As we wade further into the pandemic and begin another year, we are all starting to realize the long-term effects of chronic stress and disengagement from some aspects of life. For some this year was easier than others- and that’s okay too! For others, this year was extremely challenging.
Perhaps having kids at home while working from home wasn’t your idea of a productive workday. Or perhaps dropping out of college and working double shifts wasn’t on your yearly goals for 2020 way back when. For those above age sixty-five you may find yourself facing feelings of isolation and loneliness from your adult children and grandchildren as they want to keep you safe.
Things are different now. So how do we keep ourselves going and doing our best when this big of a shift has occurred?
Our bodies and minds absolutely love routine. Structure is something that keeps our internal clocks ticking forward in a correct manner. Well, obviously nighttime and mornings routines are shifted now and maybe we haven’t been the best at working out or eating at the same time each day. Good news- the bar can be set low! Do what you can do with what you have and build up to something if that’s your goal. Just make sure you have the base down first otherwise that pyramid isn’t going to get built up.
1. Go To Bed On Time
This is so important because it sets a tone for how we feel for the next day. If you do anything on this list, just try to aim for this one. We all watch a lot of Netflix now, which is awesome, but just try to set an alarm for 30 minutes before bed so you don’t find yourself binging out and passing your bedtime.
2. Stop and Smell The Flowers. Engage with Life.
Feeling like things are pretty monotonous these days? Our brain likes novel and unique things. It helps us bookmark and segment parts of our lives. This past year we have been asked to disengage with a lot of wonderful things. We are no longer going out to eat or enjoying catching a movie at the theater with friends. Nevertheless, we can still re-engage with life in other ways.
Ask yourself when was the last time you stepped outside to look up at the moon or look up at the stars. Or consider if it has been a while since the last time you really took a moment to enjoy the sunrise.
There really is so much beauty around us. These small acts help us to engage with life and make it more meaningful and more memorable.
3. Drink Water In The Morning
Just like going to bed on time this one is really important. If you work somewhere where you wear a mask all day, dehydration is real. It’s just that much harder to sip that water bottle at your convenience. Drinking water in the morning right away is also a great energy boost and sometimes even better than coffee! Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it.
4. Roll Around On the Floor.
Gyms are closed and working out at homes seems like alot? That’s fine. Take 5-10 minutes a day to get down onto the living room floor and stretch. If you know some yoga try a few gentle yoga poses to stretch your spine and tune into your breath. And once you got this down maybe next week, you’ll feel inclined to throw in a few crunches or push-ups. Again, set the bar low and just have fun down there.
5. Reach Out To A Friend.
Sometimes a simple text asking how you are can mean a lot to someone struggling. Whether it is a parent or an old friend from college. Reach out and connect. You’ll feel better too.
6. Tell Your Acupuncturist How You’re Feeling
We are great listeners, and we care so much about what is going on in your life.
Even if you have been only coming in for back pain for the last 3 weeks, we also want to know about what your stress is affecting your sleep. Everything is connected and this matters in how we select points and what herbal formulas we give you.
7. Know When To Seek Help
Starting to notice things are starting to slide? Or are you not wanting to get out of bed in the morning? It’s okay and normal to seek additional help. If one good thing came out of last year it may be that mental health is really coming to the forefront. If you are curious about therapy but are hesitant to try it then do a bit more research and just dip your toes in the water. Psychology Today has a great website that allows you to enter in your zip code and find a therapist near you.
It’s normal to feel like you’re starting from scratch again because we can never be perfect. Once we achieve a well-rounded diet it’s not going to last forever. Life is up and down and never constant. This same exact thing is what makes life memorable and beautiful.
(Written by Katie)
Photo by Martín Alfonso Sierra Ospino