Inside: These simple daily practices will help you manage stress during those overwhelming seasons of life.
Five years ago, I sat fidgeting in the doctor’s office, waiting for biopsy results. I already knew before I heard the words.
“It’s breast cancer.”
Feeling numb, I looked back and forth from the doctor to the nurse while they spoke.
I only recall fragments of the conversation.
“it looks like stage one”
“referring to an oncologist”
“schedule an MRI”
I don’t know what I said in return. I know I smiled and nodded like we were making small talk about the weather.
It’s a good thing my sister-in-law came with me. My husband couldn’t be there due to work travel, so she stepped in. Later, she conveyed the highlights of the conversation.
What I do remember is getting into the car and calling my husband with the news.
Then I called my boss at work and said, “I have breast cancer. I’m taking the rest of the day off.”
After that, we drove straight to The Mont, a local favorite, and started day drinking.
I know. Classy, right?
Cancer can do that, you know…. make you lose your mind for a minute.
It Wasn’t My Best Moment
Clearly, I wasn’t handling the news with grace.
I’m embarrassed to admit it. I don’t blame you if you judge. But we all deal differently, you know? Trust me, I’ve grown since then.
And although I handled the news poorly, drowning myself in sangria swirls and making jokes, it didn’t take too long for me to get my act together.
By mid-morning the next day, I got over both my shock and my swirl-induced hangover. I decided to beat breast cancer. And I never looked back.
I methodically tackled breast cancer with determination.
Scans and tests? Check.
But fighting breast cancer while simultaneously doing All The Things? That was hard.
Juggling appointments and treatments with full-time work brought extra stress.
Parenting and managing the household while dealing with tough emotions and physical pain took a toll on my mental health.
The Overwhelm Was Palpable
So how did I manage? How did I cope with fighting breast cancer while living a hectic and stressful life?
I implemented a few simple daily practices.
Creating Simple Daily Practices for Mental Health
I devised a simple daily practice to keep me sane.
Seriously. Creating a simple daily practice to focus my thoughts and intentions helped to ease the anxiety and overwhelm I felt.
My daily practice led to growth, awareness and a much healthier perspective on life.
What a journey.
Five years later, my life looks a lot different. I’ve changed my outlook, my process, and my mental state.
To get here, I had to develop a practice I like to call “Breathe and Reboot.” I think of it as a daily practice from moment to moment.
I also think it’s big soul work.
Breathing and Rebooting Is a Simple Daily Practice
A Breathe and Reboot daily practice means looking at life in an intentional way.
We all have stressful seasons. Regardless of whether your stress is health, money, work, family, or any other situation causing stress, we need helpful strategies.
Luckily, we can create daily practices to help deal with stress.
My Simple Daily Practices Turned Things Around
These are the things I began to do each day to get me through that tough season.
My hope is that these can help you when you’re in a particularly stressful and overwhelming season of life.
Write a Daily Gratitude List
Each morning, write down at least 10 things you are grateful for. When you focus on gratitude, you can change your life.
I get it. Sometimes, life can get ugly. But we can always find something to be grateful for.
Do you have a roof over your head? Food to eat? A car to drive?
Most likely, you do. But if not, start with something even more basic. Like, Hey! I’m breathing! I’m alive! Every day is an opportunity to turn things around.
Start where you are and list ten things you appreciate about your life. Can’t come up with ten? Fine. Start with five. Start somewhere.
We get more of what we focus on, so focus on good things to bring more good things into your life.
Take Time for Daily Reflection and Quiet
This can be meditation or simply quiet time alone without any distractions.
For me, that meant spending patio time in the morning with a strong cup of coffee and my thoughts. I would simply sit still and let my thoughts go.
This simple daily practice allowed me to get my mind right for the day, see what I wanted to accomplish and goals I wanted to meet.
By getting still, I could tune in to my intuition. We all have that inner voice…that gut instinct or feeling.
Whatever you call it, it’s hard to hear it if we’re not listening. And we can’t listen if we aren’t quiet.
Set Daily Intentions
When you set your intention for the day, you consciously and deliberately decide where you are going to focus your energy.
Setting an intention means you have the determination and drive to make a change towards better living.
It can be an overall intention for your life or a specific intention about an area of your life. It’s up to you.
I set intentions to stay calm and stay positive. To be present with my husband and daughter. And have positive interactions with my clients while at work.
Mostly, I focused on letting go of the little things so I could focus on what really mattered in my life.
You know, not sweating the small stuff and worrying about things I couldn’t control.
Set intentions for what you want to happen.
Start a Journaling Practice
I believe the act of writing transforms thoughts, beliefs, and even lives.
From simple free writing to gratitude lists to intentions, writing is powerful.
Even the act of writing down your plans for the day can clear your mind, keep you focused and on and track.
Journaling allows you to get it all out. From things you need to do, to how you want to show up in the world.
Write down your goals, ideas, feelings – anything goes with journaling. Writing is therapeutic.
Creating Your Own Simple Daily Practice
These are things that worked for me. But there are countless ways you can create a daily practice that helps you navigate the tough situations life throws at you.
Five years later, I’m still in remission. And I still make it a daily practice to Breathe and Reboot.
I still have messy moments. But I don’t turn to the swirls for solace.
No. I turn to my daily practice. It works for me. And I hope this – or something like it – works for you, too.