Teachers in Transition

Teachers in Transition - Episode 72 - Ways to Be More Mindful in Times of High Stress and Anxiety

August 13, 2020 Kitty Boitnott
Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 72 - Ways to Be More Mindful in Times of High Stress and Anxiety
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Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 72 - Ways to Be More Mindful in Times of High Stress and Anxiety
Aug 13, 2020
Kitty Boitnott

This week's topic is stress, and in it, Kitty talks about specific ways to be more mindful at the moment. When we are stressed out and anxious, more often than not, it is the result of fretting or regretting something in the past or projecting and worrying about something the future. Neither is helpful. So, you need to learn how to pull yourself back into the present moment, and this episode offers some ways to do that.

The tips offered in today's episode are from a post from Psychology Today by Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D. entitled, "Lost in Hurts? Ground Yourself in the Present."

For more information on how to create a mindfulness practice to help reduce and manage your stress, contact Kitty at kittyboitnott@gmail.com.

#stress #stressrefief #stressmanagement, #mindfulness #presentmoment


Show Notes Transcript

This week's topic is stress, and in it, Kitty talks about specific ways to be more mindful at the moment. When we are stressed out and anxious, more often than not, it is the result of fretting or regretting something in the past or projecting and worrying about something the future. Neither is helpful. So, you need to learn how to pull yourself back into the present moment, and this episode offers some ways to do that.

The tips offered in today's episode are from a post from Psychology Today by Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D. entitled, "Lost in Hurts? Ground Yourself in the Present."

For more information on how to create a mindfulness practice to help reduce and manage your stress, contact Kitty at kittyboitnott@gmail.com.

#stress #stressrefief #stressmanagement, #mindfulness #presentmoment


Kitty Boitnott:

