These last few years have given all of us a run for our money. The current situation we are facing and having to walk through is probably one we will remember for decades to come.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely had my breakdown moments. Feelings of fear and despair poked their ugly heads up, which is normal considering how quickly our world started to unravel.
If I want to be completely transparent with you, which is always my goal, especially at the beginning of it all, I wanted to give in so badly. I wanted to just stay in my Pj’s all day, watch a sitcom and eat my favorite chips and chocolate to numb the pain away. 9 short years ago, that is exactly what I would’ve done. I would’ve reached for the habits that while made me feel good at the moment, would’ve set me on a downward spiral fast. I would’ve checked out, fast!
Here’s what I’ve learned about tough times, and I’m sure just like me you’ve faced plenty of those in your lifetime, they can either make us bitter or make us better. And here’s a piece of good news, the decision, and choice of which one it’ll be is actually ours to make.
For the first 30 years of my life, I lived as a victim. A victim to my circumstances, a victim to my own toxic thoughts and a victim to everything and everyone else around me.
Here’s what I know to be true; how we make it through a crisis situation is all connected to our mental resilience.
If a situation like the one we find ourselves in currently would’ve hit me 7 years ago, I would’ve crumbled quickly under the pressure. But I’m grateful that now, just a few short years later, I’m able to lean into some strong healthy habits and rhythms that help me walk through this season feeling more grounded and stable.
Over the next two episodes, I’d like to share with you the 6 Life-Giving Habits that help me Grow each day.
When we choose to double down on our good habits or start focusing on developing life-giving practices instead of reaching for our bad ones, it really helps us not only survive through difficult times but come out stronger on the other side. And I don’t know about you, but I want to grow through this not just go through this.
Are you with me? Then let’s dive right in.
Before I attempt to do anything else, the first thing I do every morning is making sure that I’m setting myself up for a good day ahead. That means, intentional mindset work.
Before I share with you what I do in the morning to make sure I’m cultivating a healthy and strong mindset I want to tell you why it’s so crucial for us to do this every single day, especially in times of crisis.
During scary and fearful times, our brain tends to go into a fight to flight mode.
You see, when we are in fear, a part of our brain called the amygdala kicks in and takes control over our actions.
Unfortunately, when we are in this reactive state in order to lower stress levels our body starts producing more of a steroid called, cortisol.
And guess what this steroid does to your immune system? It WEAKENS it.
So, as you can see, practicing habits that help keep your anxiety level at bay really helps you fight even disease easier.
Ok, so what does mindset work look like in practicality?
Praying: Talking and listening to my heavenly Father before doing anything else is a must for me. It helps me voice my gratitude and my struggles. It also helps me acknowledge the fact that while I have no control over certain situations I’m facing, He does. God is not shocked or overtaken by what is going on in the world.
Journaling: Being able to put my feelings into words instead of shoving them down deep inside of me has been a game-changer. There is something so powerful about putting our words on a piece of paper and naming the feelings that are happening inside our heads and hearts. There is something therapeutic about, for sure. There is particularly one thing I always make sure I write down, and that’s 3 things I am grateful for that morning. My gratitude list is a MUST. It helps me shift my focus to things I am thankful for. There are always things we can be grateful for, we just need to look for them.
One of my favorite journal to use during this time is the one from Grit and Virtue. You can check out their shop here: https://gritandvirtue.com/journals/ (not an affiliate link, I just like supporting other women lead businesses)
Reading: I’m extremely selective about what I read or watch for that matter. In my opinion, once read or seen, it can’t be unread or unseen. Meaning, what you put in front of your eyes matters, BIG TIME! I’m also convinced that the books and posts we read, the podcasts we listen to or movies/shows we watch, impact us, many times without us noticing, subconsciously. This is why especially at the beginning of the day, I choose to feed my mind with positive and life-giving words. Words that help me grow.
There was a time in my life when I constantly told myself that I didn’t have the energy to exercise. I find that funny now since I learned the exercise itself is an energizer. According to research exercise not only boosts our energy level but is also a great mood stabilizer. In an article in Everyday Health, we read that “According to Robert Gotlin, DO, a specialist in sports medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, the benefits of exercise for your energy level are twofold: Exercise boosts your body’s fitness and also your mood, both of which contribute to your overall health and well-being.” Read Full Article.
In another article found on Harvard Medical School’s website, we read that “regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.” Read Article.
In all honesty, from my personal experience, I don’t think I found anything else yet (besides what I eat, more on that later) that has a more significant impact on my energy level than exercise does.
As you can see, exercise is useful not only for your body, your mind, but it has the potential to increase your confidence level too. If you don’t see how the two are connected, read this article from Live Strong.
The foods we eat have an immediate and long-lasting impact on our energy level and mental health. Again, this might not be news to you, it was news to me about 10 years ago. I always thought that professional athletes were way too uptight and rigid about their routines and what they put in their bodies. It took me about 30 years to understand why. What we eat not only impacts our physical energy but our mental focus and resilience as well.
Now, I’m certainly not an expert on health, so I’m not going to attempt to give you professional advice on what you should eat. However, I will tell you this, don’t assume you know what a healthy diet looks like if you haven’t taken the time to study it yourself.
Michael Hyatt, in his book, Free To Focus, says, “The road to poor nutrition is paved with assumptions people make about what are and are not wise food choices.”
Knowing what you should eat can be tricky and takes time to figure out, but don’t let that keep you stuck. Do your research and find what works best for you.
Here are a few articles I found super helpful:
July 5, 2022
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[…] If you haven’t had a chance to check out part 1 in this series I encourage you to listen to that episode first, HERE! […]