Louise B. Miller Ph.D.

The Mind Body Connection

How to Unplug So That You Can Recharge

Self-care is more important now than ever before.

Posted Aug 24, 2020

Source: Wokandapix/Pixabay

Life can be stressful and challenging at the best of times, but now the country has reached a boiling point. Emotions are out of control. Fear, frustration, hurt, and anger are a normal part of our lives right now. The pandemic has turned our lives upside down. We are having to monitor ourselves and to use sanitizers, masks, and social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading. Businesses have been forced to close. Jobs have been lost, and we don’t know what the future holds. There are no real answers. Adding to that is the civil unrest going on around the country. Our lives have changed dramatically in ways that we could never have imagined. We are living in a time of uncertainty.

Practicing self-care is critical. It’s essential to your overall health and well-being. Our electrical devices need to be recharged frequently; however, we seldom take time to recharge ourselves, which often results in burnout, a compromised immune system, and illness. Make it a point to slow down and take time for yourself. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Exercise is beneficial for you, both physically and mentally. Listen to music or watch a movie to take your mind off things for a while. Read a good book or listen to one on audio. Take a break and a step back from the reality of what is going on. Engage in one of your favorite hobbies. Take a hot bath with lavender or Epsom salts, cook, or garden.

Limit your exposure to the news. Take a break from watching, listening, or reading the news. Put down your phone. You can quickly become addicted to what is going on, overwhelmed, and upset, which will only add to your anger. It’s one thing to be informed; it’s another to spend all day watching and listening to the news. Limit your time on social media as well. Unplug. There is only so much that is in your control. Give your mind a rest.

Make sure to get enough sleep. Sleep provides the brain and body with the opportunity to repair, restore, and rejuvenate. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is recommended for optimal functioning. If you are having problems sleeping, try taking a hot bath before bedtime, listening to some relaxing music, and making sure the room is cool and dark.

Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Selfcare is not about binging on junk food. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to anger. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.

Self-care is also about being mindful of triggers. You can’t always control what happens to you, but what you can control how you react to it. Stay in the present; don’t worry about the future and things that are beyond your control that could make you angry. Noticing the surrounding sights and sounds will help you to stay present and in the moment. Take your emotional temperature throughout the day; monitor your feelings. If you feel yourself becoming frustrated or angry, try some grounding techniques such as taking slow, deep breaths, or paying specific attention to the sights and sounds around you.

Meditation quiets the mind and reduces stress. Meditation is an extension of deep breathing in which your attention becomes focused and your mind becomes quiet. It can be done inside or outside, anywhere you can relax without interruption or distraction. The purpose of meditation is to stay in the moment, to stay in the present, which will bring your nervous system back into balance and produce a feeling of calmness.