WORKFORCE TRENDS

My Holiday Lifesaver (Soon to be Yours)

by placers on December 8, 2023 in Outside Insights

 

 

I have been open about my health journey and have discussed candidly in my self care blog. This year I have been, not so simply, learning to breathe. I found that I was kind of stuck in that fight or flight mode, where your nervous system is stuck in a constant state of stress.

 

This mode is reserved for saving our lives running from wild animals or in modern times stepping out of the way of a moving car or stressful situations at home, work and life. Our bodies release cortisol, whether it’s a mountain lion chasing you or whether you’re facing a financial crisis. To our minds and bodies it’s all the same.

 

If we are always stressed, we never return to a baseline of normalcy, and for me, I found this stress state looked like:

 

– An inability to be at peace in the present moment

– Overreacting or irritability

– Being exhausted, no matter how much sleep

– Gut issues (thank you for helping me figure this one out, Dr. Thompson!)

 

My guess is you’re nodding your head along with this piece because you get it. Especially during the holidays with travel, visiting with family, spending on gifts – even good stress is still stress!

 

The real key is our ability to activate our parasympathetic nervous system so we can rest, and our body can conduct all of its normal functions and then commit to making it a habit. Many of us know the secret to managing our stress but don’t carve out time to invest in ourselves to actually manage it. What we eat sure helps, but it takes time to cook nutritious meals. Mindful activities like yoga and meditation practices work too, but people don’t often have time to visit their local yoga studio.

 

Personally, I found that yoga, reading and meditation work for me. However, that’s not always practical in real life. What do I do when I only have a minute to spare? Or when my week gets out of whack and I don’t have the time to take care of myself quite like I should?

 

Well, here’s my simple hack to experience a mindful minute anywhere:

 

Try 4-7-8 Breathing. Take a few deep breaths in and out  and take a half breath in at a four count, hold for seven seconds, and let it out for eight.  Repeat two more times.

 

I learned this from my doctor, Dr. Thompson, who I widely credit for helping me get my RA under control and specifically helped me manage my stress. Check out this video from Dr.Thompson demonstrating this breath work.

 

I have also been experimenting with other breathing exercises that you might like to explore. Without a doubt, controlled breathing is the quickest and most effective way to bring your nervous system back into balance when triggers arise. Slow breathing for at least one minute activates your “rest and digest” mode and helps the body return to baseline. My good friend Shay, Yoga extraordinaire, was kind enough to demonstrate a couple other breathing techniques that have been lifesavers for me. Be sure to try alternate nostril breathing and box breathing.

 

The techniques I explored here only scratch the surface and I know each and every one of you has a stress reduction trick that you turn to. Please reply and share with me – I’d love to discuss what works for you!

 

Until next time, friends.

Chris


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If you enjoyed this article, I recommend reading these past Outside Insights posts:

The Evolution of Sales – Less Push and More Consultative

The Power of Nth Degree Thinking

Why Opposite The Crowd?


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