Written by SMH Clinical Counselor Elizabeth Bornstein
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, many of us are plugged in — to our stress and the stress of others, to the news, to social media, our computers, tablets or phones.
It’s easy — and common — to feel overwhelmed, pulled in all directions and worn down.
In order to replenish our energy stores, so we can continue to help others or tend to our own responsibilities, we need to make self-care a habitual practice.
Think of your mind and body like fuel tanks. Are you running on a full tank? Or putting along on fumes? Here is a quick exercise you can do to relax and “refuel.” It only takes a few minutes but the benefits are long-lasting, if you can stick to doing it regularly.
Fill ’er Up: Steps for Refueling
- Just take 3 breaths. (You have to breathe anyway, right?) Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth, whichever is easiest; breathe as deeply as is comfortable for you.
- On the first breath, silently say these words as you breathe out: I breathe to release tension.
- On the second breath, silently say: I breathe to be become present.
- On the third breath, silently say: I breathe to restore energy.
You can do this little exercise while you wash your hands or put on your mask. You can do it before you leave your house, while walking or siting down to work, helping a loved one, or before eating a meal or going to bed. Just remember to make it part of your routine and do it frequently.
Click here for more self-care tips and strategies to persevere through these difficult times.
A licensed, oncology and advanced palliative- and hospice-certified clinical social worker, Elizabeth Bornstein, MSSA, LCSW, OSW-C, APHSW-C, oversees and provides oncology counseling at Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute. She has advanced training in mind-body medicine and expressive arts, and has facilitated oncology counseling for nearly two decades.