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Reduce the Impact of Stress with Micro-resilience

What’s micro-resilience and how can it help you minimize the impacts of daily stress?

Let’s think of micro-resilience this way: What’s the normal way you live your life?

  • Do you power through your emotions, fatigue and stress?
  • Do you end up collapsing at the end of the day?
  • Do you believe in pushing yourself to prove yourself and validate your self-worth?

The pushing through and feeling completely “spent” can lead to us feeling like it’s too big a hole to climb out of. We feel completely deflated and don’t know how to come back. Thus, we remain stuck in this vicious cycle.

Inevitably, our bodies start screaming for quick ways to feel better thus we reach for the glass of wine or comfort food despite not being truly hungry or thirsty. This is a very normal and natural response from the body. It wants to find the quickest way to feel better but these quick fixes don’t help our resilience, they’re just mental bandaids.

But what if we never reached this point and, instead, built in ways to micro-recover throughout our everyday lives?

All of this pushing through is super stressful to the body. It takes a long time for our bodies to bounce back from this prolonged, chronic, low-level stress. If we practice self-care, we may be focusing only on the bigger things (like weeklong tropical vacations, sleeping late on Saturdays, etc.) to recover and bounce back or give back to our minds and bodies.

Micro-resilience is about recharging your batteries while living your daily life.

It’s about weaving small recoveries into your daily routine. Instead of pushing through and needing to take serious downtime to recover, I’m encouraging you to incorporate small moments of relaxation in your daily life so you’re not so depleted by the end of your day and week.

7 Micro-resilience tips to break the chronic stress cycle:

  • Taking a 5-10 minute walk outside during your afternoon break to clear your head (and leave your phone behind)
  • Closing your office door to meditate for 5 minutes
  • Diffusing calming essential oils like lavender at your home or office
  • Eating lunch without distraction. Yes, do nothing but eat. Instead of answering emails while eating, use the time to relax and clear your mind. Did you know that “multi-tasking can effectively lower your IQ and make things take up to four times as long to accomplish?” (Source)
  • Standing in Amy Cuddy’s power pose. Harvard found that “…whether you are sitting or standing – opening up your arms, spreading your feet apart, and extending your posture, reduces cortisol (the fear hormone) and increases testosterone (giving more confidence to take risks). Once your body chemistry shifts from fearfulness to confidence, you can be more resilient about how you respond to what is happening around you.” (Source)
  • Create an emotional first-aid kit that you can tap into when you need a boost. Collect items – mementos, pictures, or pieces of music – that can trigger positive feelings and help you conquer negativity. Personally, I have notes of appreciation from clients posted and a picture of my dog that says “Make Time For Play” in my office. Taking a moment to “soak them in” can give me the boost I need to change my mindset. (Source)
  • Stop skipping meals or pushing past your typical meal times. To be and feel our best, our bodies thrive when they receive steady nourishment (energy) throughout our day.

The options are endless and very personal to each individual. The book The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter Ph.D. has lots of great ideas and information about building micro-resilience. Once you find a few easy recovery methods that work for you, you’ll notice what a difference it makes in your day.

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. Jim’s scientific research with elite tennis players and how micro-resilience habits during a long tennis match were able to bring their heart rates down to an ideal more quickly and perform overall better. We can apply this same habit to our everyday lives.

Let’s recharge our batteries along the way so we can be and feel our best, all day, every day.

  • Tanya

Living Like Your Hair is on Fire

Do you live your life like it’s an emergency?

I was guilty of that, too!

I had an ah-ha moment at the grocery store one day while I was rushing around like a madwoman. Out of nowhere, I had this moment of clarity and said to myself, “What am I doing!?” I couldn’t believe the tizzy I was in! I thought, “If I just slowed down and it took me one extra minute to get from the parking lot to the produce section, what effect could that have on my overall well-being?”

You see I had been stuck in this chronic cycle of “there’s not enough time”. From the moment I woke up in the morning to the time I finally calmed down and got to bed, I never stopped living life like my hair was one fire. And I could feel the nasty effects throughout my entire body.

We need downtime to let our bodies and minds rest and heal from all the stress they experience daily. Low-level stress accumulates in your body over time and compounds to become dis-ease.

Rx for Slowing Down

So, what can we do about it? How do we start to slow down and create that sense of “presence” our bodies and minds need? First, take a moment to reflect: What’s your personal rhythm? Are you constantly stressed due to a lack of vitamin T (time)? If yes, keep reading.

The ultimate game-changer for me was learning to set my mornings up for success.

Before you get ready for your day, try taking 5 minutes to yourself. During that short period of time, do some deep breathing, listen to gentle music, or repeat an uplifting mantra. Any of these simple activities will help set the tone of your day.

Are you thinking, “But I don’t have time in the morning for that?“ I hear ya. I felt the same way. But then I realized that my poor relationship with time was setting me up for stress each and every day.

What helped me conquer my morning freakout was going to bed and getting up an extra 15 minutes early.

Just 15 minutes. That’s not much right? But it can make a huge impact on your day. By getting up 15 minutes early, I was able to have some vital me-time that helped me feel grounded and centered, instead of rushed and stressed out.

Practice this simple strategy first. Once it becomes established, part of your daily routine just take a mid-day mini break to shift your cycle of stress.

My 3 Tips for Mini Stress Relief Breaks:

  • If you sit at a computer day-in, day-out, try setting a timer every 30 minutes. When that timer goes off, take a few minutes to stand up, stretch and enjoy a little break.
  • Or, better yet, lock your office door and pop on a 3 minute Body Groove video or something like it. Sure, it might sounds a bit silly, but dancing around for just a few minutes is actually really fun and can make a huge difference on your stress levels! Seriously, even if you just watch this video, you’ll be sure to smile and laugh and probably think I’m nuts – haha!
  • But if that’s not your style, take a walk, get outside, and breathe in some fresh air.

No matter which way you do it, taking breaks and having some “me-time” can help stop chronic stress in its tracks, and help ward off future disease.

  • Tanya