifically proven to enhance your wellbeing. Choose one, or try a few of our favourites:
- Which ‘bus’ are you getting on? Often it’s our thinking about events, not the events themselves, that leads us to experience negative stress. Experts estimate that the mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day. But, because our brains are so clever, we tend to ‘filter’ these thoughts so that only what we consider to be important is retained. In doing this, we delete, distort and generalise.
Michael’s magical metaphor for this is to picture our thoughts as busses: as we’re standing at the bus stop, we can decide which bus to jump on and which ones to let pass. So, which bus are you getting on next? Are you letting negativity drive you off course, or are you choosing to get on the bus that will take you to a destination of wellbeing, growth and goal achievement?
- Drop the handicap to your morning lift off: The way you start your day influences how the day will unfold. In my coaching sessions this week, a number of clients have shared that in getting back into the routine of work and school, they are feeling stressed in the mornings and like there’s simply not enough time. This is like starting a race with an extra 15 kilos in your backpack.
The best way to start your day is the night before. Give yourself extra AM time by having the lunches packed, and clothes and gear ready to go the night before. Now you’ve unlocked extra morning minutes to use for exercise, mindfulness and fuelling your body with proper nutrition. And, of course, less stress. One more tip: don’t check emails first thing in the morning.
- Acknowledge and accept: If you’re feeling a bit self-critical about your emotions and thoughts around the pandemic, or how you might have let some healthy habits or work routines slip, then now’s a good time to practice self-compassion. Remind yourself that this is a highly abnormal situation, and it’s only natural to feel some degree of stress.
- Watch what you watch: Be mindful about the news and information sources you allow yourself to tune into and what time of day you tune into them. Whilst it’s great to be informed and aware so we can respond accordingly, ask yourself, ‘Do I need to be constantly reminded of the global unrest or the number of deaths overnight?’ This can take its toll on our psychological wellbeing, so yourself set healthy boundaries and limits around news consumption. That could look like just checking a couple of trusted news sources each day, or setting an hour for yourself to catch up on the latest updates. Then switch off, or do something that energises or de-stresses you.
- Evening wind-down: Unplug from the digital world so you can sleep better, deeply recharge and reconnect to your wisdom and creativity. Think of three good things you’re grateful for, which will help you review what’s been great about your day. This is the ‘broaden and build’ theory.
We also hear from a lot of clients who lie down at night time and can’t stop thinking about their to-do list. Instead, keep a notebook by your bed and do a brain dump – some of those 80,000 thoughts can be parked here. This mental de-clutter helps to quiet the mind and prepare for sleep.