Life After Medicine

Breaking the cycle of anxiety to relieve burnout

October 26, 2023 Chelsea Turgeon Season 1 Episode 125
Life After Medicine
Breaking the cycle of anxiety to relieve burnout
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you feel like you are an anxious person? That you are constantly bombarded by stressful situations that you don’t have control over? Experiencing stress and anxiety on a regular basis can lead to burnout and keep us from enjoying our lives.

In the podcast this week, I am sharing an exclusive clip of a training that is inside the Burnout Recovery Bundle. In this training, you will learn

  • why you experience anxiety on a neurological level- including the two main pathways that trigger anxiety
  • How to interrupt or modify your brain circuitry to reduce your anxiety
  • 3 practical strategies you can implement right away to reduce your anxiety.

This training will help you understand HOW your anxiety works, so you can start to REDUCE it.

This is just ONE of the bonus trainings included inside the Burnout Recovery Bundle, a self-paced online course to take control of your burnout and STOP feeling so drained.

This weekend (through Oct 31st) the Burnout Recovery Bundle will be 32% off if you use the code BIRTHDAY32.

Click HERE to buy it now!

Get a chance to be featured in our review of the week.
Leave a review:

FREE downloads for if you are feeling lost or burnt out in your career:

Ready to create a joyful life and career? Here’s how I can support you through my online courses and coaching programs.

Life After Medicine FB Group
Connect with a community of like-minded healthcare professionals seeking career change support

Find me on your fav social media platform for more daily content!
Instagram: @lifeaftermedicinepodcast
Facebook: Chelsea Turgeon
LinkedIn: Chelsea Turgeon MD

Book your FREE Career Clarity Call:
Ready to create a life of freedom and fulfillment? Let's connect to see how I can help you! Click here to book your FREE 30 min Career Clarity Call.

FREE Audio Series: 5 Days to Career Clarity
Learn the formula to clarify your career direction that most healthcare professionals ignore.

Life After Medicine FB Group
Connect with a community of like-minded healthcare professionals seeking career change support

Find me on your fav social media platform for more daily content!