Are you a teacher who's feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? Do you worry that you're feeling symptoms of burnout or are you sure you've already gotten there? Have you started to dream of doing some other kind of job or perhaps pursuing a whole different career, but you don't know what else you're even qualified to do? You don't know how to start a job search. You just feel stuck. If that sounds like you, I promise you're not alone. My name is Kitty Boitnott. I'm a career transition and job search coach and I specialize in helping burnt-out teachers just like you deal not only with the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day job, but to consider what other careers might be out there waiting for you. Join me for "Teachers in Transition." In some episodes, I'll be speaking to stress management techniques and how you can manage your stress on a day to day basis. In other episodes, I'll be talking about career transition. What tools do you need to be successful in a job search when you're moving from one career into a totally different track? These are questions that you need answers to and I can help you find those answers. My name is Kitty Boitnott. Welcome to "Teachers in Transition." Hi, this is Kitty Boitnott of "Teachers in Transition." This is episode 72 of both the Podcast and the YouTube channel. Welcome back. If you've listened to me at all in the past, you know that I alternate topics one week, I talk about stress management strategies because I am a certified stress management coach, and I'm also an experienced and trained career transition and job search strategist. So on the alternating weeks, when I'm not talking about stress, I talk about job search, career transition, career change, all of that stuff. This week, the topic is stress. And of course, as we've dealt with in previous episodes on stress, I have talked about how the anxiety and uncertainty has added to the stress level of everyone on the planet, not just here in the United States and here in the United States, we're experiencing a certain amount of stress because of the pandemic and the economic fallout of the pandemic. And now with school starting the uncertainty of what to do about that. If you're a teacher, do you go back, do you quit? Do you try to find some other role to play so that you can stay home and perhaps teach remotely? It's a lot, a lot is going on. Especially right now, as schools start are around the country and different localities are playing with different possibilities to see what might work. You know, at the end of the day, we know that children need to be with other children. They need to be in school. The dilemma is whether or not you take the chance of potentially risking them becoming sick or them picking up the virus and bringing it home and making someone in the family sick. And it's a , it's a difficult, difficult decision. I've talked to teachers recently who are struggling with the dilemma of whether or not to go back to their school. If the school building opens because they have underlying health issues of their own that they feel by going back, we'll put them at risk or they have a spouse or a child who is medically fragile, and they worry about the potential of picking up the virus and inadvertently bringing it home to their family. So it's difficult. I've talked in the past about how the main way to manage our stress is to let go of those things that we cannot control and concentrate on the things that we can actively do, what we can to control the events in our lives that are within our realm. And then try to let go of the stuff that is outside of our control, but there's a lot that we do have control over and that we need to think about whether or not we have decisions that are, we're making good decisions and making decisions that we won't come to regret. And there's no easy answer to that. But what I would like to share with you today are some techniques for helping you to ground yourself in the present moment to stop the spiraling negative chatter that we tend to get caught up in, in our heads. Oftentimes stress comes from too much dwelling on the past things that we have regrets about resentments, that we've dragged along with us like a suitcase, because we can't simply let it go , uh, juxtaposed against fear and anxiety and worry about what will happen in the future. And we do have some control over letting go of the stuff from the past. We may not have a lot of control over what happens in the future, but we absolutely do have control over what we do in this present moment. Right now, for example, you are choosing to listen to this podcast right now, that's a choice. And so what I'd like to offer to you are some exercises sort of practices that can help you to stop yourself in the midst of a negative spiral. Whether it's a worry about something from the past or anxiety about something from the future, it's just stop, be aware of those thoughts and stop yourself, and then do these five things. These five practices in this current moment. So wherever you happen to be stop, be aware of your thoughts and then look around the room. Or if you're in your car, look, look glance. Don't concentrate too much on anything but the road, but glance around name five objects that you can identify in the room that will snap you right back to your present place in your present moment and can help to stop the negative chatter that's going on in your head. That's causing you stress causing you anxiety, causing you to worry five things. As I sit here, I'm , I'm looking out the window, that's facing me. And I see the houses of my neighbors and cars in the parking lot. There's a crepe Myrtle tree. That's just to the right of the window that I enjoy looking at because it's a beautiful pink color, almost a fuchsia color. The blooms , as I look around my office, I have a plant that I'm nursing back to health because it was in the dark for too long and a puppy that's sitting next sleeping for the moment and another puppy here at my feet. So I , I just, as I look around the room, I can be grounded by the things that are surrounding me and they can make me feel better just by focusing on those things, as opposed to negative thoughts that might be spiraling around in the back of my head. Also, I mean, this is an exercise that focuses on your five senses. So do you smell anything? Is, is someone burning a candle or do you have some incense that you could let burn for a little bit? Do you smell leftover aromas from last night's dinner or this morning's breakfast? What are the smells that you might be able to identify? What do you hear ? Is there any music that you could turn on that you could listen to that might help you to relax? You know, music can be a great therapeutic tool and most of us respond to happy, upbeat music. In fact, I have a ringtone on my phone. That is a happy song. Makes me happy when I hear it. So what is it that you hear? If anything, you know , and right now I hear the sound of my voice. I hear the horror of the air conditioner running. I hear the soft flutter of the ceiling fan. So there are things that I can hear. Is there anything that you can taste? Can you take a sip of water or a cup of coffee, or I like to have a glass of green tea on hand. Peppermint is something that you can take into tastes that will lift your spirits. There's research. That indicates that. And so what, what is it that you might taste, pay attention to the flavor? The next thing you put in your mouth pay attention to the flavor. Now also note in these days of COVID, if you can't taste anything and you can't smell anything, that's early symptom of COVID. So you might want to take that as a sign without getting yourself freaked out over it, but go get yourself tested early detection is best. So if you can't taste and you can't smell, get yourself tested. And then finally, what do you feel? And I don't mean emotionally. I mean, like for me, I feel the pressure of a seat. I'm sitting in a chair. My butt is on the chair. My back is leaning up against the back of the chair. What do you feel? I've got my fingers laced together in my lap . I've got my ankles crossed and I've got my feet resting on a pillow that I bought. That's especially made for , uh , ergonomic sitting at the computer. Cause I sit at the computer a lot. So what do you feel your feet on the floor, your hands in your lap, you can even go through. There's a meditation practice, go through each parts of your body, starting with your toes, become aware of your toes and then your ankles, and then your shin and your calves, your knees, your thighs, your pelvic area, your stomach area, your shoulders, your neck. How are you holding your head? And then you can work your way back down from your head to your neck, to your shoulders. Becoming physically present with your body can help to stop some of the anxiety and stress that you may be facing. So these are five practices. I'll include the link to the article from psychology today that offers these and some other strategies that you might try out. The final thing I'd like to say to you is that if you are feeling stressed, anxious, concerned about what's going on around you fear about what the future might hold. Whether you are experiencing economic anxiety or stress about school starting, whether it's for yourself or for your children or your grandchildren, simply remind yourself that you're not alone. A lot of us are experiencing the same feelings, the same emotions, talk them out. Don't hold them in. Find someone that you can confide in. And if you need to see a therapist or a counselor, please do that because that can be helpful. It can help to work. You can work your way through issues and problems that you may not be able to work out on your own. You need someone to talk it through someone who can offer a different point of view, help you look at the situation from perhaps a slightly different angle. Can you make a huge difference in the way you manage your stress? So take care of yourself. Don't forget to eat well to get the sleep that you need to stay hydrated. And when you find yourself feeling particularly stressed out, try getting grounded in the things that are around you. As I did with this particular episode today, what do you see? What do you fear ? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you taste and what do you feel? That's it for today? Thank you. Be sure to leave a comment or review. I'd love to hear from you . Have you , if you have any questions, email me at kittyboitnott @gmail.com . That's it for this week. I'll be back next week with suggestions about how you might approach a job search. If you've decided to quit your job and look for something else or your job has disappeared and you need to find something new, have a great week, take care, stay safe, be kind to one another. So there you have it, an episode of "Teachers in Transition." I hope you enjoyed the information and I hope you'll plan to come back. Please subscribe to "Teachers in Transition" so that you can be alerted of future episodes. And let me know if you have any questions or topics that you would like me to specifically cover in a future episode. I'm more than happy to help with individual questions as well. So email me at KittyBoitnott@BoitnottCoaching.com. If you are interested in finding a new career or just enjoying your life more, this is the place to start. Hi, I'm Kitty Boitnott and this is "Teachers in Transition."