Category Archives for "self care"

Taking my own advice: care

taking care by taking my own advice

I guess it happens to everyone at some point. Somewhere along the way, you forget to actually DO all the things you go on and on about. At least this happens for me sometimes. Every now and then, I get so caught up in all the things I love about life that I kind of forget about those little things that go a long way toward me feeling my best. It’s been a really long time since this has happened though. I mean, I’ve been on a streak of taking good care of myself for years. I thought I was past the point of falling off the wagon of caring well for my body.

But it happened again.

I had been going along, living my life, and everything *seemed* to be ok. I was enjoying teaching classes and leading trainings, workshops, and online courses. I mean, I honestly LOVE my life!

So, I didn’t really notice when it all started. I don’t even know what the first clues were.

All I know is, all of a sudden, I didn’t really feel like myself anymore. I felt old, and my muscles were all tight, and even some things I really enjoy, like going for a long walk, became very cumbersome.

I realized that I had let go of something I talk about ALL THE TIME! I mean, I literally talk about this aspect of yoga and holistic care several times a week with students, friends, and family. But somehow, I managed to forget to do it FOR MYSELF.

You want to know what it is?

Self-care.

I mean, I was still *kind of* doing the things. I was still starting my mornings with meditation and tea. I was still going to yoga class and having coffee with friends. I was still getting massages regularly.

But I had stopped deeply listening to what my body was SAYING. I was missing those little cues that my body gave me telling me it needed MORE. More rest. More attention. More care.

So, here I am. Listening to my body and DOING something about it! I started a protocol with my Ayurvedic Practitioner that has had AMAZING results in the last few weeks. I have enrolled myself in a 6 week program of chiropractic care and physical therapy, along with my own at-home exercises and foam rolling. And all of a sudden, I feel 15 years younger! I have started LISTENING to my body again and responding accordingly.

It’s funny how it can be so easy to let things that are so important fall by the wayside. Thankfully, a little thoughtful implementation goes a LONG WAY to restoring balance and ease in the body.

I’d like to invite you to take a few moments to really listen to YOUR body. Do you fell well? Are there areas you have been ignoring? Do you know where to start?

I cover some great tips for starting points in this article: Is your body saying, “No”? And some thoughts about inner and outer balance in this video: Are you balanced?

I’m always here to help! If you’d like a little guidance from a fellow-traveler, give me a shout and let’s schedule a 30-minute call to see how Holistic Coaching and Yoga Therapy can help YOU!

3 Tips to Break Through Burnout

Have you had a rough day or week? Worse yet, have the last few weeks blurred from one bad day to the next?

What’s really going on here?

There are quite a few possibilities. Thankfully, many are benign. Maybe you:

  • had a poor night’s sleep
  • argued with a co-worker
  • overslept and missed breakfast
  • worked a double shift and now you’re tired

If it’s one of these, no worries. An early night to bed, a nice walk, or a cup of coffee with a friend may be all you need to feel like yourself again.

But how do you keep it from turning into something more serious – like burnout?

When you get in that downward-spiral of worry, irritation, or frustration, things tend to get progressively worse. One negative thought leads to the next, and before you know it, it seems like all is lost. 

One of the most effective ways to prevent a pitfall is to make a mental shift. The first question to ask yourself is – “What am I thinking about?” If your thoughts are not beneficial, you have an important choice to make. Choose to continue down this path of despair, OR, change your thoughts. 

Rather watch? Check out this video!

It’s not easy to shift from, “Woe is me” to, “Wow, my life is awesome.” So I would like to offer a few suggestions:

1. Cultivate awareness. 

This is a great way to make an immediate change out of the negative doom-loop. Notice yourself walking down the hallway. Feel your feet in your shoes. Pay attention to the pen in your hand. Appreciate the color of the paint on the walls. Take 20 seconds to look out the window and enjoy it. 

If you’re ready for more, try this:

2. Recognize your inner dialogue and replace it with something more beneficial. 

Don’t take the easy way out here! It’s all-too-easy to replace, “This job is eating my soul for lunch” with, “It’s all good” but still live in denial. This one can take some practice, but it’s worth it! What if “This job is eating my soul for lunch” became, “Helping people is why I chose this line of work. It’s not always easy, but it fills me with joy when someone is able to create a better life.” 