Hello, my love. I am so excited to share today's episode with you because it's actually this training that is found inside the Burnout Recovery Bundle. In this episode today, I'm giving you full access to this training. One of my clients this week in Authentic Career Alignment asked a question about, you know, how do I maintain these boundaries between work and home? Like, how do I leave? the stress from work at work and then have that boundary for when I get home. One of the resources I referred her to was this exact training which has several different rituals to downregulate your nervous system, to leave work at work. It's also really relevant because This weekend is my 32nd birthday and I am going to be doing a flash sale for my birthday. To give you guys, since I'm turning 32, I'm going to give you guys 32 percent off for the burnout recovery bundle. The Burnout Recovery Bundle is a self paced video training series that helps you correct for three of the most common energy drains leading to burnout. Nervous system dysregulation, career values misalignment, and the unworthiness wound. Nervous system dysregulation happens when the capacity of your nervous system is maxed out because hyperarousal for way too long. Generally, you first notice it when you're in a freeze type of response. Where you feel exhausted, you're unable to get yourself off the couch, but you also feel really anxious and like your heart's racing. Like you feel kind of frozen but restless and agitated at the same time. Like wired but tired. In the Burnout Recovery Bundle, I share 90 minutes of video training around nervous system regulation, what it is, why it's so important, how to start practicing it. I also have provided a toolkit, which is honestly so priceless because it's 18 different techniques. for calming your nervous system all in one convenient library. And when you learn how to use these tools and regulate your nervous system, you will notice a deeper state of calm and naturally increased energy. Another huge energy drain happens when our careers and our values are misaligned. So if one of your biggest values, for example, is freedom and flexibility, and you can't take a random Wednesday off because one of your kids gets sick and you need to go pick them up from school, that's a values misalignment. If your value is connection and you have to rush through these 15 minute patient visits, barely making eye contact, checking off a list behind your computer, that's a values misalignment. So in module two, I walk you through a workshop to identify your values, determine what your career needs to look like in order to meet your values. This is one of the first exercises I do with my one to one clients, and it seriously is such a crowd favorite. The amount of clarity that people have from going through this values workshop is truly, truly incredible. So by the end of this module, you'll understand from a values standpoint why you're feeling burnt out and what sort of changes need to be made in your career to adjust. The unworthiness wound is another hugely important piece of burnout recovery because if you constantly feel like you're not good enough, that you need to prove yourself, you need to hustle for your worthiness, you're going to burn yourself out trying to gain external validation. Once you can start to accept your worthiness, you'll be able to learn how to rest, to start setting boundaries, and stop engaging in behaviors that are leading to burnout. This course is entirely self paced, which means you get to do it on your own time and you have lifetime access to it. I am so excited to go on this journey with you to help you take control of your burnout and stop feeling so drained. If this is something you're interested in, I head to the link in the show notes. Grab your burnout recovery bundle using the code Birthday 32 to get your 32% off. This is gonna be good through the end of October, just as a way for me to celebrate my birthday with you guys. Burnout recovery bundle. 32 percent off using the code BIRTHDAY32. If you enjoy the content of this training today, then you are really gonna love the burnout recovery bundle. So without further ado, let's get to today's show. Welcome to the Life After Medicine podcast, where we help you create a fulfilling and non traditional career as a healthcare worker. I'm your host, Chelsea Turchin. In 2019, I left the hustle and grind of my OBGYN residency and set out to create a fulfilling career on my own terms. Now I'm a best selling author, career and burnout coach, and world traveler. Through this podcast, I'll show you how to enjoy your work, make an impact, and support yourself financially. Without all the stress and burnout you are currently experiencing. Let's get to the show. Hello, my loves. I'm so excited that you're joining me today what we're going to cover today. Is something that you do have control over as a healthcare worker. So there's a lot of things that are outside of your control. There's a lot of insurance company regulations and ways that your practice or hospital system tells you to do things. There's a lot of things that you do not have control over. And I fully recognize and honor that. But one thing that you do have control over. is your brain and why, while it might not seem like you have control over it maybe what I mean is that there's a way for you to exert control over your brain and to train and rewire your brain to move through life differently. So it's going to be stress and anxiety management from a brain based neurologic perspective. So what we're going to talk about, let me just reduce my size. We're going to talk about how anxiety works. It's important to understand why you experience anxiety on a neurological level, because once you understand how your brain starts these patterns and cycles of anxiety, then you can see the different ways where you can interrupt the anxiety, modify it, and really start to change the brain's circuitry. To reduce your anxiety. So that's why it's important to understand how your