Finding Calm in Pandemic Times

September 22, 2021

Calm time to rejuvenate is essential for us to be at our best. It’s tough to find calm during a crisis. If you’ve got only one minute between meetings or patients, breathe deeply!Ed Harrold and the Institute of Coaching shared:“Breathing under stress is quick and shallow, inhaling and exhaling into the upper portion of the lungs where nerves signal a challenge and activate a stress response (sympathetic nervous system).Imagine your lungs as balloons that you are slowly filling up with air from the bottom of your lungs, all the way to the top of your lungs just under your collar bone.Notice the diaphragm pushing down as you inhale, allowing the lungs and ribcage to expand, and rising up when you exhale. Keep your shoulders down and still.Breathing low and deep stimulates the nerves at the bottom of the lungs, activating the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system). Nasal, diaphragmatic breathing boosts the immune system.Take long, slow breathsBreathing deeply in itself lengthens and slows the pace of the breath. When the rate of breathing is fewer than ten breaths a minute (6 seconds per breath), the relaxation response is activated. When we breathe at a rate of 4-6 breaths a minute (10-15 seconds per breath), the heart rate slows down and heart rate variability improves, with more relaxation and recovery.Experiment with a four-part breath, counting to 5 on a full, slow, deep inhale, and a pause for 3 at the top of the inhale. Then count to five or more on a slow, full exhale, and pause at the bottom of the exhale for 3, or longer until the natural urge to inhale arrives.Notice a pleasant stillness of the mind when you gently pause your breath at the top and the bottom of the breath.”Randy Clark, MD, Medical Director, said, “The COVID-19 virus ultimately overwhelms your stress response systems. The key to health is stress management. His recommendations to decrease stress:• Get outside and get your vitamin D level up.• Walk in nature, as you maintain social distancing.• Take a magnesium supplement.• Start a meditation practice.”Here are a few other relaxing thoughts and resources:• Engage in an activity that fully occupies your brain, that focuses you to be in the present.• Exercise and eat healthy foods. Sleep is vital for well-being.• Turn off all your devices for an hour each day, (longer if possible) read, relax, rest, engage with loved ones.• Limit your consumption of news and social media. Use trusted sources only.• Practice gratitude, find the bright spots in each day and focus on those.• Cirque du Soleil has several free 60 minute family friendly shows online. The theatrics, acrobatics, costumes and aerialists will transport you to another world.Rising Stars is here to help, if you would like a free laser focused coaching session, for up to 45 minutes, please email . I’ve coached over 200 healthcare leaders through all types of growth, challenge and stress and want to help you.

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