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When you can't take a break – Nerdful Mind #101

December 19, 2021 by Simon Mannes

Sometimes you have a lot to do and no time to pause.

TL;DR: I had a stressful time, didn't mediate, but still take something positive from this experience.

The last few weeks have been stressful. Christmas time, my day job, side projects, and moving to another apartment.

I noticed I became more irritable and had more negative thoughts. Anxious, and sometimes angry ones. I got into arguments.

And I skipped meditation one morning. Then another. Until 5 days went by and I couldn't remember the last time I sat down to meditate.

This added some self-disappointment into the mix, too.

After the mountain of work became smaller, I finally began to breathe again.

But even though the past two weeks were stressful and with many negative thoughts, I have some positive things to take away:

  • I learned a lot about myself. How I handle stress, and especially how it affects my compassion.
  • I recognized how much more there is still to learn by practicing meditation, compassion, and mindfulness.
  • I also see now how far I have come. A few years ago, I could have spent weeks on end in this stressed mode without stepping back and taking a breath.

I also learned a few tricks in the last few weeks for what to do when it’s time for a break, but you can’t take one:

  • It's ok to communicate you are having a stressful time.
  • Every morning, find something to look forward to. Every evening, look back to find which positive things happened that day.
  • Explicitly create moments of silence. Don't always fill all senses with media. You can, for example, leave your smartphone in one room and your work laptop in another.
  • Return to your breath as often as possible.
  • Apologize if you've been mean. This can be hard in the heat of the moment, but it prevents the situation from becoming even worse.

I'm now slowly coming back into my old habits of daily meditation, Yoga and taking time for myself. And I have a hard time finding words to express how grateful I am for this.

“Take a step back, evaluate what is important, and enjoy life.” — Teri Garr

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Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Square breathing can help you in acute stress situations. It goes like this.

  1. Exhale for 4 seconds
  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  3. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
  4. Hold your breath for 4 seconds

You can do this while sitting or standing upright and comfortably.

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What are your tips for stressful times? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!