brain's firing and wiring and how it's working so that we can take those places and create interventions directly targeting your brain based neuropsychology. And then we're going to go through three practical strategies that you can implement right away to start rewiring your brain and reducing your anxiety. And I'm going to talk about what they are. Why they work from the neurological perspective and also how to implement them. There are two separate pathways that are responsible for initiating anxiety in your brain. There's the cortex pathway and the amygdala pathway. And the reason it's important to know that there are two different pathways, they're very interrelated and sometimes they're both activated at the same time. But depending on which one is more activated or Which one is more common for you to experience anxiety that the interventions differ based on which pathway is activated. So for example, if you notice that, okay, I think my anxiety is more cortex based anxiety. I'm having just all these racing thoughts, all these self doubts just constantly ruminating replaying scenarios. It's very like a mental anxiety. If that's the case, then there's specific interventions that are going to help more specifically with. cortical anxiety. Whereas if you're experiencing anxiety on an amygdala level, which is really in the physical body, fight, flight, or freeze, if you're waking up with panic attacks, feeling fear, just very physically feeling your heart racing, feeling heaviness in your chest, or just an uneasiness in your stomach, all of that. Then you're experiencing more amygdala based anxiety. And that means interventions targeted at the rewiring the circuitry of the amygdala are going to be most effective. So I hope that this makes sense. I'm not just coming up here to drone on and show you everything I know about anxiety, but it's very practical to be able to recognize that there's two different pathways. and to identify which one you experience more symptoms from so that you can choose which interventions you need to do to target those specific pathways. So I hope all of that makes sense. And I went through them just a moment ago, but just to reiterate cortex anxiety happens more in a mental way. So this is, if you are You know, you're having a lot of racing thoughts. You keep replaying situations from work. You keep wondering oh, did I check my inbox? Did I respond to that message? Did I what if I did this thing wrong? Like it's where you're constantly in your head and really in your mind. This is a very common way to experience anxiety. It's not the only way. So the other way is through the amygdala, like we talked about. And that's the more like primitive primal experience of anxiety. I used to experience this a lot in medical school where I would start having panic attacks, but in my conscious mind, there wasn't anything in particular that I was ruminating over or feeling stressed about, but your body doesn't lie. So if your body's having panic attacks, there's something on the physiological level of your body that you are stressing about. But that can happen when anxiety doesn't make sense. So like you're just anxious and you don't know why you're just feeling it in your body, but you're like, there's nothing I can really link it to. That's amygdala anxiety. And I think that also helps to explain, like you don't have to ignore it or tell yourself there's nothing that you're anxious about. So it, it doesn't matter. You should, shouldn't be anxious. Don't worry about it. The logical brain trying to logic your way out of this amygdala anxiety is not going to work. There's specific ways to target the body to allow your body to feel safe that target the amygdala anxiety. So that's why it's important to know about the two different types. For the purposes of this talk, we're mostly going to go into the more cortical anxiety, but I'll also, one of the strategies I give you is more for the amygdala anxiety. I find it so helpful to understand what is anxiety because I think a lot of us have these assumptions like I'm an anxious person. I'm high strung. I have anxiety. I just get stressed out a lot like we have these ideas about who we are, and we really relate anxiety back to our personality, and I identify with our anxiety, but that doesn't have to be the case and so I find it really helpful to understand actually what is anxiety. So that we can create some distance from anxiety and realize that it's, it doesn't have to be this final state of who we are. So anxiety is very simply a conditioned pattern of neural circuitry. So basically your brain has developed neural pathways that fire in a certain way. that trigger patterns of anxiety. So in response, sometimes they can fire in response to certain stimuli in the world around you. Sometimes they can fire randomly, but it's essentially just a way that your brain has developed circuitry and it's just how your brain operates. Now, the specific circuitry that your brain develops happens based on the experiences that you have. So you're not born with these. Conditioned patterns of anxiety neuroscientist, Joseph Liddell says that people don't come preassembled. Oops, there's a typo here, but are glued together by life. And in that quote, he's talking about neuroplasticity. So we don't come with all of these circuits programmed into our brain, but as we go through life. Our brain, our neurons develop these patterns of connection and wiring and firing, and they develop this circuitry that causes us to replay similar patterns of thought over and over again. We don't just do this with anxiety. We do this with other thoughts. There's certain, rumination thoughts that you're just always thinking those can lead to depression. So basically what happens is at some point in your life, if you're somebody who feels like you have a lot of anxiety, then at some point in your life, You learn patterns of anxiety. You learn to worry. So for me, I definitely learned patterns of worry. I think I may have learned it growing up. My mom