Take A Deep Breath….

…and slowly let it go….like 4 seconds slow.  Slowing down the exhale signals the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the body.

How are you all doing during this global pandemic?

If there was ever a time to implement self-care (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual), now would be that time.  And if we can’t go out to our usual (or unusual) places, then we actually do have the time.  Here are some self-care tips that have worked for me and my peeps:

  1. Start Reading.  Remember that list of books and magazines you’ve been putting off or have stacked in a pile on your bedroom floor?  Start reading or donate what you know you won’t read.
  2. Get Physical.  Did your gym or fitness center close?  That’s ok. There are so many free YouTube videos for various workouts of your choosing. This is one I particularly like:  Simply Fit
  3. Pray/Meditate.  Did your church or spiritual gathering place close? No problem. Create a mini sanctuary somewhere in your home….even the corner of your dining room will do.  Light a candle each morning, sit, pray, meditate…or just breathe.  I like to have relaxing music in the background and plants around me.  Sometimes a kitty joins me too.  The Calm or Insight Timer app is great for guided meditations.  And saying a quick prayer for those truly suffering around the world helps us to feel interconnected.
  4. Get back to Nature!  Go outside!  Walk, bike, paddleboard, kayak, hike, shoot some hoops, yoga on your lawn.  My favorite is a walk in the woods amongst the trees.  Sometimes they have stories to tell us.  The UV rays are good for our immune systems and the Vitamin D is good for our mental health.  Being out in nature also soothes the nervous system.
  5. Cook.  Find interesting and healthy recipes you’ve been curious about and start creating.  The act of cooking can feel so nurturing, especially if we’re cooking with loved ones and using healthy ingredients. My son told me recently he wants to learn how to cook some of his favorite dishes.
  6. Be of service to others. Don’t overdo it though, my people-pleasers!  Start a neighborhood group where someone can call another to help with groceries or whatever necessary errands are needed.  I am turning my Little Free Library into a Little Free Pantry with non-perishable foods and toilet paper.  Because our brains are wired for love, being of service (no matter how small that act of service may appear) is so good for our mental and physical health.  How does your body feel right now as you think about a kind act of service? My heart space feels warm and my gut feels excited!
  7. Create.  Creativity is so wonderful for the soul and also helps calm the nervous system:  Write a blog post or an article (Hey, I’m doing this right now), paint your bedroom walls, make greeting cards, take that online photography class you’ve been thinking about, make some new recipes, color with your kids, build a fort out of cardboard, create a website for your business, make a workout video and share it with others.  Whatever you do, just create.
  8. Essential Oils.  Have you ever tried essential oils to help boost your physical and/or mental health?  Essential oils are the natural, highly concentrated essences extracted from specific herbs in their living state for their healing capabilities. Essential oils can be derived from plants, shrubs, flowers, grasses, fruits, bushes, seeds, roots, bark and trees. Since essential oils are bio-familiar to humans, they can also help balance and support the human body to heal itself. Research has shown that essential oils help us fight infection (with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties), balance hormones and emotions and aid in regeneration. Essential oils also help the brain, reviving a tired mind and stimulating memory. Different fragrances of essential oils will relax, revitalize or renew your mind, body and soul. I’ve tried several over the years, but have found Vibrant Blue Oils to be most effective.  Calm and Parasympathetic have been amazing for me and my clients so far during this current public health crisis.
  9. Reflect.  This is an opportunity for introspection.  Connecting with yourself: If you don’t have the usual distractions around you, who are you and what are your priorities in this one amazing life?  When this global crisis finally comes to an end, do you want to continue down this current path of your life’s journey or is it time to make some changes? Take the time now to consider what those changes might be.
  10. Connect.  This is where our advanced technology will come in handy.  If you can’t visit with your friends or loved ones because of travel bans or social distancing boundaries, then connect with them via FaceTime or the Marco Polo app. My therapy practice is currently offering virtual video sessions as an optional alternative to in-person sessions. If you currently have a therapist, but don’t feel comfortable seeing them in person, ask them if they are able to offer video sessions.  Stay connected.

If there is only one take-away from this global crisis, it’s to remember that we only have one precious Earth and one precious, short life to fully express our hidden awesomeness. Ok, those are two take-aways. The point is the world needs your fully expressed YOU.  Please come out of hiding.

Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

~Howard Thurman