The simple act of thinking about empty nesting in a different light can make you feel better…
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS…
DEALING WITH THE UNEXPECTED
What happens when you launch a new talk therapy practice that features walking and running outside and then you injure your foot? Yes, that actually happened. Well, you do the next best thing, find a park bench to sit and talk! Who needs endorphins when you can breathe in phytonicides, a chemical that trees release to protect against insects. It may sound a bit ominous, but these chemicals are actually good for you according to studies. Research shows that exposure to phytonicides can help reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline and lower blood pressure. Who knew? This is just one of the interesting things I have learned while also learning how to respond positively to unexpected obstacles and challenges.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REFRAMING YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Initially, I felt sorry for myself and my negativity was beginning to spread to other parts of my life. I recognized this as cognitive distortion, or rather, an error in thinking. It is called mental filtering and happens when you solely focus on the negative and do not see the positive in your life. I reminded myself of all the good things in my life -- my supportive family and friends, my good health, my exciting new practice and my clients. Positive mental reframing and gratitude is a definite mood booster!
EVERYONE HAS A STORY… SHARING CAN BE HELPFUL!
I am currently wearing a boot while my foot heals, which seems to attract a lot of attention and invite comments. The other day, a U.S. postal worker stopped me to tell me I was lucky to be wearing a boot and getting around. He informed me that the U. S Postal Service doesn’t allow workers to wear open toe shoes or boots when injured so he was forced to collect disability while recovering from a similar foot injury. I also met a Vietnam veteran who told me he flew fighter jets during the war and incurred a foot injury during one of his missions. That clearly paled in comparison to how I got my injury (don’t ask!) and we shared a laugh. Both individuals wished me a speedy recovery. When you share your experience with others, it can help you gain perspective and provide comfort.
THERE ARE LOTS OF WAY TO CALM YOUR MIND…
For many (myself included), running is more than just exercise, it truly calms the mind and is a great outlet. Thankfully, there are other ways to relax! Mindfulness-based activities such as meditation provide a great way to be present and quiet the mind. I also find using essential oils (like lavender) and burning a scented candle (my favorite is rose) to be very calming. Research studies show that aromatherapy can be an effective tool for managing anxiety and sleep issues.
MORE TALKING AND LESS WALKING IS OK…
Self-compassion goes a long way in life. For now, my individual and group walk and talks are on a brief hiatus while my foot heals. However, I am still doing talk therapy in the office and am also happy to sit outside on a bench with a beautiful view if that is preferred by my client.
The boot will be off soon enough and I will be walking and then running, but I always will hold on to the tools that have helped me through this challenging time. Hopefully, they can go into your tool kit too if you ever need them.
Look forward to seeing you on the path very soon!
I am so excited to share my interview about Pace of Mind Therapy and topics related to mental health and wellness on the fabulous MT Nesters Podcast