Do you have a few minutes before your next appointment? If so, this next exercise can work wonders! 

3. A simple breathing practice to energize and uplift!

Sit, stand or lie down. Inhale for the count of 4. Pause for 2. Exhale for 4. Pause for 2. Repeat 3-10 times. Do this with a robust breath! Really give it your all! You want a deep inhale and exhale to exchange lots of oxygen and utilize mental effort. This will take your mind off your previous thought pattern AND create a revitalizing energy in your body! 

Preventing burnout is something you can do each and every day. Being aware and healthy sets the stage for being burnout-free. Give these tips a try and notice the results. 

Is your body saying, “No.”

Our body clearly and unapologetically shows us our experiences; particularly the ones that we try to push away or ignore. This idea isn’t new. There are a whole host of books out there exploring this idea: when we ignore our deepest feelings, especially anger, they don’t just disappear. They show up in our bodies as illness or disease.

It’s truly fascinating how our immune system is directly affected by our recurring thoughts and feelings.

I was talking with a friend about this the other day and she was kind of upset about the premise. She said, “But this makes me feel like it’s my FAULT any time I get sick.”

But that’s not the point at all.

The point is to realize the power we have over these things! Our body isn’t trying to shame us into not getting upset. Not at all! It’s just saying, “Hey. You know how you keep thinking about that relationship/work situation/feeling of being taken advantage of/fill-in-the-blank? That’s really starting to take it’s toll. We’re having a breakdown in the system over here. Let’s take some time to pull back and re-group!” Rather than blaming us for the illness, our body is simply asking us to redirect our thoughts.

It can actually be that simple in many cases.

Especially when we realize it early! We don’t have to wait until we have a full-blown disease. We can take a step back when we realize we are fighting a cold, or keep injuring the same knee, or have a recurring infection. Any and all of these are early warning signs from our body re-directing us to a positive mindset and dealing with difficult feelings right away rather than pushing them away.

But it’s not always that easy, is it? Simple? sure. IF you even know where the thought pattern is that’s causing the pain. But sometimes it’s REALLY hard to identify where it is! I know this because I’ve been there. Many times.

So, what to do?

I find that often times the best place to start is with some reflective practices. Each one of these can be powerful practices. But not everyone likes them all. Go with the one(s) that seem intriguing to you. That’s ALWAYS the best place to start if you ask me!

Here’s the greatest part – ANY time you make efforts toward your own wellness, your body notices RIGHT AWAY! And when we improve our mindset and choose new thought patterns, lots of amazing changes start to happen in our bodies.

Do you have a great story of how changing your mind has changed your life? I’d love to hear it! If you’d like, email me to tell me YOUR story!

Resources for this post:

Breathing for Busy Professionals

It’s easy to completely underestimate how vital breathing is to our well-being. Sure, we do it all day, every day. But how often do you take a few minutes to breath on purpose? In this video, I share some great info on how breathing affects us. Also, I share three great breathing exercises you can use starting today.

What’s your first clue?

I have a question for you – what is your first clue that overwhelm is coming on? What is the first things you notice when there’s too many things to do, when too many people are calling for your attention.

Do you reach for another cup of coffee? Maybe you over-schedule yourself so you have an excuse for why you haven’t gotten things done. Or do you get short in your interactions with family, friends, co-workers, bosses or subordinates? If you hear things coming out of your mouth that are too pointed or that illicit shocked facial expressions from the person you’re talking to – this may be your clue!

My voice gets all froggy

I know when I haven’t had enough rest, my voice gets all froggy. And if I’m not rested, I am well on my way to overwhelm.

So if you’re not sure what YOUR first clue is, start to pay attention. Notice how you act when you feel happy. Then notice how you act when the emails are stacking up. And then, notice what happens *just before* your behavior changes. THIS is your clue!