worried all the time. She had a lot of anxiety. And so anxiety was very much modeled for me. And so that's how my brain learned to operate. You have a pattern of neural circuitry, right? And neurons operate under what's called survival of the busiest. So basically, whatever you devote a great deal of time to thinking about is more likely to be strengthened. So over the years that you learned to worry, you started worrying these patterns of worry developed in your brain and. The more you worried, the more you focused on worry, the more those circuits are lighting up and firing. Oh, they're really busy. Those connections are going to be so strong. They're going to have these deep grooves in your brain, almost like a river forming the Grand Canyon, right? It creates these deep grooves within your brain. And so you're hardwiring yourself to think in this certain way. So this knowledge about the way our brain creates patterns of anxiety is very helpful and has several implications. So one of the implications is that anxiety is mostly an internal process. Yes, there are some external stimuli that trigger it, but a lot of times the external stimuli that are triggering our anxiety. could actually be interpreted as neutral, but the way our brain is interpreting them is as threatening. And then that's creating our anxiety. So it's not just fully the external circumstances. I think it's really easy for us to say my job causes me stress. My partner causes me stress. My kids cause me stress. And while they might be a trigger for an anxiety pattern that you have, That doesn't have to be the case. A lot of times, if they're not actually causing you physical harm or physical danger, then we can look at how, look at all these different things that are triggering our anxiety and find ways to start interpreting them in a less threatening manner. So again, it's a process, but it's doable. So anxiety is more of an internal process and that's empowering. That is an empowering thing because it means you're in control of the way you interpret the world around you. And I think we intuitively know this to be true because you can see that, people can interpret situations completely differently, and they can act differently, even when they're in the same situation for like example, if you're traveling and a flight is delayed or canceled. There are some people who are angry and they're so mad and they're screaming and but then there's other people who are just calm and chill. And so it doesn't, it's not necessarily the outside situation or circumstance that is causing you to feel a certain way, but more the way your mind is interpreting those situations. That being said, that doesn't mean. Like I still fully have empathy for all of the situations that you experience as a healthcare worker. I know there's so many situations that are not ideal and circumstances that are not ideal. And this isn't to say those are invalid or those don't matter because they do, they fully matter. And there are ways to start relating to your environment differently that are just going to help you feel better. So it's not about blaming yourself. It's just about how can I hack this brain thing to make me feel better. And so I just say that to be fully empowering to you along with that, you can unlearn these patterns of anxiety, just in the same way your brain developed these circuits to begin with that led to anxiety. You can develop healthier circuits. You can start to change the way that you interpret stimuli around you. you can start to change your points of focus. There's a lot of things that you can do. You can relate to your thoughts differently. There's a lot of things you can do to rewire your brain and unlearn patterns of anxiety and it can change. And so I want to give you hope and optimism in that. And I also want to keep it. Super realistic because it's not instantaneous. It doesn't change overnight. And so it is really important to be patient with yourself as you unlearn these patterns of worry, these patterns of anxiety, because it can be really frustrating once you start to realize that there are patterns in your brain. And it takes, there's, it takes time to rewire them. And that period of time can be very frustrating. So I want to just paint a realistic picture of that for you and reassure you that it's normal for it to take some time. Think of how many years you've been thinking the other thoughts and you've had those old patterns of thinking. So to change your patterns of thinking, it does take some time. There is a process that happens in our cortex. So this is part of the cortical pathway of anxiety that. That contributes to anxiety in this process is called cognitive fusion. And essentially what this is believing that all of our thoughts are the absolute truth. So anytime you have a worry thought of any kind, you immediately accept it as this ultimate reality without thinking that it can be questioned. For example, you're going through your day and you're thinking I'm not spending enough time with patients. I don't know what I'm doing this, this patient is going to be mad at me because I wasn't able to spend 20 minutes with them. I didn't address all their concerns. You're going through these processes and it's just a thought that you're having. In your brain, but you believe it to be true, although there's no real facts or evidence telling you that it's just a conditioned pattern of thought that's just popping into your head. But when you, when cognitive fusion happens, you believe this to be true. And that contributes to anxiety because it's essentially like taking every single worry thought at face value and taking every single worry thought. Super seriously, and you can see how that would contribute to anxiety because, not every single thought that you have. Is based on reality. Some thoughts that you have, they're just thoughts. They just pop in there and it's what are you doing in there? That's not based on reality, but when you believe that they are, it causes you to have even more anxiety. So