Guest blog by entrepreneur & author Sandy Abrams
Sandy Abrams is an entrepreneur and author of Breathe to Succeed: Increase Workplace Productivity, Creativity, and Clarity through the Power of Mindfulness. In her guest blog, she shares with us how tech burnout is impacting our physical, mental & emotional health and 10 ways we can improve self-care in an always-on world.
What are the side-effects of 24/7 tech?
Living at the pace of technology requires Herculean strength (body and mind) that humans are not wired for today. It’s been an exciting ride since smartphones/devices came into our lives but we’ve hit a tipping point. We need to address the consequences of fully embracing tech at our fingertips 24/7. Constantly connected life comes with a heavy dose of side effects; mental fatigue, depression, loneliness, anxiety, FOMO. We need to mitigate the damage and restructure our relationship to tech if we want to stay healthy, mindful and well.
What is “workplace burn-out” and how do you know if you have it?
In May 2019, the World Health Organization declared burnout as an occupational phenomenon, “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” Any of that sound familiar?! Most likely, yes.
Technology has changed the way we live; so, we need to adjust self -care accordingly, using tools that are fast and effective in delivering digital detox. Gone are the days where self-care only meant a day at the spa. We have to swap the grand gestures for more accessible daily practices that allow us to take back control from our devices throughout the day.
How can mindful breath break the cycle of stress?
With your mind in a state of chaos and your breath stuck on autopilot (shallow-breath mode), you’re actually living in a low-grade state of chronic stress. The easiest way to start to take back control from our devices is to become self-aware of your digital habits and then begin to interrupt the patterns with deep, mindful breaths. Breath is the bridge to connecting your mind and body. It’s science. When you inhale through your nose, you connect to the part of your brain that regulates emotion. You can stop, reset your thoughts and energy and decide where your attention goes. It’s a gift that we’re able to choose our thoughts and energy at any moment. This is a superpower that most people aren’t using because they’re under the spell of technology.
In order to be more self-aware of your thoughts, energy and digital habits, set reminders for self-care check-ins. This is a quick scan of your mind and body to see how you’re feeling and adjust what you need with mindful breath.
It all about finding hacks for self-care, wellness and mindfulness in the moment throughout the day. Your body begins to crave these moments and they become second nature. Before you know it, you’ve gained back control of your digital life and you can enjoy living in balance.
10 Tips for Improving Mindfulness, Wellness & Self-Care
Resting your mind and body is critical for your health. Here are 10 ideas for making mindfulness, wellness and self-care a simple and accessible part of even your busiest days.
1. Close your eyes for 30 seconds a few times a day.
Most people rarely close their eyes between waking up and going back to sleep, yet the simple act of closing your eyes brings on an immediate feeling of rest for both your mind and your eyes. It also sets an important boundary between external overstimulation to internal sanctuary. It’s a very healing, nourishing thing to do a few times a day even for just 30 seconds.
2. Reset your mindset by choosing to be positive.
Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra have already proven this concept and it’s based on science. Your mindset matters. Positive thoughts bring positive output and outcomes. Plus, it feels good and can shape your daily energy. Choose to be positive.
3. Take three deep breaths whenever you feel stressed.
Mindful breath transforms energy in as little as three deep breaths! It’s a powerful ritual to add into your day as often as possible. It brings in fresh oxygen, helps detox your mind and body, lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and clears stagnant energy. Be sure to inhale through your nose. Three deep breaths have been my favorite go-to breath technique for thirty years—it always delivers!
4. Go outside. Breathe. Destress. Repeat.
Doctors now prescribe time outdoors as RX for stress relief. Connect with the empowering, stress-relieving effects of nature. Spend a few minutes every day basking in the glory of fresh air and abundant scenery—mountains, blue sky, beach, water, grass, the sun & moon, flowers, plants, trees …
5. Outsmart stress with your favorite scents.
This is an extension of basking in nature since it provides the best aromatherapy! You can also carry your favorite scents with you for moments of uplifting indulgence. Scents trigger emotions, find the ones that make you smile! Be sure they’re all natural with no chemicals. You can use oils on your pulse points or get them in spray form and mist them around your home, office or car. Aromatherapy can change your energy at any moment and mentally transport you to a calmer, happier place.
6. Schedule breaks to unplug.
Whether you break for lunch, a stroll or a coffee run, use that time to unplug. Put your phone away. I admit it feels a bit weird at first to not be holding your phone while in line! Instead, try taking a few deep breaths and possibly talk to a stranger, people watching (so entertaining) or simply enjoy the time disconnection from devices.
7. Talk instead of text.
Whether it’s with a loved one, friend or colleague, sometimes nothing can replace connecting face to face. Again, do this while unplugged. At first, it may feel like you lost your security blankie, but it gets easier! Give someone your full attention. Connect, engage and show interest in those around you. We’re wired for human connection!
8. Enjoy the simple pleasure of a nourishing beverage.
The kitchen can be like a meditation studio. It’s therapeutic to have nourishing ingredients on hand and then to enjoy the process of making a turmeric nut milk latte, green juice or ginger-lemon tonic. I know … it sounds so L.A.! Functional beverages are all the rage now and they really fuel your brain and nourish your body. Healthy beverages & breath are a grounding, calming and empowering experience.
9. LOL. Laughter is healing breath.
Make laughing out loud something you do even when you’re not at a comedy club. Try it in your car! Your body will believe whatever you tell it; so if you laugh, your body will produce the ‘feel good’ chemicals even while you’re sitting in rush hour traffic! Then, when you arrive at your destination, you’ll feel elated. Laughter is seriously healthy.
10. Give Back and pay it forward.
Helping others not only puts things into perspective, but it’s also a powerful way to reduce stress and increase gratitude and happiness. What feels better than that?!
It’s never too late to rewire your brain and form new healthy habits. Explore the above tips and start setting aside time for yourself daily to unplug and breathe into exactly the energy that you want to manifest. You have the ability to create your best energy on demand with immediate results. Be what I call a “C.E.Om” and take charge mindfully.
It’s self-care o’clock; the time to prioritize self-care is now.
Make self-care a natural part of your everyday routine with help from Sandy’s book Breathe to Succeed and our self-care tools designed as a positive & practical space for reducing stress, setting & achieving health & wellness goals and living your best life.