We had the pleasure just a few months ago, early in this pandemic crisis to introduce you to our friend and Cannapolitan ally, Dr. Nimira Alibhoy. Her expertise helped us plan better spaces to work in while working from home. Now we need her advice on how to avoid the dreaded burnout phase that can affect your health and mental wellbeing. We’re all doing our best to cope with so many challenges at this time in life for us all. Beating burnout in Covid times is not as easy as it sounds.
For many, the kids are back in school on some kind of level whether it be at home or at school. People have lost jobs, worried about how they’re going to pay their bills. There are plenty of things including traffic that can send you over the edge! The stress balls in your shoulders are only getting worse with a mounting list of responsibilities that are looming in your life. Enough is enough!
We asked Dr. Nimira how we can best cope with the world around us as we all battle stress and avoid burnout. Here, she gives us great tips and advice on how to stay balanced in times of chaos.
By Dr Nimira Alibhoy, Upper Cervical Chiropractor
Do you remember mid-March?
Just over five months ago we all turned our lives upside down for an unknown virus that got just a little too close to home. We banded together to beat the virus and at that point we were functioning from a can-do positive attitude fueled by adrenaline. This was our “honeymoon” phase. With little time to really think or let anything settle in, we uprooted ourselves from our normal, pulling our kids out of the classroom, setting up workspaces at our dining table or coffee table thinking that it would all be over soon, that in just a short time we would be back to normal.
Here we are now, at the end of August, continuing our remote work and distance learning journeys.
Except something has changed. We haven’t beaten the virus – and whether you caught it or not – we were all affected by it. We are not running on adrenaline anymore. We’re stuck in a chronic state of stress that is starting to show up in our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Adrenaline’s on empty and we are about to hit BURN OUT!
Burn out is that feeling when you are emotionally and physically exhausted and you are pretty sure you are going to blow up at the next person that says or does x, y, or z… you know like you’ve witnessed at the grocery store, Target, or a random parking lot!
The most common symptoms you might notice:
- Mental exhaustion
- Loss of motivation
- Drowning in stress
- Physical fatigue
So, what do we need to do?
First, we need to look at how to handle ourselves in the moment of overwhelm. The easiest wat to do this is through a breathing practice. Deep breathing helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is opposite of your stress response. There are many different types of deep breathing exercises including equal breathing, deep belly breathing and 4-7-8 breathing. With 4-7-8 breathing you inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and then slowly exhale for 8 counts.
Another great way to help in the moment stress is to cry. While it may feel awkward in the beginning, especially if you are used to holding it all in all the time, crying has many health benefits. Crying releases endorphins (your happy hormones) which make us feel better and reduces pain. It also contains your stress hormones and toxins to help your body literally detoxify your stress. After we figure out how to handle ourselves in the moment, we need to plan for how we are going to get through the upcoming months.
Let’s face it – while the numbers are decreasing – we are not going “back to normal” anytime soon.
We must take a moment to pause and recheck our priorities. Pre-COVID it was normal to expect to be able to get a ton of stuff done while the kids were at school or when you had dedicated quiet time or space to work on your work or business. As everything has been thrown together in the mix many adults have been failing at trying to get things done while their kids are home needing their attention.
And guess what – if you have a family it’s totally OKAY! This is life right now. We do not need to throw our old expectations in the toilet, but we do need to reprioritize what is truly important and then set aside time for those things first and then add in the secondary list for when we have extra moments. If you keep everything on your plate you are bound to be disappointed in yourself for not getting everything done. That will affect your mental health long run.
A fabulous way to help our stress and anxiety in the long run is to start a gratitude practice. It might feel silly at first – but there are literally countless ways to do this, so I’m sure you can find a way that works for you!
Some common options are:
- Journaling (3-5 things daily)
- Gratitude jar with little note papers (This can be done individually or as a family)
- At the end of the day in a circle around the dinner table
Taking just three to five minutes everyday to focus on the good things in your life will shift your whole body’s energy.
These don’t have to be amazing things either! They can be as simple as “I found matching socks today” on the rough days. Remember, there is always something to be grateful for. Over time you will find that your overall stress is at a much lower level that is manageable and that you find it easier to be happy.
Do you feel it in your body too?
Chronic stress on the body leads to physical ailments as well as anxiety. This is the first time in my 10 years in practice that patients are calling me saying they can feel their anxiety in their body. That they feel stuck and that they think I might be able to help. Yes, I see patients all the time that see their anxiety get under control with chiropractic care – but it’s definitely a first for me when I have people contacting me knowing their body just can’t function in this state of being any longer.
Here’s the deal – we should have the tools to help ourselves manage this new way of life. If you find that your tools aren’t helping, you may have become physically stuck in your flight or flight response. Chiropractic care works to release the physical blocks in your body that protect your nervous system which protects you by changing and adapting to your weekly, daily, and in the moment needs. When you get literally stuck in fight or flight, your body can no longer adapt. As an upper cervical specialist we actually have the tools to read your body’s physiology versus just looking for the physical blocks to see when you really need an adjustment and when your body might be struggling but still able to work on it.
If you feel like you can’t manage your stress and anxiety on your own, always reach out to someone.
Remember that you’re not in this alone and there are many tools and resources to help you get through this temporary yet long period in our lives.
About Dr. Nimira Alibhoy
Dr. Nimira offers a unique approach to chiropractic that helps her patients see lasting results in many areas of health concern in their lives. She is one of very few upper neck specialists practicing in Southern California who focus on using science and technology to read function and make specific adjustments to the neck only when necessary. Her passion is the science of natural healing and offers limited adjustments, lasting results.
You can hear her recent podcast on Taking a Break here: https://anchor.fm/drnimira/episodes/Give-Me-a-Break-ei2hok and on Anxiety here: https://anchor.fm/drnimira/episodes/ANXIETY-edb4up
Please follow her Facebook Page for health tips and resources: http://www.facebook.com/drnimira
For more information on working with Dr Nimira or finding a specialist near you, reach out here: