Wow, what a whirlwind of a year it’s been already, and there are undoubtedly intense times ahead. You might find yourself feeling burned out and engaging in old familiar unhealthy habits. Maybe you’re riddled with anxiety and stress or just “blah.” Now is a time for gentleness combined with tenacity, for incredible patience combined with perseverance, for great self-acceptance and radical self honesty. You might be thinking sarcastically, “Is that all?”
If your head isn’t often spinning these days, I commend you on your self-management. But if you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling like the rug has been pulled right out from under you. Sometimes I have to remind myself that just because our calendar year switches over to 2021 soon, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the challenges are over. I believe we are in the midst of a great awakening, a great shifting of global consciousness, and that right now we are experiencing a purge. The darkness is coming out into the light, to be healed, individually and collectively. We still have work to do. Each of us has a unique role to play in this great shifting, and we are most powerful when we are calm and connected in mind, body, and spirit. Thank you for doing your work. I wish you rest when you’re tired. I wish you comfort when you’re scared. And I wish you enormous courage and a rockin’ good tune when you’re ready to shake off that old skin, step out of line (or in), and dance your own brand new dance. While you’re doing your work, I have some very simple tips to help you stay grounded and keep you rooted in love.
Connect with your body
Most anxiety, stress, and fear is born in the mind and pulls us out of our bodies. When we’re disconnected from our bodies, we’re more likely to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Returning to your body creates a present moment connection, and with it the remembrance that the only real power you have is in the now. You can make choices in every moment that can direct your energy where you want it to go. Some quick tips for connecting to your body quickly that don’t require rolling out your yoga mat:
- Take 4 breaths with a 4 count inhale and 4 count exhale. If you’re comfortable with it, you could add in a 4 count hold at the top of your inhale.
- Take one minute to shake, jiggle, bounce, jump, stomp or whatever feels natural for you to discharge any pent up energy.
- Close your eyes and see if you can locate where in your body the anxiety or stress is most concentrated; once you locate it, use your voice to release it with a few loud screams, growls, groans, howls or other primal sounds.
- Use your olfactory sense to shift your state by dabbing some calming essential oils on your heart center and navel (lavender is my go-to for this) or light some smudge or incense.
- Turn on some cathartic music and dance for one song, let your body express your feelings.
- Sometimes a warm cup of herbal tea can have a profound effect on the nervous system.
Recognize what is and isn’t yours
In this modern age of technology we are exposed to a constant stream of news, opinions, and other people’s thoughts and feelings. This can be very overwhelming, especially when we’re each dealing with our own personal challenges. Even lending a listening ear to a struggling friend or family member can have a lasting effect on your own psyche. When you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, be sure to give yourself a break from technology, social media, and the news. If you can, spend some time outside in nature. Nature has a way of helping to put things into perspective. Give yourself permission to take breaks from always being available to the adults in your life who need a lot of your energy. Boundaries are necessary for the health of all relationships. When we take the space we need, we’re able to recognize what feelings are coming from the external frenzy of the world around us versus what is rooted within and needs our attention.
Revel in your rituals
Revel in the little rituals that bring you joy and nourish your spirit. Whether it’s petting your cat on the couch while you drink your morning coffee, taking your evening walk, or coming to your mat for your yoga practice — REVEL IN IT. We need these little nourishing moments of calm, self-care, and joy now more than ever. If you don’t have little daily rituals, create some. They can be simple and short. While you’re engaged in your ritual, be as present as possible with all five senses. When the world is chaotic and there is so much unknown, these familiar routines and rituals can replenish us and keep us connected to our true selves. Beloved 3 Oms instructor, Autumn Baughn, wrote an earlier blog all about creating rituals; check it out here for more useful tips.
I think most of us are more isolated now than ever. We can relate to each other in whole new ways because of the shared experiences that the last six months have brought. While none of us are experiencing exactly the same thing, we’re all facing challenges that are a result of the same things. Reach out to your trusted friends and family and tell them how you’re feeling. You are loved and people care. We all need each other in a profound way right now and it can provide such a lift just to let the words of your heart be heard or to hear another’s. If you’re unsure whether its ok to share your feelings, you can always start the conversation with something like “I’m having a hard time. Are you in a space to lend an ear?” That way, you can give the other person the opportunity to let you know they’re too full at the moment, or give yourself the opportunity to know that your trusted confidant is fully available and listening whole-heartedly.
Make something with your hands
Go back to the basics. Healing can be simple sometimes. Cook a meal from scratch. Bake cookies. Make a card for someone only with things you have laying around your house. Play a musical instrument. Knit a coaster. Whatever calls you. Creating things is a powerful outlet for emotions and accesses a different part of our minds. The spirit is soothed through simple creative endeavors.
I hope this helps you. Please feel free to reach out to me and share any thoughts you have on this!
Gentri Watson, ERYT 500, LMT
Gentri Watson has been teaching yoga for over a decade, offering classes rich with an informative exploration of energy anatomy, yoga philosophy, and grounded alignment. Click here to learn more about Gentri and see her teaching schedule.