I totally know how stressful mornings can be! This is such a universally common problem and it is just your human brain doing its thing. And we know what happens next….all that stress just comes along with you for the ride throughout the rest of your day… and it affects how you show up, what you say to others and how you say it, what you do and how you do it….your staff, your colleagues, your patients, your family….the person bagging your groceries….tThe postal worker….the babysitter…all become your punching bags….and you can have an out of body experience watching yourself not being you at all….and who wants to go through the day like that? No one, right? Right.
The good news is that you can turn that around. So here is something you can do when you wake up stressed out to redirect your focus.
Here are 3 key questions that you can ask and answer on a stressful morning to redirect your busy mind, redirect your focus, and help you take care of yourself in that moment and throughout your day. When you ask yourself these questions, remember that no answer is wrong—these are unique to you and only you. You can just review them in your mind but it actually helps to write them down. You can use either a small notepad, a journal, or just type them in your phone or other device to reflect on later. Ok…so ask yourself these questions starting with…
Question #1: What is my “why?”
When you are running around super stressed in the morning … rushing…. trying to get out the door….. your brain starts having thoughts about wishing things could be different… questioning the choices you made…the specialty you chose…becoming a doctor in the 1st place….right?…
then it helps to pause and come back to your “why?”. You get so overwhelmed and distracted drowning in “all the things” that it is easy to forget your why. Your why is your heart’s desire….your heartfelt mission…that which drives you…that which feeds you….that which propels you forward and gives you a reason to get outta bed each day….your unique contribution to this world….
May be your why is related to your medical practice: You may ask yourself: “Why did I fill out that medical school application?” and “how did it make me feel when I was accepted?”…. “to put on my white coat for the 1st time”…”to help my 1st patient”….
Or your family….
Why did I have kids?
Why did I get married?
Why did I get a dog?
And then when you answer your why question/s, sense in your body how amazing that answer feels. Remember that feeling….hold onto it….then move forward throughout your day and bring that feeling along side you…it is always there!
Question #2: What do I need right now?
When we are stressed in the morning, frequently taking care of everyone and anything else except ourselves, including answering the hospital/office/clinic texts, emails, calls….we forget about ourselves! So ask yourself what you need in that very moment—until you pause and ask, you don’t even realize that you need it….and it can be super quick: maybe…
Something to eat or drink
More comfortable clothing or shoes
A few moments of quiet (go into the bathroom or a closet if you have to!)
Pet your dog
Step outside for some fresh air
Feel your bare feet on the ground
power pose ( from the strike a pose podcast episode!)—increase testosterone and decrease cortisol
shake it off!
Whatever….just do it!
When we are stressed in the morning, frequently taking care of everyone and anything else except ourselves, including answering the hospital/office/clinic texts, emails, calls….we forget about ourselves! Click To Tweet
Question #3: How can I be 1% better today?
I learned this by presenting self-care at 1st responder workshops through an organization called 02X initially developed by 2 Navy SEALS to help the fire fighters in the Boston Fire Department after the Boston bombing. Their motto is to be 1% better each day & I love it! & so do my clients because it is not asking too much and is totally doable. So….ask yourself, “How can I be 1% better today?”
Examples may be related to the:
Food choices you make
how you interact with others
how you interact with yourself
So now it is your turn!
This is what I want you to do: ask and answer these 3 questions when you having a stressful morning….write them down or type them somewhere you can see them…. phone, computer, sticky note, other device….
#1 What is my why?
#2 What do I need right now?
#3 How can I be 1% better today?
Notice how much better you feel when you focus on your why and give yourself what you need.
Then you will start your day off feeling calm focused empowered and ready to make it a 1% better day!