April 15, 2020
Learning to Cope – Personally and Professionally – In Stressful Times
By Daniel Palacios, LIVE KINETICALLY
Let’s face it folks, tensions are high. Sudden change is hardly ever expected or pleasant at first. Re-framing our mindset to see the positives, to find opportunities for improvement and progress during a time where it feels like the entire world is at a standstill feels like an impossible task.
Between homeschooling the kids, handling financial hardships and the general dread of impending doom, it’s easy to get mentally backed into the corner and throw in the towel.
But let’s not forget the night is darkest before the dawn. We need to remember how far humanity has come. There will eventually be an end in sight and even though we can’t guarantee that the world will be the same on the other side of all of this, we can begin taking steps to stop, focus and mentally prepare to adapt and evolve with the changing tides.
Let’s take a look at what tools we have available to mentally and physically deload our systemic stress to bring our bodies and minds back to a place where healing and growth can eventually begin again.
Spoiler alert, be prepared to get physical. Fact: Physical exercise has major psychological and emotional benefits.
Trim the Fat
No, I’m not talking about body composition. In fact, I would say this is literally the time to prioritize an exercise regimen that goes back to the basics! Goals are important. So let’s frame this from the perspective of survival and performing well enough to not only survive, but thrive.
Slow down and realize that a lot of stress is flying around right now. This stress finds its way into your brain, which tells your internal organs to release all manner of stress hormones. These hormones, like adrenaline, dopamine and cortisol, are good for your survival. Seeing as most of our modern lives do not involve very many fight or flight scenarios, however, we learn to adapt to all of our environmental, social and societal stressors by, well, just dealing.
The problem with this constant exposure to stress hormones is that we get really bad at clearing it all out. We have to focus on prioritizing and really identify what matters most, and ultimately what activities will actually benefit us. My guess is that it’s not scrolling TikToks for three hours a day.
Intellectually prioritizing activities as necessities, responsibilities and desires can be an effective coping mechanism for identifying all the junk we involve ourselves with that are simply a waste of time while honing in on those that will actually benefit and improve our lives. Putting into practice is where things get tricky.
We have to really ask ourselves questions in order to get answers — maybe not answers we like, but answers nonetheless. Questions like:
- “What aspects of this situation do I really have control over?”
- “Of the aspects that I can control, have I exhausted all of the potential options that may improve the situation?”
- “What could I being doing differently to improve how I’m executing my plans and how I feel about my approach toward achieving my goal?”
When we’re in the thick of struggle, or feel trapped, it’s easy to get caught up and fail to see all of the options that are really available. In fact, creating space from the situation and stepping away from a frustrating activity or situation can clear your head well enough to see it from a different angle.
Every day I’m hearing reports from clients talking about how trapped – physically, emotionally and psychologically they feel – stiff, tight and incapable of moving forward. The spiral begins, physically and emotionally crippled by fear the situation doesn’t clear up.
Do Something for Yourself
What options are available really? Get up, take a walk, breathe deep, increase your heart rate, feel the sun shining on your skin, stretch, dance, sing, meditate, pray — but for the love of all that’s good and decent in the world turn off the social media and news and do something for yourself.
All of those things we’ve been putting off and downright ignoring are suddenly the very activities we should be partaking in. Learn a new skill. Knitting is a skill. Start that. Learn to breathe. It really is a skill. Not only that, learn to hold your breath. That’s a skill too. A beneficial one at that.
Move. Daily. Remember, this is no time to be worrying about achieving our aesthetics goals. Keeping in mind that moving daily and keeping to nutritional habits that work for us individually to boost our immune system, strengthen our resolve and develop balance is the ultimate goal — looking better could be a surprising side effect when you’re becoming more mentally healthy.
The sheer act of removing the anxiety, shame and fear about not crushing it in the gym can be liberating and improve the end, long-term result.
This, of course, takes practice, but making a daily habit of moving and improving your approach to what works for you and engages you in a healthy balanced lifestyle that suits you, can little by little create life-changing results.
With all of the obstacles and trials of daily life it can seem so much harder when it feels like life just piled another mountain in front of you. Focus on one problem or task at a time and all of the options that lay before you, then pick the simplest, most actionable, next right thing you can do. Keep it basic, keep it simple, do not over complicate the process.
Trim the fat from your life and habits, and always, Live Kinetically.
About the author
Dan Palacios is the owner and founder of Kinetic Training. He can be reached at 954-504-2147; firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @livekinetically