Eat right, exercise, take your maintenance medications, and get enough sleep. This is pretty much the go-to for everything, because it’s the foundation of your life physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you, and establish it as daily habits. And if you know what you should be doing but aren’t, then stop making excuses, and start making progress. We all slip from time to time. Just get back on it. This goes for physical and mental health too, folks. While you live in this world, there is a mind-body connection. Be honest, and take care of both. You don’t have to advertise your business to the world – you just have to take care of it properly.
When in doubt, always come back to this. As they used to say in marching band, a lot of problems are solved by going back to the fundamentals.
Take proper health precautions. Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t handy (yes, it does work against flu and other respiratory type illnesses). Talk to your doctor about what immunizations are necessary for your health conditions and age. Clean up your home and work areas. Wipe surfaces with sanitizing wipes to kill germs, and don’t fear the Lysol. Wear rubber gloves or use a tissue or paper towel to open doors in public areas or entering/leaving public restrooms. Don’t touch your face unless you just washed your hands. Follow the first tip above. Most of all, don’t go out if you’re sick. Be a decent human being. Share the love, not the germs.
Practice relaxation techniques. Find what works for you, and employ it in your daily routine, be it meditation, yoga, or even a simple “time out.” Be sure to do at least one thing you enjoy each day. Take deep breaths and evaluate whether you’re really in tune to what’s happening right now, or reacting out of fear or emotional responses that aren’t relevant to the present.
Manage your emotions. If you find your anxiety rising or a situation causes a panic, stop what you’re doing immediately and take deep breaths for at least 30 seconds. Ask yourself what you’re scared of and honestly answer it, because anger, frustration, panic, and depression are always caused by fear. Consider if it’s possible that your emotions are being influenced by other things like hormonal fluctuations, medication side effects, a medical condition, or even fatigue. Follow the first tip above. Be led by logic, not emotions.
Read the instructions from start to finish before you ask questions. A lot of information is missed because people have a knew-jerk reaction to questions, instead of the patience to see if they’re addressed in due measure. If you do need to ask for assistance, stop and listen. Not everything has a quick answer, and it might require multiple steps or additional information to get to the desired end result.
Practice time management. The number one thing you can do is let your smart phone live up to it’s name and make use of the calendar and reminder apps. When it comes to less time-sensitive things, the most critical thing is to know yourself well enough to know what’s practical and manageable for yourself, and to be sure to leave some free time in every day to relax and unwind. There are plenty of tips on time management on the Internet, so research them and find what works for you on a consistent basis.
Mind your own business. This isn’t just a sassy quip, it’s good advice to live by and probably the number one suggestion offered by pastors, therapists, and others in the metal health field all over the world. Your job in this world is to attend to your personal responsibilities to the best of your ability, and to support other people in attending to their responsibilities. But support doesn’t mean intrusion or unsolicited advice: it means talking less and listening more, because what most people need is for their loved ones to respect them and listen to them without judgement or intrusion. Offering unsolicited advice sends the message that you think don’t respect them and believe they’re incompetent, and nobody likes you when you send that message. Back off, attend to your business, and allow others the grace to attend to theirs.
Be mindful of your driving. I say this over and over because we all think we’re excellent drivers, so we go on auto-pilot behind the wheel. Sorry folks, but time and chance happen on the highways more than in any other area of life. Nobody plans for a wreck. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have one job: operate the vehicle safely and efficiently until you park it at your destination. Emotions and distractions can impair you as much as drugs or alcohol, so don’t drive if you can’t focus on driving and the tips above don’t “take it down” enough to be cognizant of the present and what’s happening around you right now. A brush-up on skills is also necessary, because we all tend to forget things. Invest in driver training refreshers if your employer doesn’t provide them, or simply download and read through the driver’s training manual. The consequences of a traffic accident follow you forever, whether you’re at fault or not. We all tend to take the privilege of driving for granted. We’d do everybody a favor if we didn’t.
I know it would be nice if we could all hibernate until winter, bad weather, busy seasons, stress, anxiety, and depression pass us by. Unfortunately, we’re human, not bears. Life will get stressful and unpleasant every now and then, and test us all. It’s hard, but it’s critical that you be at your best when the rest of the world isn’t. Stand your ground. We all get tested from time to time and you can pass the test, if you pray and use the techniques described here. I hope they’re helpful.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.