I’m reaching out as some of you have been in contact and I’m aware that many of us are experiencing some form of anxiety or worry. It goes without saying that this is a very different time and we’re asked to draw upon a very different set of tools than we often use in our daily life. Those of us that have had to navigate ourselves through very ungrounded periods of our lives previously may be in a little bit of an advantage as we’ve had to learn what works and what doesn’t work to keep ourselves sane when life becomes challenging. One way to look after yourself is to keep bringing it back to basics.
1. Ask yourself what you need right now. This sounds simple, but we can often forget. Especially those of you in a difficult social dynamic or with kids at home. Take a minute to feel into your body and see are you hungry, thirsty, would you appreciate a walk or movement, or maybe you need to sit down or lay down.
2. Breathe deeply. If the first step feels hard to access i.e. if you’re not able to connect with your own needs, take a few minutes to slow your breath. Take long, deep inhalations and let your exhalation be slightly longer than your inhalation. You’re helping your nervous system to regulate, your thoughts to clear and to ground back into your body.
3. Consider your diet. This isn’t a preachy suggestion but rather one to get you in touch with your body and what’s helpful. I’ve been through times in my life when I’ve kept a fairly yogic lifestyle and times when I’ve dove into the other end of the pool and the difference in how I feel emotionally during these times is remarkable. Grounding foods such as broths, oats, stews, whole grains as well as taking advantage of Spring abundance of greens to aid the liver is really helpful. Again this is not from the perspective of right and wrong – we are all way beyond that right now – but rather that what will bring nourishment and grounding. From the Chinese Medical perspective the Spleen/Stomach/Pancreas digestive organ systems are associated with the emotion of worry. When these processes are functioning well we are able to not only physically digest more effectively but mentally and emotionally digest the situation that we’re in.
4. If at times during the day or week that you feel frustrated or overwhelmed consider doing something nice for someone. Mothers may think – I do this all of the time! And rightly so, yet the subtle shift of doing something out of obligation versus changing the motivation to intentionally care for someone else is the key. When my kids were small this idea was shared with me by a grandmother who used to bake eclairs when she was a young mother ready to pull her hair out. This shifted the energy- she could channel her frustration and then everyone shared their appreciation of her delicious offering. A little note here ~ don’t go beyond what you can do. My favourite go to is to make oatmeal cookies or banana bread for the kids; it’s easy, healthy and appreciated. If you’re at home alone, consider making yourself something nice, put flowers in your room, do some gentle yoga or call a friend ~ whatever feels like a gift.
5. What helps your body helps your mind. Notice your posture and positioning during the day. Lift your heart, lengthen your spine, stretch while you breathe. Simply coordinating your breath with your movement helps to balance hormonal levels and calm your nervous system. There are so many of our local yoga teachers offering classes online and I encourage you to source a class or create a series of movements that you enjoy.
6. Lastly know yourself and what helps you. For me, my favourite go to’s are lavender oil on my temples or in a diffuser, chamomile tea, lemon balm, getting on my yoga mat – sometimes for a few minutes of bringing myself upside down to change perspective and sometimes to move more deeply, going for a walk, bouncing on a trampoline, gardening, beautifying a space, resting in vaparita karani or ‘legs up the wall’ pose to all be both grounding and helpful. Music, hugs, nature, appreciation, breath work…the list could go on and I will continue to share ideas, but maybe that’s enough for now. I’m also very grateful to the many nourishing herbal formulas I’ve brought home from the clinic and techniques of using acupressure/acupuncture and in due time I will hopefully find a way to share those with those who are interested. In the meantime go easy on yourself, step by step, day by day. There is no “right” way to work with this time. Consider that if you left this period feeling even a little more kindness for yourself and others that would be a reason to hold a really big party! With care, lauren 💗