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Do you feel guilty about negative feelings?(DW#732 )

Over the last few days I have been hearing some version of the following over and over again:
 
"I shouldn’t complain. I have it so much better than so many other people". "I am missing this and that. But really I should not feel bad about it. So much bigger stuff going on in the world".
 
This is true. Alhamdullilah. We certainly have it better than many many people in the world who are suffering so much. And it is very good to remind ourselves of that from time to time especially when we go down a negative thought spiral.
 
But here’s the thing: it is also okay to feel sad about something small that meant something to you. Disappointment over something that you were looking forward to that got cancelled. That you cannot invite anyone over for a barbeque even though the weather is getting better. That your favourite restaurant has closed its doors for ever. That you cannot run out and get something from the store.
 
That single mom who is also a...
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Recognize and act within your circle of control (DW#727 )

One of the most important things we can do to cultivate resilience is to recognize our sense of agency.
 
Agency is simply a fancy word for how empowered you feel or how much control or power you feel over your own life. This is where your energy and strength come from.
 
The truth is that there are many many things outside our control. There always have been and always will be. The present world situation has simply brought these into sharp focus.

And the truth is also that some things always were and still remain with our control. (Can you see that?)
 
Now, when we focus our attention to things that are outside our control, we give up our sense of agency. We feel powerless and therefore hopeless.
 
The way out of this feeling of helplessness and the panic that ensues is to become more mindful of where we are focusing our attention.
 
Is it focused on things that are outside our control or those that we have control or power over?
 
When going...
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Simple tools for growing resilience (DW#726)

We will begin a series titled Simple Tools for Growing Resilience and I hope that these simple reminders and practices will inspire us and motivate us to keep going, focus on what we can control, rise up to the challenges and keep doing our best.
 
Let us first define what we mean by resilience:
 
Resilience is the ability to face adversity, to go through challenges without being overwhelmed by them. It is defined as the the capacity to manage challenge and to recover from adversity.

Simply put, it is the ability to face adversity and to "bounce back" after we have been knocked down by life.
 
In other words, resilience helps us:

1)    Face challenges without being overwhelmed by them AND
2)    If we are overwhelmed or ‘knocked down’, it helps us get back on our feet quickly.

 

Resilience, then, helps us survive the worst day of our life AND it also helps us thrive every day of our life.
 
...
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I’m going on a sabbatical and you...(DW#725)

As we mentioned yesterday, a sabbatical is different from a vacation. It is a longer period away from work (anywhere from a month to a year or more) to step away from your regular job and focus on other meaningful activities.

 

Taking sabbaticals does require intentionality, some adjustment in your thinking, and of course planning and financial resources to see you through your time off.

 

The benefits of taking sabbaticals are really worth the effort, though.

 

Taking time off to switch gears, do some long range thinking, learn something new, or pursue other interests can rejuvenate you, not only personally, but also give your career a boost because you return with renewed energy and motivation. People who are about to take a sabbatical often find that they work harder and more effectively, knowing that a sabbatical is just around the corner.

 

I am going on sabbatical from Daily Wisdom until February to work on other projects and discover ways to serve you...
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Five reasons to take a sabbatical (DW#724)

We have been talking about the importance of taking time off for rest and relaxation as a part of our self care practice. Today let’s discuss another kind of time off which has a different but equally valuable purpose.

 

I am talking about a sabbatical. A sabbatical is an extended period of leave from your regular job or employment, the purpose of which is often travel, self growth or learning. While it is common in academia for professors to take a sabbatical in order to focus on their own learning, it is a concept which is gaining more acceptance even in the corporate world.
 

 

Here are 6 ways you can use a sabbatical from work:


1)   Learn a new skill or explore a new subject. If you have always wished you could deepen your expertise in your field, learn something new, or you are curious about a particular subject, a sabbatical is the perfect time to do this.
2)   Do some long range thinking. When we are in the midst of work,...

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Half the fun is in the planning(DW#723)

When we were young, I remember my dad talking about travel a lot. When we would ask when and how we would take all these trips to amazing destinations, his answer was: I don’t know exactly, but planning is half the fun!
 
Turns out that that my dad was on to something. Research shows that the biggest boost in emotional wellbeing related to taking time off actually comes from planning the vacation. A person can feel the effects up to eight weeks before the trip even starts!

 

So, enjoy and savor the planning process. Allow yourself to dream about what you will do and how you will spend your time.  This way you can maximize the benefits that come from taking a vacation and start to feel the effects of time off well before the scheduled vacation.  
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The perfect length of vacation(DW#722)

A study conducted by the University of Tampere in Finland suggests that eight days is the perfect amount of time to achieve the maximum amount of relaxation and happiness without growing bored or homesick.

 

It appears that the positive benefits of time off kick in on day one, but scientists speculate that it takes until day eight for people to fully shake off their responsibilities and work stress. This is when you get in the groove of a slower pace and really start enjoying downtime.

 

After day eight, however, the positive feelings begin to decrease and they fall rapidly after day 11. After this, you might begin to get anxious about what is waiting for you at work or you might begin to miss home.

 

So the next time you are planning time away, think about scheduling something between 8 and 11 days long.
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When one good night of sleep is not enough (DW#721)

Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about the importance of sleeping well and enough as a way to reboot and replenish our energy.

But sometimes, even though you have been sleeping enough, you still wake up feeling tired and lacking in energy.

If you are experiencing this, you may also be experiencing some or all of the following:

Lack of energy

Lack of motivation

Feeling irritable or frustrated often

Feeling "fuzzy-headed"

Forgetting things or making silly mistakes

Feeling stress at doing things you used to enjoy

If all of any of this is going on, it could be sign that just focusing on sleep is not going to be enough.

It may be a sing that you are experiencing "burnout" And that it is time to consider a longer break.

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Dealing with chronic insomnia (DW#720)

The sleep strategies that we have been talking about work with most people most of the time. They are meant for people who are not aware of proper sleep hygiene and may be unknowingly doing things that interfere with sleep.

And then there are others who suffer from chronic insomnia. Experts tell us that about 10% of people suffer from what is known as chronic insomnia disorder.

The symptoms of chronic insomnia disorder include:

Trouble falling or staying asleep at least a few times per week.
Experiencing sleepless nights regularly for over a month at least.
Sleeplessness significantly getting in the way of functioning or causing distress.

If this sounds like you, of course you can try what we have mentioned. But do consider talking to your health care professional about other medical and non medical interventions to help you sleep.

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Exercising too late (DW#719)

You may have heard, like I had, that you should not exercise at night because it can cause sleep problems.

Traditionally, experts have recommended not exercising at night as part of good sleep hygiene. A recent study published just last year suggests that you can exercise in the evening as long as you avoid vigorous activity for at least one hour before bedtime.

The study found that not only did evening exercise not affect sleep, it seemed to help people fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep. (Turns out hubby dear was right)

However, those who did high-intensity exercise — such as interval training — less than one hour before bedtime took longer to fall asleep and had poorer sleep quality.

So, here is the takeaway: Getting regular exercise any time of the day is a valuable part of good sleep hygiene habits. If the only time you have to walk is after dinner, do that.

If you have a regime of high intensity workouts or cardio sessions, complete those at least...

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