There has never been a time greater than now to prioritise some self-care and take a few practical steps to refresh and reset. So, pause and think about how are you looking after yourself at this time.
We’re starting to hear conversations about ‘getting back to normal’ and ‘returning to the old ways’. This is a normal response to change. Our brains want the certainty of returning to what we know, but we need to reset our expectations. Some things will be different, some will stay the same. One thing that we can guarantee is that we will all be adjusting to the new ‘normal’ and this itself will keep evolving.
Are you noticing yourself getting more distracted? Working from home, you might be aware that you are making more trips to the fridge, spending more time on social media or staring aimlessly out of the window. You are not alone! Our brains are distraction finding machines and that’s one of the reasons why sitting for hours in a zoom call can be so hard – we are trying to focus our attention and even more importantly maybe, appear as if we are focusing intently. It also means we are working against our biology as our brains are designed to wander (the mind wandering part of our brain is called the default network).
It has been very moving to see people beginning to go back to some parts of the lives they once knew and sharing their excitement with us via our screens. One little boy in Italy after weeks of lockdown couldn’t contain his happiness at going back to the park to feed the ducks. Simple pleasures we took for granted are now being savoured as we show gratitude for the return of what we had lost.
Were the writers of the song ‘Smile’ right when they invited us to ‘smile though your heart is aching’? From a science-based perspective the jury is still debating whether faking a smile when you’re feeling down actually changes your mood, but what science is agreed upon is that, according to the poem below, smiling IS infectious, which is rather appropriate for these times! And we have our brains to thank for that.
Our need for connection is being challenged more than ever before – it is critical for us human beings to stay connected with and belong to, our tribe.
When we see a social media post starting with ‘Good morning inmates’ we know that we are not alone in our sense of frustration with the way our daily lives have changed so dramatically in a few short weeks. Rationally we accept that the changes are needed to stop the spread of this virus, but emotionally we are being triggered by a lack of certainty (‘the rules keep changing, when will the restrictions end?’) and a growing sense of loss of control and autonomy.
Our willpower is being tested to the hilt whilst we’re in ‘lockdown’ resulting in the temptation to raid the fridge and wine cellar (if you have one!) a little too often. Learn how to change habits and eat for resilience in this blog.
One of the critical skills of resilience lies between our ears, learning how to calm our instinctual emotional reactions and turn them into considered responses.
As Australia does what it needs to do to contain this pandemic, we are being told to self-isolate. A friend posted yesterday that self-isolating does NOT mean self-isolation and she couldn’t have said a truer word.
An understanding as to how our brains are behaving when we rush to the supermarket to buy toilet rolls when the virus we are fighting doesn’t give you diarrhoea!
Welcome to the final part of our series on self-care. If you missed part 1 on Quality Sleep, click here and if you missed part 2 on Brain-friendly Nutrition, click here. Self-care forms an intrinsic part of self-leadership, resilience and ultimately, high performance. Just like the oxygen mask analogy on a plane, we can’t look after others until we look […]
Welcome to part 2 of 3 in our series on self-care. If you missed part 1 on quality sleep, it’s just below this blog. This blog focuses on brain-friendly nutrition and eating habits. Self-care forms an intrinsic part of self-leadership, resilience and ultimately, high performance. Just like the oxygen mask analogy on a plane, we can’t […]
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” Dr. Seuss We know that Christmas can be a chaotic and sometimes stressful time of year and one of nature’s best antidotes to bring us back to balance is the ability to look for and find laughter, humour and joy. 1 Fact – Laughter […]
I was introduced to Mark last year via my partnership with the About My Brain Institute and when he sent his most recent blog it really resonated with me so I asked Mark if I could post this as our first guest blog. Mark’s website is http://uk.thoughtleadersglobal.com/ – enjoy. I arrived at the end of 2015 on […]
Understanding your Brain on Stress How many of us are worrying about organising Christmas, stressing about finishing off our workloads to allow us to have a restful break,and at the same time, fretting about the state of the world and anticipating all manner of future concerns? Contrast this with Santa’s reindeer who are probably busily […]
When our core needs are not met we go into aversive or negative stress, when we go into stress we cannot think clearly, make rational decisions, deal well with setbacks, let alone thrive. Our mental health and that of those closest to us, suffers.
Gratitude underpins resilience and our life satisfaction levels (happiness). When we are faced with setbacks and disappointments, a focus on what’s going well in other parts of our work and life and being able to connect with a feeling of being thankful for that, helps get us back on an upward trajectory.
Much research has been done on happiness and meaning at work by Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North California. She and her team discovered that whilst people reported high levels of happiness at work, fewer reported high levels of meaningfulness yet this is where sustainable improvement and success can be found for productivity, engagement and performance. Employees with meaning report 1.7 times greater job satisfaction and 1.4 times more engagement than those without a sense of meaning.
When we arrived in the UK in March, the first thing we noticed was that the sky wasn’t dark at night. In Australia it was pitch black where we lived and we never really thought much of it….until we got here and couldn’t sleep. Just before leaving Australia I was fortunate enough to go on […]