Automatic pilot

Published on February 19, 2020


As an intern in the emergency room, Joey was always on autopilot.  He felt like he ran from room to room trying to manage crises, follow protocol, and stay out of the way of the doctors.  He loved what he did, but he was always going.  He didn’t have time to think about what he was going to eat for dinner, let alone what he was feeling.  When he got home after his shift, his mind would race, and he would recount every patient and doctor interaction that he had that day.  He was mentally and physically exhausted.  So why couldn’t he sleep?


As the CEO of a startup, Sandy often felt that the success of the company was in her hands.  Her time management skills made her highly efficient, and she was able to accomplish more in a day than her employees would be able to in a week.  On the outside, it seemed that she could manage any employee, any team and the board of directors without breaking a sweat.  When she would get home at night, she felt like her brain was complete mush.  As soon as her head hit the pillow at night, she was out cold.  More nights than not, she would wake up at 3 A.M. completely panicked about her to-do list for the next day and the following week.

Automatic Pilot

When we move through our day on autopilot, our brain doesn’t have time to process what it needs to process.  This can lead to insomnia, brain fog or disturbing dreams.  Our mind is like any other organ; it needs time to rest and recover.  Pushing through fatigue leads to lowered focus and efficiency.

1. Check-in with yourself throughout the day: Ask yourself questions like what am I feeling?  What do I need?  When was the last time I ate or drank water?

2. Do something relaxing daily: This could be reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, meditating or even taking a bath.

3. Do something just for you: Often people are so busy taking care of others and tasks, that they forget about themselves. You can do something as simple as really sitting down and slowly eating and enjoying your meal.

4. Make time to process: Sit down with no noise and just do nothing. What is your mind trying to process?  What happened during the day that perhaps you didn’t notice or have time to attend too?

Write it out

If you still have a hard time sleeping or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, write it out.  Write what is making you anxious.  Is it something that can wait until tomorrow?  Can you write out a quick plan to resolve what is on your mind?  If you can’t come up with an idea, is it because it is something out of your control?  If it is out of your control, try to accept that it is out of your control and let it go.


If you would like to set up an appointment please reach out to me on +852 2521 4668 or email You can book a private or Skype session.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

Category(s):Anxiety, Stress Management

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Dr Borschel specialises in Attachment and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, or loss of a loved one.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and brainspotting, enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help adults, teens, and children to overcome grief, anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology. Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA) and EMDRIA certified therapist.

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