now let's get into three practical strategies for how to manage the stress and anxiety because I think, it's important to understand the biology and the psychology and neurology of all of this. But what's really important is like how we can use that in our everyday lives. So the first strategy for reducing and managing stress and anxiety is mindfulness meditation. What is that exactly? I think of this, there's many different ways to meditate. I think of a mindfulness type meditation as sitting down in silence, picking a point of focus. So maybe that's the breath. Maybe that is a mantra. Usually for me, it's the breath. So picking a point to to try to focus, bring your attention. And then. Watch when you get distracted in your thoughts, notice it and bring your attention back to the point of focus. Now, meditation is not about controlling your thoughts. It's not about stopping your thoughts. It's just about creating some space between you. And all the conditioned thoughts that just pop into your brain. So there's like an ultimate authority you, there's like the adult you, we could say, and then there's like just all the thoughts that pass by you and I like to think of it like. Pretending that you're just sitting on the side of the road and all your thoughts are cars that are passing by the road and you're just watching your thoughts like you're watching cars passing by on the road. You don't have to get out into the middle of the street. And stop the cars, you're just observing them. So it's just creating some distance between you and your thoughts. And it's going to be difficult to start with. There's a lot of times that we get distracted. But really, it doesn't matter how many times you get distracted, how many times you get caught back up in your thoughts. All that matters is the moment you notice you're getting caught in your thoughts and you bring your attention back to your focal point. The reason this works is because it reduces cognitive fusion, the thing I just talked about. This creates some distance between you and your thoughts, and it allows you to see your thoughts from a more objective standpoint, instead of always believing every thought that pops into your head. For me, meditation was a game changer. I call it my gateway personal growth habit. I started meditating during medical school and before, before meditating, I was never able to make any of the changes I wanted to in my life because I didn't have this, the space between my thoughts and my response. There are Victor. Was that Victor guy who wrote man search for meaning he has that quote that's like between stimulus and response lies in man's ability to choose and in that ability to choose is your freedom, something along those lines. And so having creating space between the stimulus. And your response meditation creates that it reduces cognitive fusion, creates that distance. And it's hugely helpful in reducing your stress. I'm sure you've heard about it before and probably have all kinds of resistance to it. A lot of my clients have resistance to this as well. I think some of the things that are most helpful to ease your resistance is one you don't have to be good at it. That's not a thing you don't have to stop or control your thoughts. All you have to do is sit down and just try to watch your thoughts. Just try to see if you can observe what's going on. See if you can focus on your breath and it doesn't have to be a big deal. It doesn't have to be something you beat yourself up about. It doesn't have to take long. You can really just do it for five minutes a day. If that's all you have time for or want to dedicate time to my recommendation for getting started, since this is not a comprehensive meditation course my recommendation is to download the app headspace. They have a 10 day free trial in which they have a 10 day lesson, your meditate each day, and it's a guided meditation. They walk you through the strategy and the process for how to meditate. Once you do that, you can cancel the thing. You don't have to pay for it, but just getting that free trial is something that allows you to be introduced to the technique of meditating that I find the most helpful for me. The next strategy for reducing stress is to change your point of focus. And I should say that going back to mindfulness meditation, this is one that really helps reduce, it helps reduce actually both types of anxiety. It helps reduce the cortical anxiety because it allows you to create distance between your thoughts. And each thought, you're not interpreting it as so anxiety producing, but it also can help you reduce a mental anxiety. If you're doing some kind of slow breathing as a part of the meditation. Okay. Changing your point of focus. This is more specifically for the cortical, like cognitive anxiety. And so what is this when you're worrying? When you're going into the, when you're having those thoughts spirals, when you're ruminating, when you're obsessing over doubts and you're having intrusive thoughts, usually you're focusing on things that just to sum it up are not serving you. Usually you're focusing on the negative outcome or potential negative outcomes. You're anticipating things going wrong. You're just focusing on a bunch of crap that's making you feel bad. So when you are able to change your point of focus, you're viewing the world. from a less threatening lens. So like your point of focus, there's a million things going on at any one time and your brain can only focus on so much, right? You can only focus on, you can only take in so many stimuli at one time. And that's your point of focus. What you're focusing on is what you're taking in, but there's so many other things going on outside of your awareness. So when you're worrying, when you have anxiety, a lot of times the things that you're focusing on. You're viewing it from this like lens of being threatened. You're viewing it from, you're just taking in all the negative parts of your environment. And changing this lens just allows you to interpret your situations