Use a real alarm clock without snooze. If you use your phone as an alarm, you will press snooze and then finally you will check your email. Your brain isn't meant to power on and off at nine-minute intervals, then quickly start uploading information. Take care of your brain by waking up gently with natural light. Mimic your pet by slowly waking up, and then stretching and drinking some water.
Take three deep breaths before you get out of the car anywhere you go. Transitioning from one role or place to another can be times of distress. Taking deep breaths helps slow your thoughts and your heart rate. Please encourage your children to practice this, too.
Do less multi-tasking. If you have time, go for a walk without a podcast. If you're tired just lay down and deeply listen to one relaxing song. Sit and slowly drink your coffee with no distractions. Many people (not me) say that sitting at the sink and doing the dishes can be relaxing. Find your one moment of zen, and do that with precise focus.
Technology can help! There are many meditation apps that can be a great introduction to daily meditation practice. If you are at work and need to de-stress on a lunch break, listen to a mindfulness meditation on YouTube. You can also sign up for insightful daily emails that can prompt a few minutes of calm reflection (for example, the app DailyOM).
Big Acts of Kindness
Take yourself out to see something new. Our brain craves novel things, and we often get stuck in our own bubble.
Spend time at the Mississippi Museum of Art, go to the Mississippi Farmers Market or see a movie.
You can't always have happiness, but you can always give it. Volunteering your time and talents can boost all those involved. Our city has so many nonprofits doing meaningful work, including Stewpot Community Services, Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, and Volunteer Mississippi.
Exercise is the quickest way to boost our feel-good chemicals like dopamine. It also allows us to quiet down our thoughts.
Take a yoga class at Tara Yoga or StudiOm. Go for a hike on the Mayes Lake trail or paddle the reservoir with Capital City Kayaks.
Talk therapy can be a crucial part self-care. Most people who have high stress in their life can benefit from a counselor. Therapy can provide a time and a space to check-in with your self. We can help with goal-setting, processing emotions, problem-solving, and we often teach new coping skills specific to your needs.
Dr. Megan Sones Clapton is a licensed professional counselor and clinical director of Mindful Therapy.