Preparedness is Peace of Mind: How do we get there in a disaster?
In a previous journal post we talked about mindfulness. Today we want to take that topic a step further and give you practical advice on how to stay sane in these crazy times. We’ll discuss how simple actions can impact your overall health. We’ll show you how to take better care of yourself and become better in the process by staying conscious of what you are doing.
Taking care of yourself not only improves the way you act, think, and react—those positive effects are also passed along to the people around you. Anyone who’s started a workout routine and gotten someone else involved knows the benefit of passing along good habits.
How do we begin? Here are just a few examples of how you can take care of yourself and in the process take care of everyone around you.
What might have begun as a great way to keep in touch with friends and family has turned into a political and cultural battlefield full of stressors we do not need constantly (if at all.) Taking a break from social media for even a day can remove a small amount of stress from your life.
You don’t need to make a big announcement you are leaving. Just remove the app from your phone and go about your day as if you had no presence on that particular platform. The next day, week, or month, depending on how long a break you intend to take, you can put it right back on your phone. At that point you can go about making your comments and getting in touch with family and friends and maybe take the entire thing a little less seriously than you did before.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to completely walk away from social media for a period of time, you can just unfollow people and pages that bother you. To unfollow on Facebook, go to the person’s personal profile and click on “see first.” You’ll see “unfollow” under that. Click it and you will remain friends but will not see their posts unless you go directly to their personal profile again.
Other than the fact that you will not be reacting to their posts any longer, they will not have a clue that you have unfollowed them. Pages work a little differently. You will have to go to that page and “unlike” it.
Other social media platforms also let you disconnect from people and companies you do not want to follow.
Instagram does not allow you to hide people which means you will need to get rid of unwanted profiles completely. Unfollow the person who’s posts you no longer want to see, which if they are annoying or stressing you in some manner, is not a bad thing.
Social media is a great outlet. It can keep us connected to those we love who are far away, but has recently (over the past few years) changed into a channel for grating on each other and post things that are offensive to some people. Since this does not seem to be letting up anytime soon, you will need to take action to make sure you are not part of that problem and not getting stressed over other people’s posts.
Much like social media, the news was once something we watched to see what was going on around us. It helped us keep up with what was happening in our world and community.
This has changed over the course of a few years, and now has become another outlet of stress for some people. Even when the news is good, there are invariably things happening around us that are not so good.
Shutting off the television for a day, week, month, or even longer and skipping a few news shows can be a great way of getting rid of that stress. It can also be a great way to get back into what is going on in your life, focus on what you can do to make your community better, or even take better care of yourself.
And at any rate, according to experts, we are watching far too much television and doing far too little of things like sleeping and exercise nowadays.
So, when you shut off the television, you will need to have a plan to do something that takes better care of you. Take a walk, start a workout routine—anything that puts you into a better place than sitting and watching something that stresses or depresses you.
The average adult requires roughly 2,000 calories a day, but what should those calories consist of?
The food pyramid we grew up with is still a great way to find out if you are getting enough of the things your body requires to function properly. We’d suggest using it and adding the “food plate:” a dietary model that compliments the pyramid by setting the same requirements and adding essentials like water. For some, the plate is easier to understand and follow, but if you’re more comfortable with the pyramid, go to that for reference.
Most of us do not keep track of what we are eating, so we have no clue if we are getting enough green vegetables or protein in our diets. We get hungry and we eat. Nutritionists typically recommend keeping track of everything (and we mean everything) you put into your mouth for a couple of days. You can either write it down or get an app on your phone to track it, then adjust your eating to a healthier lifestyle.
After you have written it all down, take a look at it. Are you getting enough fruits, vegetables, and protein in your diet? What adjustments can you make so you do? Whole grains can be confusing as breads are NOT all created equal. Focus on whole wheat bread and whole grain pastas. These are two great ways to get whole grains. Can you switch your bread to whole wheat to get that benefit? According to the Healthy Eating Plate, half of your meal should be fruits and vegetables. Is there a way for you to accommodate that? Can you have an orange and some carrots for lunch instead of running out to fast food?
It seems daunting, but you would be surprised at how much better you feel when you put quality foods into your body and cut out some of the things (like carbs) that you do not really require much of.
As you begin eating healthier, you will feel more energized and hopefully will want to do the other things outlined in this journal, like taking in a little bit of exercise.
We talked about mindfulness in a previous journal, and it can be an excellent way of keeping yourself grounded, in the moment, and able to concentrate again.
Things are still going to get to you, but becoming aware of how you are feeling and getting back in touch with how that really is affecting you is important. We are not asking you to sit in your office and hum, just take a minute to use all your senses to get back into a nice mindset that you can carry on your day with.
Self-care is important, and we mean daily or weekly important. Finding a way of rewarding yourself is a great way to get into the right mindset.
When you have a minute, think of a few things that do not cost much (or anything) and make a list. You can add onto this list as you remember things, and make sure you do them. Go down that list over the course of the next few weeks, giving yourself little rewards. The reward does not have to be for anything, it can just be for the sake of enjoyment. You deserve that 20-minute nap or being able to read your favorite book for an hour uninterrupted.
If you have the finances to do so, get out and do something you enjoy like taking a drive, grabbing a coffee, or even bicycling around town. You can do these things instead of social media or watching television.
Give yourself a break. You deserve some self-care, we all do. Get your nails done or take a nice long walk, whatever you want to do that makes you feel at peace and gets you away from stress for a while.
Sleep is a big concern for most of us—we do not get enough of it. As adults, we should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. I bet most of us are not even coming close to that.
Sleep deprivation can have devastating affects on your health, and most you may not even notice right away. If you look it up, it can cause things like high blood pressure, heart attack, and even diabetes.
There are many apps you can put on your phone to find out how much sleep you are getting every night and whether it was restful or not. Or you can just track it yourself by noting the time you went to bed and the time you woke up.
Actually falling asleep is at the root of most of our problems and is caused by drinking caffeine too late at night and screen time. It has been shown that our bodies find it difficult to go to sleep after a significant amount of screen time. Shut off your television or phone at least an hour before bed, and do not drink caffeine within three to four hours of going to bed and you may find it easier to fall asleep.
Other things disrupt our lives and make it difficult, like having a newborn or more than one job. Taking turns with the newborn and re-evaluating your job may be in order so you can get the sleep you require. If it is a serious problem for you, check with your doctor about sleep aids or what their recommendation is. Either way, getting a good night’s sleep is beneficial for you.
Whether you begin my taking a 10-minute stroll through town or go all-out every day at the gym, there are so many benefits to getting exercise we would find it hard to list them all in this journal.
When you shut off the television and get off social media, take the opportunity to stroll outside and take in the neighborhood. Then, venture further the next time you go out. There are only rewards to exercise, and the only downfall is you may be sore if you overdo it.
We hope everyone is keeping healthy today, and hope you take some of these tips to heart.