Survival Mode. It seems to no longer be a “mode”, but more a way of life for most of us these days. We are stretched too thin – running from one event to the next while juggling 10 things at the same time. Throw kids into the mix and surviving the day can feel like an accomplishment.
So, what are you doing to manage the stress? It's important to take a look at your habits and tendencies to understand how you are REALLY coping with life.
Do you run to the gym to burn off that stress or run to the pantry for chips or a bottle of wine?
Do you talk with a friend or spouse about the craziness or do you store it all up and try to “Keep Calm and Carry On” – until you can’t – then completely lose it on your spouse or kids?
Emotions, like stress, worry, and anxiety, don't stay buried long. They manifest themselves in our behavior. Without examining these behaviors, say why you yelled at your kid or just found yourself staring at the bottom of a tub of ice cream, we blow through our days completely unaware of why we act the way we do. It takes mindfulness to be able to step back and realize that you got upset this morning because your jeans you haven't worn a few months are now too tight and that made you feel shame, which triggered that snarky comment to your husband later (not that this has ever happened to me...).
When we are barely getting by - simply surviving - mindfulness is hard, but not impossible. Here are four behaviors you can work on that science has proven can help with both your mental and physical health.
1. Sleep better
Research is super clear here. Sleep affects our mood, weight, and overall health. Most of us need 7-8 hour a night. Less than 7 is generally too little and more than 10 is too much. And, sleeping in on the weekends really doesn’t make up for what you miss during the week.
Having trouble going to sleep? You’ve probably told your kids this rule, but disobeyed it yourself: no screens an hour before bed. Also, avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol several hours before bed. For me, I can’t have caffeine after about 4 PM or I have a hard time falling asleep.