[Day 1] Slow down and take deep breaths
Deep breathing is something that’s easy to do and you can do it anywhere. It’s a quick and easy way to reset, help you relax, and let go of your worries. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to help lower stress in our bodies.
There are many benefits from deep breathing! Some benefits include easing stress and anxiety, lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, and helping you to feel calm by relaxing tense muscles. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygenation exchange by improving circulation. This increases oxygenation to your vital organs such as your brain, muscles and intestines. Additional benefits you may notice include better focus, less fatigue, less pain, and improved digestion and immunity
During moments of stress, your thoughts may be drawn to past stressors or future worries. Taking deep breaths is an easy tool you can use to help you slow down, stay in the present moment and feel better. Doing deep breathing for as little as 5 minutes 3 to 4 times per day can have huge benefits. If this sounds overwhelming, even a few deep breaths once per day can help. You can eventually work your way up. Little changes make big changes over time.
Deep Breathing Technique
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit or lie down. If sitting, keep your back straight and feet flat on the floor. You may wish to close your eyes.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, just below your ribs.
- Take a slow deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds. As you breathe in, your belly should move outward against your hand. The hand on your chest should stay as still as possible.
- Holding your breath, pause for 1-2 seconds.
- Slowly breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds while slightly tightening your belly muscles. This helps push up on your diaphragm to help your air out. As you breathe out, your hand on your belly should go in.
- Do this several times until you feel you are in a relaxing rhythm. Try to deep breathe for 5-10 minutes or until you feel relaxed and less stressed. You may gradually work your way up to 15-20 minutes per day.
- Add images to your breathing. As you breathe in, imagine your body filling and spreading with calm and relaxation. As you breathe out, imagine your body releasing your stress and worries. You may want to visualize you doing this in a location which has calmed you in the past, perhaps overlooking a beach or the mountains.
- Add silent phrases to your breathing. Add “I am” during your inhalation and “calm”or “relaxed” (or whatever helps you to feel better) during your exhalation.
- Please note: In case you feel dizzy or lightheaded while performing this exercise, discontinue the exercise and try again at a later time.
It’s helpful to schedule deep breathing daily. You may wish to start your day intentionally with it, do it at lunchtime to help you reset, or do it when you get home or right before bed to help calm you and release the stress from the day.
Choosing a time that works best for you will help to establish a daily routine that will help you to get the most benefit from it.
Ready to defeat burnout…
…and renew your passion and love for medicine?
Do you feel paralyzed by feelings of desperation and aren’t sure how you can keep going if things don’t change?
Has your relentless schedule and the high stress demands of your job changed you into someone you no longer recognize?
Have you lost your passion and love for medicine?
If so, I want you to know that there’s a way to manage it all AND feel better without sacrificing your needs or your relationships with your loved ones.