By Dietitian Jill
She denied that she was herself. When I shared that with the psychiatrist, he said “Well … she’s crazy!” As a mental health practitioner, I set about calming craziness.
But then I thought … “How do I set about calming craziness in myself? It’s been almost a year … N95s and face shields for maybe half that”.
Even with all my training as an actress, a mindfulness practitioner experienced in soulwork and guided imagery, and a motivational interviewer, I come home drained from the day. And not too thrilled … to put it mildly.
My delightful friend, who runs one of the places where I consult, literally had a tree fall on her house. She looked up at me with an expression that would make anyone cry just last week, and said, “There is no joy in my life”. She’s said that a lot this year.
They just opened the restaurants again two days ago. I haven’t been yet. It poured Friday and was bone-chillingly cold (yes … we in LA think it’s cold when the temperature dips below 70). I had visions of huddling under a heat lamp in what I call my “New-York Coat” … which has a zip-in lining, a hood, and a faux-fur collar.
So … sitting here … I have to share what I did to calm MY craziness. Because even normal people … especially the kids … are having difficulty right now. They show up every day in my hospital … wondering how they got there.
I started this, according in my calendar, this year. And check it off every day “JME IF”. Let me explain what all this means … But first of all …
I Plan It!
I’ve found that …if I don't put this down in a calendar... and check it off as I do it ... IT DOESN'T HAPPEN!Click To Tweet.
But I find that it’s not enough to just put those letters on my calendar. I get the most done when I actually write down the times I do things and what I’m doing.
If I don’t, the day goes by and I wonder where the time went. I’m also good at playing video games when I should be working.
I like this undated desk scheduler because I … at one time … would stop scheduling for long periods of time. But … next time I will get a dated one. Because I now understand the value of planning my day.
And here’s what all those letters mean …
“J” Stands for “Journal”
I started journaling to fend off the blues … AND the crying at the end of the day (I’m lettin’ it ALLL hang out) … and it stuck. I just open the last page I wrote in, date it, and begin … but some need an ootch-up.
To that end, I’m a huge fan of guided journals for my clients … y’know the ones that have prompts you can answer. The journal, Let That Sh*t Go, that I found on Amazon, REALLY tickled me.
<<SPOILER ALERT!>> Profanity is involved. But you’re probably thinking that anyway if you’re frustrated about masks and joy-less about social distancing.
Want something a little tamer and beautifully color-pictured. Try Start Where You Are …
I also bought colored fountain pens to write with. But that’s my era … I remember when we wrote with straight pens and inkwells OY! AM I DATING MYSELF OR WHAT!
“M” is for “MINDFULNESS”
Can’t stop talking about its benefits. As a matter of fact, I spend a lot of session time at the hospital these days teaching people how to breathe deeply.
I taught myself mindfulness back in the day when it wasn’t fashionable. It was a side-benefit of my acting training … as I trained in very physical and expressive disciplines. And then it was part of my spiritual training.
But … even more … it was a way to me to come to terms with a raging panic disorder (another thing people didn’t know a lot about yet), which got worse when I was dredging up all this stuff out of my past to act.
So I had to teach myself to breathe when I felt panic coming on. Now you can turn on an app. I really like the one I got with my Fitbit.
But there are others like Insight Timer (free and now they have celebs doing some of the sessions) and Buddhify (a small one-time fee). But one of my clients got Calm for free from her HMO (it ain’t ever though they say that on the commercials).
I’ve also done a series of FREE sequential video snippets called MicroMindfuls (soon to be a series of downloadable audios) if that’s the way you’d like to go. But justtaking a moment to ... BREATHE SLOWLY IN ON A COUNT OF FOUR ... HOLD ... HOLD ... BREATHE SLOWLY OUT ON A COUNT OF FOUR ... can save your life.Click To Tweet
It sure did mine!
“E” is for “Exercise”
Need I say more. Do I HAVE TO tell you how great exercise is … better mobility … burns more calories … you look great … yadda yadda. I don’t … you already know!
The trick for exercise-avoiders like me (yes … I’m also one …) is to plan it. Or do a class you love. Gee … they’re all on the internet now … you have no excuse.
So lately I’ve been PLANNING IT (there’s that WORD again!) because I won’t do it otherwise. And taking the amazing Trace Turville Konerko’s (I’ve been studying with her 3 years now and can’t rave enough) Qigong (an earlier version of Tai Chi … which she also teaches) classes.
She has an 8am 4-days-a-week Daily Renewal in its second month that I’d suggest you’d jump on right away. Her classes have changed my life!
If you’re not into Qigong (and I’d suggest you do something like it … like yoga), then plan other movin’ things … like just getting out of your house (don’t we need that these days) and walking in the sunshine.
Oh … and did I mention the benefits of exercise on calming mental craziness … and that it’s something you can do with your kids … ?
“IF” stands for “Intermittent Fasting”
Yes, I fell off the “IF” wagon. After losing 15 pounds … COVID hit … food kept calling from the pantry … yadda yadda …
So the “IF” is to remind me to get back on! I’m in the house a ton more … which doesn’t help. And sometimes my six-hour chosen window gets shattered by my crazy schedule.
But I can’t TELL you how great Intermittent Fasting really is. After pooh-poohing it for years, I decided to give it a try. II talk about it in the article, How to Change Your Eating Forever (AKA I just lost 13 pounds).
And followed it up with Is Intermittent Fasting Backed by Science? It is. Who knew …
So here’s my sterling starting advice if you want to pursue this … start SLOW! I started with an easy 8-hour window.
And chose to skip breakfast … it’s NOT my fave meal anyway … unless I’m out with friends on a Saturday morning. But a lot of my clients LOVE breakfast. So I’d make your own rules and own window.
Eventually I went down to a six-hour window. Which works great for me. I eat lunch and dinner.
So read up on it. Don’t take MY word for it … do your own research. I know you’ve got some pounds to lose … the comforting thought is that most of my friends and colleagues do too.
So Write, Move, Breathe, and EAT …
They’res the only way I know of for calming craziness. If you’re got others, I’d love to know about them.
And I’ll share your ideas on my new “GOOD GUT SHOW” in my Good Gut Group. Want in … click here! I’m live every day!