Dear Dr. Sylvia,
I hear your Sanity Challenge is lots of fun and very informative. I don’t want to wait day after day. Therefore, can you send me a week worth of exercises I can do when I want?
I tend to be a rebel who hates being on anyone’s timeline but my own.
I hope you understand.
Dancing to Own Drummer
Dear Dancing Drummer,
I know how you feel. I love creating my structure, so here is a weekly plan you can do however you want.
Stress gets worse when you are driving on empty. Here are some ways to have less stress and recharge.
You win when you prepare.
For example, do this first thing in the morning.
Please make a list, yes, write it down, of at least 5 (or more) aspects of your present life that you are grateful for. Consider physical, mental, and emotional health, finances, and relationships.
This is just for you and then put aside for the end of the week. Let you know at least one thing you are grateful for today.
Remember that one good thing will help you feel better than dwelling on the “NOTS” in your life that sadly can become “KNOTS.”
Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others.
Furthermore, do something just for you.
Buy yourself a treat to eat, some flowers, a book, just ONE thing that is for you from you.
Remember that self-love is NOT selfish.
Most of us will put ourselves last when times are stressful, which only increases the stress.
Come on; you are worth it! Let us know one thing you bought or did just for you today.
Hug a tree; it’s good for your health.
You heard me.
Please find a tree, put your arms around it and take deep breaths. Stay there for at least 30 seconds (longer if you want, and no one is staring at you like you are a genuine nut case).
In fact, no social distancing is required!
Let us know how you felt after your hug. Here is why: hugging a tree increases levels of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for feeling calmer and emotionally safe.
Say NO and mean it to stay healthy.
Don’t give in to someone’s demands to be proper. It’s OK to assert yourself.
This means you value your time, and it is a way to distance yourself from people making unfair demands of your time.
You’ll get a stronger sense of self and let the stress melt like warm butter. And please remember, NO is a complete sentence.
Notice how you felt after a full NO.
Sing out loud to feel peaceful.
Find a place to open your mouth and let the sounds come way down from your diaphragm.
When you sing loudly, your body releases endorphins and increases oxytocin levels to lift your mood. Find some favorite songs you can belt out when you are alone. Let us know one piece that made you feel better.
Improvise to laugh at yourself and feel happy.
Do one thing that is not in your ordinary bag of habits. Something as simple as eating with your weaker hand or walking backward for a few minutes.
Do something that you have no deep interest in. For example, if you hate to cook, get in the kitchen and make some brownies.
If you love to walk fast, slow down. Just make sure it is not what you usually do.
You’ll surprise yourself. Go ahead, have fun.
Thank someone and notice how much better you feel.
Here is the challenge: you need to thank someone for making a difference in your life. Keep thinking until you find someone to whom you can send a note of appreciation.
For example, it could be your 6th-grade teacher, a next-door neighbor, or the guy or gal at the supermarket.
This is an excellent time to reach out and acknowledge someone you don’t know well or have not spoken with in a long time.
Write down how you feel after a week of making a difference for yourself and those around you. And hopefully your sanity is much better.
Here’s to your success,
P.S. To make myself feel happy, with less stress and a sense of freedom, I would love to send you a copy of the intro to my newest book “Invisible Stress (It’s NOT What YOU Think).” All you need to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.