I am not 100% okay. Amid a pandemic, a turbulent election year, 100% remote working, it’s understandable. I recently decided to start seeing a therapist again after experiencing a severe panic attack last month. After conversing with my new therapist, I realized that I needed a mental reset to deal with adjusting my life. Being stressed out is understandable, but I drew the line at allowing it to affect my life and relationships.
Here are four ways I’m doing a mental reset:
Setting Limits and Boundaries At Work
I feel like all the parts of my life are suddenly blurring together now that I am working from home. I’m answering Microsoft Teams’ chats later than usual. I’m not taking a full lunch because people are placing meetings on my calendar during my normal lunchtime. I no longer have a buffer time to decompress between my main job and my side hustles. My days are just one endless blob of work.
That sounds grim, doesn’t it? Well, I finally convinced myself that it’s unnecessary and that I have control over the times I work. I turned off work-related notifications from my phone and started to block out my lunch hour. I let my boss know that if she needs me after 5:30, the best thing to do is text me. It sets the expectation that I am not going to be waiting at my computer for the next project. I also moved around my working hours to have a 2-hour break between jobs where I can cook, workout or read (sometimes all three).
By giving myself limits and enforcing my boundaries through small behaviors, I hope to be more intentional with my off time and to relax.
Developing A Routine (And Sticking To It)
As a Type-A personality, having control, structure, and organization is how I operate best. This year has been the complete opposite of that. My whole routine is completely off. For my mental reset, I need to gain back control in the small ways that will benefit my mind, body, and soul.
I’m currently working toward a 6:00 am wake up time again. By having almost two- hours to myself in the morning, I can make breakfast, do a quick workout, or crank out some side-work. Between 8:30 am -5:30 pm, I am fully immersed in my job. I typically have a two-hour break between my day job, and then start my side-hustle until roughly 9:30. I plan on taking another 45 minutes after to decompress and lull myself to relaxing zen using the Calm app soundscapes.
By having a routine, I will be both productive and have a more holistic day. Granted, I am always ready to pivot my plans if necessary. But creating a routine and incorporating my personal priorities, helps to keep my anxiety at bay and become more enthusiastic.
Making Social Media Work For Me
Let’s be real, social media has been a time suck this year. It’s essentially been the only way to create and maintain connections in a year where physically being together is difficult. In seeking connection with others, I am being exposed to an increased influx of content, some of which may be mentally unhealthy.
Social Media is built on algorithms that essentially understand the types of content that people like, share, mention, or save, and then present them with similar content. So for a few days, I went out of my way to start liking and saving more content that was encouraging or inspirational. I began to actually like social media more because I saw more uplifting content.
I’m currently in the process of evaluating how much time I spend on social media and how to cut it down. Although now my feeds are much more positive, I don’t want to get caught up in consuming too much. But again, part of my mental reset meant that I needed to evaluate what I am exposed to, and making my social media work for me was a huge part of it.
Meditating and Becoming Grounded
I have never meditated before this year and always thought that my brain was too busy for that sort of thing. I am now happy to admit that I was wrong. Meditating has been such a powerful tool in my mental health arsenal.
As I mentioned before, I have an anxiety disorder and thus, panic attacks. By forcing myself to meditate, I’m doing three different things to help keep the anxiety at bay. First, I’m bringing myself into the present moment and acknowledging how I feel. Second, it forces me to focus on my breathing, which then leads to shifting attention to the energy in different parts of my body that are impacted by my anxiety. Also, it helps me to become grounded with the Earth to achieve a balance that will help me feel at peace. I also found that meditating in nature is a huge help too.
I’m not a meditation expert by any means, but I have been enjoying the Calm app and the Daily Shine podcast for my daily meditations. Here’s a post I made on a recent meditation experience:
2020 has been a real kick in the buns. People are tired, overworked, and just trying to survive until the next day. But, I refuse to allow stress and anxiety to consume me. So if you are struggling with anxiety, I hope the above changes I’m making will help you too. Let me know in the comments what you’ve been struggling with, or if any of the above resonates with you.