By Nikia Webster
I swore to myself that I would start the year with a renewed sense of energy and a newfound list of ideas, only to find myself entering the year with a few more unfinished items on my to-do list and even less motivation. Even the nature of this article was meant to be different, but alas, I'm exhausted, so instead, I'd like to take a moment and talk to those who keep grinding even when they're completely unaware of what's going on around them.
As we settle into 2021, understandably, many aren’t feeling rather enthused. 2020 was as a year engulfed in loss, civil unrest, and the beginning of an ongoing global pandemic crowned by a silent ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Despite the aforementioned series of events many of you may still be thinking, “I hear what you’re saying, but there’s work to do. People are counting on me. My job needs me. Not to mention my children require my immediate attention and don’t get me started on the deadlines that I set for myself in 2017.”
Let’s discuss taking a break and deconstructing the false senses of urgency that we sometimes put on ourselves as a result of being our own worst critic. Before we go too far, let's take a moment. Can I be honest? Like. Real honest. Get this. The only person who expects you to be “perfect” is you. No one else is watching as closely as you may think. You’ve crafted a world in which you’re center stage, be it Wonder Woman or Superman, you’re under the impression the world needs you to survive.
If you don’t pick your daughter up from choir practice at 3:30 on the dot you subconsciously fear that she’ll privately resent you until she has a child of her own to accidentally forget about. If you neglect your spouse for a short time due to increased levels of stress you may begin telling yourself, “They’re going to leave me.” You worry that taking a day off from work will result in your immediate termination despite being one of your company’s highest-performing associates.
Trust me, while I fully understand your plight, I have to ask. At
what cost? Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) increased stress levels during an infectious disease outbreak can
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Worsening of chronic and/or mental health conditions
- Concern and worry about your well-being and the well-being of those around you
The CDC also reports increased use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco as many of us are experiencing feelings of isolation, depression, and other emotional weights in addition to financial stressors. I fully believe 2021 can still be your year, but 1st let’s rest. Here are 3 ways we can reduce stress while still having to balance a full schedule:
It’s Okay To Give The News Cycle A Break
If you feel like the news is stressing you out, it is and you aren’t the only one. How news is presented often triggers a release of dopamine, the neurochemical responsible for labeling experiences as meaningful, making us want to seek them over and over again. When you distance yourself from news and social media by taking time to participate in outside activities you’re automatically creating an armor against the barrage of negativity that can be produced by information overload. Additionally, seeking accurate and up to date information from a trusted source can help cut down feelings of anxiousness.
Consider Adopting Mindfulness Practices/Healthier Habits
This isn’t a call to order every spiritual book and yoga accessory you can find listed on Amazon. I am suggesting, however;
- Eating regular, healthy meals
- Practicing deep breathing exercises/Meditation
- Practicing daily affirmations
- Becoming more mindful in the present
- A hot bath, a long walk, or similar activity
Identify Your Resources
It’s important to check in with yourself as frequently as possible. Now, more than ever, self-care should be at the forefront of your mind. If your mental health worsens and you’re considering self-harm contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.
If you’d like to gain access to a large network of licensed counselors who can help with a range of issues including, but not limited to, anxiety, depression, and trauma visit BetterHelp | Professional Counseling. With Better help, “You get the same professionalism and quality you would expect from an in-office, but with the ability to communicate when and how you want.”
You can learn more about additional resources or uncover local avenues for treatment by visiting Mental MentalHealth.gov
Taking care of your mental health may seem tedious or insignificant, but the act is an essential part of overall health and well-being. Our mental health directly affects how we move, communicate, and handle crises. Do yourself a favor and spend a little time meeting yourself halfway. I promise you won't regret it, here's to overcoming every challenge while truly expecting better, doing better, and believing better as we continue to make progress.
Meet Nikia Webster: Certified Life-Coach, Podcaster, and all-around badass human. Nikia hosts The Expect Effect Podcast that streams on all podcast platforms. At The Expect Effect, self-care is their primary focus. They're committed to teaching others the importance of self-love encompassed with recommended best practices to ensure personal success.