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Leena S. Guptha DO
Leena S. Guptha DO

Self-Care and Peak Performance During Challenging Times

Suggestions to support your peak performance during politically charged times.

We all want to achieve peak performance in every aspect of our lives, but it can be difficult to do this in the face of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges. Many of us struggle to succeed in the face of unseen challenges, which may be why the self-improvement industry in the U.S. is now a $9.9 billion industry. Beyond the self-improvement industry, health coaching has emerged as a $6 billion dollar market. This shows that the promise of achieving optimal health and peak performance while supporting yourself reaching personal and professional goals–like losing weight, improving athletic prowess, boosting self-esteem and self-confidence– is too strong for many Americans to ignore.

There is a pervasive myth that peak performance is a term that only pertains to athletes and this fallacy can prevent people from applying the concept to their own life. In actuality, peak performance means becoming your optimal self in all aspects of life and touches on things such as interpersonal relationships, physical performance, work productivity, and nutrition.

The Wheel of Health

The Duke Integrative Medicine coaching based on The Wheel of Health (shown below) is a wonderful point-of-reference for understanding how your environment and the various aspects of your life can impact your consciousness. Around the wheel is your environment, including professional care such as therapy, and health or life coaching. Within the wheel are the different aspects of your life to be aware of, such as nutrition and relationships, and in the innermost circle is mindful awareness. The Wheel of Health demonstrates how through mindful awareness of the conscious and subconscious mind you can begin working to achieve a more balanced, productive mental state. An integrative health coach can assist in bringing your deepest dreams into reality and overcome the negativity of the daily grind while empowering you to reach peak performance despite charged or challenging times.

Duke Integrative Medicine
The Wheel of Health
Source: Duke Integrative Medicine

We are living in a time of great political and social upheaval, when all of the negative messages being volleyed between different groups can create havoc within an individual’s conscious and subconscious mental state. “The conscious mind,” Psychology Today reports, “contains all the thoughts, feelings, cognitions, and memories we acknowledge, while the unconscious consists of deeper mental processes that are not readily available to the conscious mind.” Today’s environment of non-stop political talk and at times unpleasant banter on social media can infiltrate your consciousness and make it difficult to focus on daily tasks, like studying or working, spending time with family and friends, or maintaining your physical health.


The external environment can create barriers and obstacles to accessing the subconscious mind, as well as making it more difficult to turn off your mind and actively benefit from self-care strategies. However, in times like these, it’s more important than ever to set aside time to cultivate mindful awareness and to take care of yourself. Consider the following self-care tips to improve performance and make difficult times feel more manageable:

  1. Consult an integrative health coach – Self-improvement coaching is not limited to physical fitness. Coaches have a wide range of specialties, from decluttering your space to executive business coaching, boosting your confidence and supporting you to achieve life goals.
  2. Join a regular meditation/yoga class – Mindfulness practices change the brain and can help with psychiatric ailments such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as helping with quality sleep, self-concept, self-esteem and achieving mind body spirit balance.
  3. Avoid late-night news – If the late-night news is the last thing on your mind at night your subconscious mind will continue to ponder it and prevent you from having deep sound sleep and waking naturally refreshed. Instead, consider listening to mindful alpha wave music or a nighttime meditation.
  4. Confide in friends or family – The people around you are dealing with the same external stimuli on a day-to-day basis. As a result, they might be experiencing feelings similar to yours and, when appropriate, discussing your feelings with a peer or family member can lessen both of your burdens.

Remember that your ability to tend to your own mental health and to ask for assistance when needed can be a great asset – helping you to improve your performance and deal with the hurdles that your external environment might throw your way. Never hesitate to use the available resources at your disposal to ensure your mind, body and spirit continue functioning optimally.

Learn more from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

About the Author
Leena S. Guptha DO

Leena S. Guptha, DO, is the Academic Dean of Online Education at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

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