As we grow through the emotional roller coaster that comes with the CoVid Pandemic, I urge you to take five, every day. Five minutes to unplug from the barrage of information and let it go. It’s five minutes. We do have one thousand four hundred forty-four minutes each day. Thoughtfully pick an action that will allow your brain to let go for five minutes. Here are several suggestions:

  • Go outdoors and reconnect with nature, notice something new in the environment
  • Tune into music to put a smile on the face or remind us of someone we love
  • Journal about a peaceful experience and why it was so special
  • Listen to meditation music, finding a quiet spot to allow the mind to go blank as breathing becomes the focus
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Exercise or take a brisk walk
  • Sing out loud to your song
  • Get lost in watching fish swimming in a tank
  • Color with crayons or colored pencils
  • Work in the garden, dig in the dirt
  • Gently stretch and then relax the major muscle groups
  • Enjoy great smelling flowers, lotion, candles or aroma therapy
  • Soak in the bathtub
  • Listen to comedy for some laughs
  • Enjoy a tasty snack that is all for oneself

We are truly incredible beings whose minds are limitless and take us on journeys of the imagination that can only be experienced by each of us. Our minds can take us on trips no one else can fathom. It’s easy for the mind to hop on an idea and run down the track without stopping at a station. With a committed intention to take five each day (or several times a day), from the latest news and events, we form a new pattern or habit. Peace of mind is priceless.

A few times throughout the day when I am working in the intensive care unit, I will steal away by myself for five minutes…well it may actually be two or three…to stop the chaos, the stress, the whirring buzz of “to do’s” in exchange for momentary relaxation of the shoulders, neck and upper back and slow breaths to be grounded and quiet the chatter. It’s self-care and it is necessary.

The body reacts to stressful changes in the environment every day. Without breaks or release from stress, we become tense and overworked. We can experience elevations in blood pressure, headaches, muscle aches, difficulty sleeping and chest pains. Substances used to relieve stress, for instance alcohol, smoking and drugs, can produce even more stress instead of the sought after rest and relaxation. Stress can trigger asthma, heart problems, diabetes, anxiety and depression. And if continued, chronic stress can lead to lifetime emotional disorders.

Remember we can only control certain aspects of our lives. Maintaining a positive attitude and taking care of our physical and mental health is important for managing stress. This looks like eating well, getting enough sleep, seeking support of others when needed and setting healthy boundaries with your time and energy. Speaking of time…how about a new habit of Take Five? Go ahead, try one of the suggestions above and let me know how it worked for you.

Email me at [email protected] or call 847-901-3888 to complete your advance directive.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

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