differently. And so a quick and easy way to do this is by journaling on three questions with three points of focus. So what I would recommend is if you're feeling like you're in a worry spiral, a thought spiral, you're just like spinning out in some way. You just get a piece of paper out. And ask yourself these three questions. Am I focusing on what I have or what's missing? Usually when you're in anxiety, you're focusing on what's missing, right? This patient's not here. This result is not in, you're focusing on what is not there. What is missing from your experience? So how can I focus? So first acknowledge what are you focusing on? Is it what I have or what's missing? Great. Okay. How can I focus more on what I have? What do I have in this moment? If the results not in, what do I have an idea of when it will be in, do I have the phone number of the lab that I can call to see when it will be in, do I have time before the patient comes in? So it's actually, okay, the result doesn't need to be here right now. Do I have other information I can provide the patient? Do I, what do I have? How can I focus on what I have? Okay, next question. Am I focusing on what I can control? Or what I can't control a lot of times when you're feeling anxiety, you're focusing on all the things you can't control and all, and that's really anxiety provoking in and of itself, because it just makes you feel helpless and powerless. And that just really sucks. So ask yourself what you're focusing on. Usually it's going to be what you can't control trying to control other people. One thing is my focusing on what other people are doing. You can't control that. You can influence that. You can find ways to better influence people, but you cannot control their actions at the end of the day. And so how can I focus on what I can control? So if, for example, like my staff is rooming people wrong, or, my staff is not listening to the X, Y, Z, you, at the end of the day, you cannot control what they do, but what can you control? You can control. How you influence them, how you manage them. So maybe, can you learn a little bit more about how to influence people, how to manage people, how to get what you want in work situations? Like it just bring the focus back to what you can control. Okay. Next, am I focusing on the past, the present or the future? Usually with worry, you're focused on the future. Sometimes though, you can also be focused on the past. So let's say you're lying in bed at night and just ruminating on a patient encounter and oh, I should have ordered this test. I should have done that. And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So am I focusing on the past, present, or future? Now, sometimes it's helpful. Like you have a moment when you get home from work being like, I should have ordered this great. Fine. Go act on that. Go do what you can. To, if it's urgent, you can act on that. You can do what you need to take care of that. If there's something you can actually do about it right now. But a lot of times we're just ruminating on things that there's no physical action we can take to make it better. So am I focusing on the past, present or future? Usually when. You're feeling anxious. You're not going to be focusing on the present. You're going to be, analyzing the past, worrying about what's to come in the future. And so ask yourself, how can I focus on the present? This doesn't mean ignoring that there is going to be a future and preparing for things in the future. It doesn't mean pretending there's never going to be a future at all. But what's really important is to ground yourself and bring yourself back down to the present moment. I find a really helpful way to do that as through just a five senses meditation. So just quickly, scanning your environment, naming what are five things I can see right now? Close your eyes. What can I hear right now? what else smell, taste, feel, just going through all the five senses and just grounding yourself in the present moment. That's really helpful for me. And honestly, I love doing these questions. Cause it, it becomes like a game to me. And it really if your mind is worrying, it likes to worry because it's something to do basically it keeps your brain busy. And then this gives your brain like a new game to play. And I have found it to be super effective in just okay. Wait, how can I focus on what I can control? What can I control? And it's not about being all like sunshine and rainbows. It actually, it's just like a strategy and you're just playing a little game with yourself to bring your focus to different areas. And I find it to be very fun and very effective. So I highly recommend this. The final thing you can do is an end of work day ritual. And this is very much targeting the more amygdala pathway. Basically what it means is at the end of the workday, you complete some sort of small ritual that signals to your body. It's time to relax, time to party. No, probably just it's time to relax. It, what this is going to do is you're going to choose. A ritual that's going to help target your nervous system and down, regulate that into parasympathetic mode. The important thing here is choosing a very easy activity, right? Don't make it complicated. Don't make like a spreadsheet so you can track your end of work day ritual. That's not going to work. Unless it does for you, but I was just for most of my clients, the simpler we keep it, the better. My suggestion is that the activity take between one to five minutes. And we'll go ahead and pick. I'll have ideas for the activity in the next section. But then the other thing that is important is having your power of intention. So you're not just mindlessly doing the activity. You actually want to be clear while you're doing the activity yo, this is the end of the workday. It's time to relax now. I'm gonna let go of the stress of the workday. I'm gonna clear my mind, have whatever your intention is release tension, let it go. It can be super simple, but having a certain power, having a certain