Your Monday self talk mantra: “Every morning is a chance for me to reset my emotional state and start again. I don’t need to carry yesterday’s stress into today. I am getting better at resetting myself every morning as I wake up and start my day.”
During this time, it can be easy to get into a stressed out mindset that carries over into the next day. When you wake up at in the morning, you can make a conscious decision to start fresh by taking a few mindful, slow deep breaths and mentally resetting your brain and body. Ease into each day slowly with this awareness and it will ease you into a state of calm instead of stress.
Start the day mindfully aware of how your thoughts can change your mood. Try to pick thoughts that are easy and gentle, instead of harsh, negative and critical. As you move to get coffee, or brush your teeth, take deep breaths to let all the stress go. If you find your mind gravitating towards your "to-do" lists, or toward stressful future encounters you are picturing, take deep breaths and try to let those thoughts go as quickly as they come in. Remind yourself to pick helpful thoughts, not un-helpful ones, as often as you can remember to do it.
How you start each day matters. If you can start the day right with your thinking, you can change your future mood.
Every morning is a chance to start over with your thinking patterns. Keep reminding yourself of this throughout the week.
"How to Relax" and all of Thich Nhat Hanh's wonderful books are a good read during quarantine. If you are just getting into mindfulness, "How to Relax" is a great place to start, as it's a simple short read that reminds us how to breathe into our emotional states.
I often re-read the book and feel that its calm words help ground me in remembering what I already know about being aware of my breath, my feelings, and letting things go in a simple and easy way.
Your Monday self talk mantra: “Even the smallest change in a positive direction leads me to a different outcome. I can make small changes each week and still move forward. Every time I make a choice to think a thought that helps me, I know I am making progress.”
One of my main beliefs is that if you change one small thing in a positive way each week, you will change the way your life is going overall. I like to break things down into simple easy steps. When I don't know how to do a new task or to change a habit, I tell myself, "I'm figuring it out one step at a time" and this usually brings my own stress level down. The self-talk mantra above is good to remind yourself that you are making progress with each small step you take forward. If you can repeat it to yourself frequently, throughout your day, it might just be the boost you need to get you through your day.
Sometimes we think that if we want to change, we have to do it all in one giant leap. This type of thinking often prevents us from getting started with any of our goals because it feels overwhelming. We think we have to be in the right "mindset" to take it all on all at once, and then we freeze up, and wind up not taking any action forward. A different approach that I use is to break things down into simple, easy steps that you can tackle one at a time, at a consistent rate for you. It can be more helpful to take things at your own pace that you can sustain, where you can practice positive patterns consistently, rather than to try to do too much and overwhelm yourself. Small positive changes add up, too. Take things at a pace that you can sustain consistently and trust that progress will happen over time.
When people think of having healthy boundaries, they might think of physical or emotional ones. Time boundaries are often worth considering and looking at, too.
A common problem people seem to be having in quarantine is establishing healthy time boundaries within this surreal situation. Many people find themselves working harder and longer hours from home, without taking actual lunch breaks each day. Many are answering work emails on the weekend now, because they may feel there is an unstated expectation that no one has any other plans now.
It’s important to ask yourself, “What is reasonable in terms of time requests?” Is it reasonable to suddenly not require a lunch break or to work after hours a lot more regularly? Sometimes, it just might depend on the specific situation, such as, it’s a rare request because of a deadline. Other times, it’s possible that you might need to establish clearer time boundaries with yourself and others, and to be a little easier on yourself in this situation. Mental recharge time is important, too, for your own body, mood and energy level.
Think about your time boundaries and expectations lately. Do you see any areas that might need shifting to more positive, healthy patterns?