You spend most of your days (and nights) racing around helping everyone and taking care of everything that needs your attention. Those who give to others, rarely take enough time for themselves. From volunteering to being a parent, the energy that life requires can suck us dry. Here are some ways to replenish your body, mind and spirit.
* train yourself like you train a dog or cat by using ritual and cues – an example is every day at 7am I do a breathing meditation and when I feel as relaxed and happy as I can I smell my essential oil which means during the day that smell cues my body to breathe deep and relax. I carry the bottle in my purse at all time so that it acts as a cue for a conditioned response – just like the word “sit” tells a dog to do so!
* establish a ritual for breathing, meditation, exercise, journaling, using a day planner and do it every day as much as possible include objects or colors that have meaning to you. Over time when you see that color out and about your body will respond by relaxing.
* Meditation isn’t all there is. People can relax through exercise, extreme sports, music, chanting a word over and over, reading, writing, a new study even says that for some people heavy metal music can help manage stress and emotion.
* Take some time and explore how you want to feel – not how you should feel or how other people want you to feel. What do you want to feel and what word(s) comes the closest? Anchor that word by using it as a mantra or write it on post-it notes (I LOVE post it notes!) so that you see it during the day. Especially put it in places that are typically stressful.
* Use your calendar. Let me say that again – use your calendar and make the commitment to keep appointments with yourself just as you would anyone else.
* Set alarms on your cell phone to stop, regroup and take 3 deep breaths (360 breathing: 3 deep breaths in 60 seconds) several times a day and when possible after those breaths pair the feeling with a smell. When the alarm goes off – do it! Go to the bathroom if you need to step out of a meeting or class. End the phone call or put it on hold. Do whatever it takes to follow that cue of the alarm so that it becomes a habit.
Bottom line – you are in control of how you feel and how you commit to self-care even though initially it seems like the environment has all the power. You’re not a victim of your schedule. If you can remember to brush your teeth you can remember to take 5 or 10 minutes daily to take care of yourself and your inner state. You’ll still take a hit when things happen suddenly but in time and with training you will be able to catch emotional responses and respond as you choose to respond.
A BIG thank you to Michelle Wolff MEd of Catty Shack Designs for these tips. Learn more about her services on her site!