When you know what your first clue is, you are well on your way to solving your overwhelm! Knowing really is half the battle! Once you recognize your first clue that overwhelm is coming, you can take a step back *before* it gets too far and make some changes. Maybe you need an earlier bedtime tonight so you feel rested tomorrow. Perhaps you need to schedule an afternoon off or a massage so you can spend some time with a deeper reset.

Tools

If you’d like to get some tools for overcoming overwhelm in the moment, get my pdf guide, Freedom from Frenzy. And if you’d like to back it up even more and learn how to stop overwhelm and frenzy before they even start, I invite you to email me to learn how we can work together to create your custom plan for developing mind-body awareness and lifestyle excellence so you can live and lead with a deep sense of inner tranquility.

Are you feeling “spacey”?

Fall and winter are great! Cozy sweaters, spiced cider, sports and holidays!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when autumn really gets going, I start to feel spacey and forgetful. And if the change in the weather is dramatic enough, I can get really dry skin and end up feeling completely ungrounded and all out-of-sorts.

Something I find amazing is how it’s the little changes that seem to make the biggest difference! Something as simple as having a cup or warm tea can make my frown turn into a smile. Or remembering to bring a light sweater can be the difference between feeling great or being completely miserable.

Check out these great tips for feeling great in the fall and winter!

When the frenzy of the work day presses in

It’s super common to get into the middle of a well-planned day and all of a sudden you have emails and IMs pinging in from every direction. Maybe your boss or a contractor is demanding you immediate attention.

Stress starts to mount, right?

Phone calls. Stress. Deadlines. Everything starts to get kind of overwhelming.

You may find yourself pouring a second (or fifth) cup of coffee. Or perhaps you decide to skip lunch (or eat in the car between appointments) to try to get more done. You simply have too much to do and you have to do *something* to make up for lost time.

But this is not the way to REALLY find freedom from the frenzy.

It may seem right in the moment. Get a cup of coffee. Plow through lunch. Work later.

But no.

Trust me. It’s not the way.

The way to find freedom from the frenzy in the middle of the day is to push the pause button.

Yes, it seems beyond counter-intuitive to stop when there’s so much to do. But I promise it works.

If you’re feeling frenzy in the middle of this day, I invite you to push pause. There can be a variety of ways to do this, and if you already know what works for you, do it!

I have one tool I’d like to share with you today. It’s simply managing the breath. I love this tool because you ALWAYS have it with you! You don’t need any special tool. You don’t need a yoga mat. You don’t need workout clothes or perfect weather.

You can manage your breath at your desk, on the stage, on the playing field, in traffic, in a meeting, at home. It works EVERYWHERE!

Here’s the technique:

  • Focus on the breath and slow it down
  • Inhale  1-2-3-4
  • Pause 1-2
  • Exhale 1-2-3-4
  • Pause 1-2

Hopefully you feel better already! You can use this technique anytime, anywhere, and no one even knows you’re using it but YOU! As you use it, you build a new tranquil mind and create freedom from the frenzy of the day.

Get my free pdf guide for even more tools to take back YOUR day, or book a Discovery Call to explore personal coaching options to create your tranquil mind and life!

Book a discovery call

Yoga During Health Education Week: Solutions for Mesothelioma Patients

Between October 15th and 19th, the nation is focusing on Health Education Week 2018. Our minds and bodies are linked in many ways that are still being defined. Every person can have a pathway to better health through yoga, including mesothelioma patients. Because this rare cancer of the lung lining can be incredibly debilitating, yoga offers several answers for a better quality of life. The following practices are shared with mesothelioma in mind. However, these are great practices for anyone dealing with a challenging illness, like cancer.

Putting You in the Moment

The human mind tends to ruminate on the past and future. Thinking about the present isn’t always a priority. Yoga helps patients with terminal cancer by putting them in the present. Feeling their bodies stretch and relax is important for both mental and physiological improvements.

There’s nothing to truly worry about in the present. The focus is on moving the body into certain positions. Mesothelioma patients need this reprieve so that they can deal with life after the yoga session.