intention makes this activity really powerful. Examples. I had a weird amount of fun making this page, but my, okay, some examples are just like singing the same song in the car and it doesn't have to be the same song forever and ever, but maybe for one month, this is your end of the day song. And okay, it's also going to depend on, do you commute to work, do you work from home, what's your deal. But it's, it is important in advance to choose your actual location. Like the moment I get in the car, I'm going to do this. As soon as I if you live alone, you don't have a family to deal with, not to deal with families. I'm sure are wonderful blessing. They're great. But if you live alone, you don't have a family to interact with, you can, it can be right when you walk in the door from work, picking a place where you're realistically going to be able to do this reliably without other distractions is really important. So I would say in the car, right when you get in the door, picking like a cue in your environment. And in your daily routine, that's when you're going to like activate end of work ritual. It could also be when you walk out the door of your office or if you're working from home, the moment you shut your computer down, whatever it is. So you need to have that cue. I didn't write that on here, but that's important to have that cue of like when you're going to do it and then decide what it is you're going to do. And again, keep it very simple, less than five minutes. So you could sing a song in the car. Singing is really good because it activates your vocal cords and your vagus nerve runs through your vocal cords. And so when you're singing, when you're humming, all of that it's activating your parasympathetic nervous system and having you calm your nervous system down. So singing a song, picking a song and just jamming out in the car, you can even do that while you're driving home, super efficient. That's great. Or even just listening to the song, or if you like. commute on public transportation and you don't want to sing, then just putting your headphones in, listening to the same song. Remember while you're listening to the song, you can focus on your breathing. You can put the intention out there that like, releasing tension, letting go of the day. You can even make your song, let it go. I'm one of them and make it all about letting go of the day or whatever it is you want to do to shake it off. It could be another song. You could just do one to five minutes of deep breathing. One of my clients said that singing or having a dance party didn't feel authentic for her, which is. fine, right? That's my vibe. That doesn't have to be your vibe. And so she just wanted to do some deep breathing and that's great. You could turn on some relaxing music or no music at all. Just have silence, do one to five minutes of deep breathing. You could do a dance party along with the singing party. Just do some shaking, shake it off, whatever you want to do. A short yoga sequence. A cold shower even. So if none of these sound really appealing to you, something that is super effective in downregulating your nervous system is taking a cold shower and you really only have to have it be the cold part for 30 seconds to one minute to have these benefits. So any of these or anything else you want to do, the important thing is that it allows you to start calming down your nervous system, that it's super short. That you can do it every day and that you're going to actually commit to it. So your next steps are to choose one of these practical strategies and implement it for one week. So either meditate, do the focus exercise, or choose an end of work day ritual. You can do them all, but I would say if you're feeling like, Oh, this is too much. I do not want you to be overwhelmed. Choose one, start small. At the end of the week, check in. And take notice of what differences you observe in your body and your anxiety and how you're reacting and responding to things. Start to take notice. The more we realize that the changes we're making are having a positive difference, the more we consciously recognize that also helps us to rewire. our nervous system and our brain. Our brain is part of our nervous system. I didn't need to say those separately. But learning and it also just gives you motivation to continue. So choose one, implement it for a week. At the end of the week, take a moment to check in. You can even message me if you want to. To and tell me what differences you noticed, what differences you observed in your anxiety. And finally, one of my favorite quotes about worry is that worry pretends to be necessary. And this is by Eckhart Tolle, who is a wonderful spiritual teacher and wrote the book, the power of now. I think a lot of us believe there's a utility in worrying that we can worry our way into positive outcomes that we can, when we stress over things, that's why they resolve themselves or that's why they turn out well. But I really challenge you to question that and to ask yourself, is that really true? Is the reason this is working out for me because I worried about it or could I just take the actions that I needed to take from a calm state of mind? And that'll be okay. It's safe to release your anxiety. It's safe to not worry. And it takes time to feel that to really believe that. But I promise you it's a hundred percent true that you don't need anxiety at the level you're experiencing it. To function well in the world. So let's work on challenging that and rewiring that. And that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Life After Medicine podcast. Make sure to leave a review and subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. If you want to continue the conversation, share your takeaways, and connect with other like minded healthcare workers, then come join us in the Life After Medicine Facebook group. The link to join the group is in the show notes. I can't wait to connect with you further.

STOP STRESSING Stress management For Healthcare Professionals_1080p