Life is challenging for everyone just now. It is undoubtedly worse for some than others but remember whatever pain you are experiencing, whether emotional, physical or mental, that pain is personal to you and each individual deals with it in a different way.

This is where my tips and techniques come in to help you cope with life no matter the challenges. If you’ve listened to my podcasts, read my blogs you will know that I advocate creativity. Being creative builds and can maintain resilience much needed in life, particularly in challenging times.

Creativity may not solve all your problems but it will help you deal with life in a more positive way. It is not possible to ignore all the terrible events happening around the world but being creative can help you connect to yourself and others, help you connect with your fears but also your hopes and dreams.

If you are struggling then I recommend you connect with your inner self, your hopes and dreams, all so easy to forget when you are feeling down and anxious.

With demands in your life increasing, you might be (or probably are) working longer hours than ever, attending more meetings, answering the never-ending list of emails, eating lunch at your desk or not eating lunch at all. Are you finding it difficult to just keep up? Remember you are not meant to operate like a computer – continuously at high speed for long hours.

You need to take stock, to renew, reorganise, review, reassess, re-energise and rejuvenate. Here are some tips to help you do this.

  1. Sleep: it goes without saying that you need to be fully rested so that your brain can perform at its best. This means making sufficient sleep one of your top priorities. When you do this you will focus more clearly, think more analytically and be able to be creative. I recommend that you set a bedtime routine, starting with winding down at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. This also means stopping stimulating activities in this half hour window. These include avoiding answering emails. Read your favourite book (it is best if you avoid electronic gadgets! I know kindle is used by many but there is nothing better than a good book to hold in your hands). Relax in a warm bath.
  2. Reflect: take a few moments to reflect on what’s on your mind before you go to sleep but so you don’t over-dwell on them, have your journal handy and write down anything that is worrying you. By using your journal, you are taking the worries out of your head and on to paper – you are letting go so that they do not interrupt your sleep.
  3. Re-energise: you need to re-energise throughout your day. This is not about taking long hours away from work but taking short breaks to increase your energy. One way of doing this is the ‘B’ of my ABC – this is deep, effective breathing. When you follow my ‘B’ it lowers your heart rate. I recommend that you practice my ‘B’ regularly so that it becomes a good habit. When you do this it calms, relaxes and also energises. It increases your lung capacity and improves your immune system (vital when so many viruses are around).  You can look at my MindBites video on How to breathe effectively or watch some of my YouTube videos.
  4. Be mindful, be present: you can do this if you make a list of what you want or need to do. Be realistic. Don’t make such a long list that you get anxious when you don’t achieve it all (or any!). When you make a realistic list and achieve just one or two things then praise yourself for achievement. Making such a list stops you from worrying or over-worrying about what you have to do.
  5. Make time to rest: now I’m talking about taking some time off during the day, perhaps your lunchtime ‘workout’ and by this I recommend a workout of your mind by using my ABC. They are proven psychological strategies for reducing stress and anxiety and improving your emotional, psychological, mental and physical wellbeing. My ABC clears the mind and kick-starts your energy or what comes next.  Some of you may want to workout physically and that’s good too but I recommend you include a workout of your mind. One exercise I recommend (and love) is to take a walk in nature – nature gives you a new perspective on everything. Another is to take a nap (forty winks) – research (Sara C Mednick, Sleep Researcher) shows that taking a 20 to 30-minute nap between 1 and 4 is a powerful way of restoring your energy and improves cognitive performance. It is why a number of companies introduced rest areas and even sleep pods! It’s not for every organisation of course and many companies would not allow this but as individuals you can restore your energy with a short rest away from your desk or even sitting back in your chair and closing your eyes for a few minutes (use my ‘C’ – your creative imagination which can take you to your happy, safe place).
  6. Be grateful, be appreciative: when was the last time you were grateful or appreciative of someone else (even yourself!). Do you have a gratitude list? If you have, do you look at it often? You should look for opportunities to appreciate someone in your life, better still appreciate yourself – look at your achievement board (I do hope you have one). Look at your inspiration board (I do hope you have one).  When you do this you are sharing your positive energy and you will feel better.
  7. Leave the work at work: many of you probably take work home with you, if not physically, then in your mind. This is often the case when you work from home – your work is invading your home. You should really try to separate work and home life. Whether you work from home or not, one excellent way of stopping your working mind is to take a few moments to stop and look outside ‘and breathe in nature’. You can do this on your journey home (if you can). Stop beside a park or some fields and just look at nature all around, breathe in the fresh air and do my ‘C’ exercise – particularly the one for ‘letting go’. Take a few minutes to let go of your working day and think about the evening ahead. You can even take a moment to look at my picture, then close your eyes and take yourself to this peaceful place.

In short I recommend practicing my ABC so that they are your good habit and have these techniques to hand when you need to renew, reorganise, review, reassess, re-energise and rejuvenate your life.

Of course my two trade mark tips help SMILE and LAUGH, they cost you nothing.

Virtual hugs to all.

Patricia x

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