This is school vacation week. Are any of you taking off to enjoy a vacation with your family? I hope so. All too often, however, this means that we are in the midst of chaos as we frantically try to tie up all the loose ends before we leave. Then when we return from vacation there is so much to catch up on we feel we need another vacation immediately afterwards. Or perhaps, your life is a constant whirlwind of activities. One of the colleges that I have been teaching at for almost two decades now is for adult learners who go to school full time, work full time and have families and all sorts of other things going on in their lives. How in the world do they have time to find time to relax and find balance. That is the questions they often ask me when they take my Preventative Holistic Health class and I suggest the actually DO some of the techniques they are learning about.
I am showing another amazing movie this month with Joan Boryenskeo. She is a pioneer in the field on Mind Body Medicine. She like all of us can get caught in the chaos and lose her balance and she describes these moments in the film and how she regains it again. I tell my clients and students that there are many times when I may not be able to sit in a long meditation like I prefer to do on a daily basis. But when I can carve out that time of day for myself, I do find the rest of my days and week goes so much easier and flows so much more peaceful.
But let’s get real. There are some days, some periods in our lives when that simply isn’t possible. So what can we do? Here is one answer. Can you breathe? Can you take one moment…perhaps two or three moments out of your day and take three deep breaths? You may have to do that several times a day if you are really going crazy and feeling stressed, but we can all at least do that. There are also simple questions, to retrain our minds to be in the moment such as “Where are you?” (Here) “What Time is it?” (Now), “What is Happening?" (This Moment), that can also bring you back into present moment mindfulness. It doesn’t take more than a moment.
You may not have time to do a full progressive muscle relaxation if you were taught this in a self hypnosis or guided imagery class but you can do a quick body scan. I am currently taking a Somatic Body Coaching Class and this is one technique we have learned that can be helpful for many different reasons. When you are finding yourself tense anytime during the day, or if you know you have an important meeting or contact, prior to this event just take a few moments and scan your body.
Stand or sit with your feet about as far apart from your shoulders or slightly wider and also turn your toes in slightly. Get in a comfortable position but a position that your spine is straight and make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Your knees should be unlocked. You can then scan your body from the top of your head to your toes as quickly or as slowly as you have time to do by bringing awareness to the top of your head. You notice any sensations that are there. Continue moving your awareness to all your muscles groups in your face, jaw, neck, shoulders. If you find any places where your muscles are tense just breathe. Yes…there is that word again. Allow the muscles to relax, even if the release is slight. Continue to bring awareness to all areas of your body down to your toes. You can also add energy techniques of moving the energy from the earth through your body and up your chakras and then down through your Crown Chakra as you continue to breathe in energy as your finish your scan. By simply bringing awareness to the muscles and areas that are tense you are often able to relax and let go off the tension needed to continue on your day in a more balanced and effective manner. Then if you DO have more time later in the day you can take the time to go back and do more extensive relaxation on those areas later.
The most important tip I can impart this month though is not too despair when life throws you a pattern of crazy schedules and deadlines. Nine times out of ten there IS a way to schedule in time for self care and when there is we are much more effective, healthier and peaceful. But when there isn’t time, we can always find creative ways to have fun, or find some time for harmony and joy. It may be just quick breathing techniques. It may just be a change in attitude. Embracing the chaos rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.
If you haven’t seen this link yet and this amazing child click on below. She starts her day this way. This takes her just a few minutes. Try this a few times a week and see how it can impact your life and schedule.
Changing your perspective and being grateful for all the activities you have in your life right now. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. One of the quotes I remember most from my Social Work Community Organization class was from the great community organizer Saul Alinsky “An Organizer Must Learn To Be Comfortable With Disorganization.” This winter when we had so many snow storms I started to email people and suggested we embrace the snow and winter. What we resist persist. Just a change in attitude and learning to embrace something that we are in the midst of can make the difference in how we react. We can learn something from it and we can even find some peace and balance from it. By the way, my way of embracing the winter was to make snow angels in my back yard. I figured I am an Angel Therapy Practitioner…it seemed like a good option. My dog liked the idea also as it was the only place she could find to pee in as the snow was too high. I am sure the angels didn’t mind.
Bottom line, do what you can to take care of yourself. And if life gives you a fast roller coaster ride then go for the ride. Stop resisting and see if you can find a new way to find balance in your day that you never might have imagined before.
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