As The Days Grow Darker, Light Up Your Soul!
by Deborah Goldstein
3 Ways to Support Your Emotional Resilience
I’d been bracing for October since mid-summer when it became apparent that COVID would be sticking around for another winter. In that glumness I gained perspective by climbing to the balcony to get a look at my personal October challenges. The dangerous trend of the pandemic combined with increased political noise simply made me sad for humankind. It doesn’t matter where you stand politically; most of us are being emotionally affected by the toxicity of this era.
Emotional Resilience was in order and yet, even having braced myself, it hasn’t been enough. I’m needing more sleep. I’m not my usual enthusiastic and motivated self. I’ve been experiencing brain fog, even forgetting about a regular phone call with one of my closest colleagues, despite it being MARKED ON MY CALENDAR!
As usual, I quickly discovered that I’m not alone. After last week’s DRIVEN emailing, a colleague thanked me for these shares. He confessed that, “I have made some mistakes over the past few weeks that it’s really as if I am in a fog.” Three of five in a bi-weekly group call shared their need for more sleep, and seemingly, there are too many of us awake in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, taking a few hours to fall back asleep. Does this resonate with you, too?
Thankfully, I’ve been forgiving of myself. One of the tenets of Kristen Neff’s definition of self-compassion is a feeling of connectedness to others. In other words, I’m NOT the only one who’s not at my best right now. I can feel my brain’s balance shift from “scared that I’m going crazy” to connected to others who are managing during these strange times.
I fed some guidance to readers and they fed me with appreciation— multiple symbiotic relationships! Likewise, our energy sources can act as supportive structure for each other. Just as the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, we are energetically integrated. Emotional energy is what’s at risk right now, and you picked up 3 weeks’ worth of tips in October to build your emotional resilience. But just as I had to strengthen the muscles around my knee after surgery for a torn meniscus, we are all capable of strengthening the other three sources of energy to support the emotional energy we’ll all need for at least the next 10 months.
You get to intentionally employ practices to direct your emotions toward hopeful and grateful vs succumbing to hopelessness and helplessness. It is possible! I witnessed one of my clients accomplish this in real time. At the start our coaching sessions, his despair nearly broke my heart. Thankfully by addressing his real challenges, he was able to move toward “powerful” by the end of that pivotal session!
In an effort to support you as I was able to support him, this month I’ll tease out how the other 3 energy tanks can support the emotional tank.
Physical Energy: When I’m not feeling physically well, nothing else aligns. I experienced this recently with a BAD toothache, accompanied by a headache. And once again, I discovered I wasn’t alone. There’s indeed been an uptick in cracked teeth from grinding due to stress. Dentists throughout the US say they’ve seen a surge in bruxism since the pandemic started, resulting in fractures, loss of teeth, and aching jaws. The week I heard this, I woke up one morning with swollen gums and painful teeth– plural! It was as if one tooth was hurt, and the others were having sympathy pains. Furthermore, when I’m not physically comfortable, I’m irritable, impatient, defensive and frustrated.
So, ensuring our physical energy is a great first step when entering into the dreary days of winter. How is your fitness routine? Your sleep? What about your eating habits? Now’s the time to consider how you want to feel when Daylight Saving Time begins again. Jot down some ideas on implanting small practices TODAY to set you up for celebrating your imagined success in March. Once you’ve forecasted your springtime self, consider what you’ll need to achieve that future self. What is the first baby step on that journey? Mark it in your calendar as the MOST important thing you can do for yourself tomorrow. And you’re off!
And a little secret: If you want a bit of guidance, receive next week’s DRIVEN emailing.
Mental Energy: Ironically, one of DRIVEN’s greatest strengths is supporting motivated professionals with their mental energy. Since sustainability is the definition of a healthy human, it makes sense that your mental energy management will benefit your emotional energy, too. An important fact to keep in mind about mental energy is that it drains quickly when you multi-task (think email), as well as when you’re ruminating in the past or worrying about the future (anxiety). So, a key to managing your mental energy is to stay in the present.
Spiritual Energy: This is the energy that makes life worth living. It’s that feeling of awe, connection, heart burst and gratitude. Unfortunately, spiritual energy is most literally in threat right now. With perpetual worry and a constant blanket of cortisol, it’s difficult to see through the brain fog to the most basic gratitude for life itself. As my friend Phyllis White Thorne says, she’s going to actively “catch herself feeling good”. Double points if you’re also making someone else’s spiritual energy soar in the process!
By focusing YOUR attention on filling your energy tanks, you’ll find joy each day and slowly, greater hope for the days to come. In the meantime, if you’d like to receive our weekly tips on how to weather the winter months, sign up here.
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