Encouraging Deep Breathing

One of the most basic moves in the yoga world is breathing deeply. Most people, including cancer patients, breathe with a shallow inhalation. Bringing more air into the lungs allows extra oxygen to reach the tissues. Cancer patients need as many nutrients as possible in their bodies. Therefore, transporting oxygen and other nutrients to tissues can make a difference in prognoses and outlook on life.

Fighting Fatigue and Creating Quality Rest

According to the Oncology Nursing News, yoga encourages rest in the evening and fewer worries during the day. No other medicine or activity can boast both of these benefits together.

Yoga stimulates the entire body. Patients feel elated after the workout. Additionally, patients enjoy good feelings and an energetic mind the rest of the day. As this sensation declines, the body feels tired. Patients typically enjoy a deep rest so they can tackle tomorrow’s challenges with more energy.

Increasing Flexibility

Patients dealing with mesothelioma have a tightness in their chest. This can translate into limited movements among the limbs. Yoga classes with teachers who are experts in their field can help patients with their flexibility issues, states the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. These professionals know how to move the body so that no detrimental effects occur as a result of the movements. Flexibility returns to the body after only a few sessions.

Supporting the Mental Side of Life

Feeling down during a fight with cancer is understandable. Participants can fly with their minds and bodies through yoga, however. When participants move their bodies into achievable positions, they feel good on a mental level. The body naturally releases good hormones, which leads to happier times.

When the mind isn’t supported by a positive outlook, both physical and mental decline are possible.

Finally, fighting off negative emotions, including depression, is an important facet of yoga training, reports Psychology Today. This activity has dozens of benefits that should be explored by mesothelioma patients. As patients look for alternative ways to improve their lives, keep Health Education Week in mind. A better tomorrow is in store for everyone who tries something different.

Are you exhausted?

are you exhausted

I’ve had three or four conversations in the last week with people feeling completely overwhelmed with life and utterly exhausted. The story I heard goes something like this: “I’m working more than 40 hours a week, and I have to get the kids to/from school, and I have this big project at work, and my rec softball league is in a tournament next weekend, and I have to walk the dog twice a day, and grocery shop, and make dinner, etc. And then I got really sick last weekend. And I think I’m depressed. Sigh.”

They’re exhausted. Sound familiar?

I’m still not sure WHY we do it, but as a society we seem hell-bent on driving ourselves into the ground. We over-schedule like we think we can add hours to the day; take on projects and volunteer opportunities to add to our “resume” like a high-school senior trying to get into an Ivy League school. And then we are flabbergasted when we get the latest cold, flu or virus. It seems like we are actually TRYING to be exhausted.

Would you like a solution? Because there is one.

But I have to tell you, you’re not gonna like it…at first.

Let’s start with an obvious example. Toddlers get kinda crazy when they’re over-tired, right? Everything gets over-blown, nothing makes them happy, they start to scream, and then cry, and the next thing you know, they’re throwing a full-blown temper-tantrum. Why? Because they’re exhausted.

Good times.

I’ll try to deliver this softly. We’re not that much different as adults. Truly.

Over-scheduling and over-committing leads us to become overtired. We start to blow things out of proportion, nothing makes us happy (not the triple espressos, not the afternoon donuts, not the mani-pedi, not the date at a nice place), we get short-tempered (with our co-workers, friends and family), we may even cry, and the next thing you know, we’re having a major melt-down. Why? Because we’re exhausted.

So how do we solve this problem?

You may think you know where this is going. But, I’m NOT going to say you should find 3-5 things to cancel or drop. I think it’s WAY more fun to look at things to ADD than take away. I know that sounds a little counter-intuitive, but stay with me.

Write it down!

First, write down the things that are truly important to you. Like in your calendar. And start with the basics. Like sleep. Yep. Sleep. None of us functions well or rationally without adequate sleep. So, start there. Your list is probably a little different than mine, but here are some initial areas to consider:

  • Sleep: research shows adults need 7-9 hours. Yes. Every night. Every. Night. Decide on your bedtime and stick to it like your life depends on it. Because it kind of does.
  • Meditation: Get on the meditation bandwagon! If you haven’t yet, you are honestly missing out on a complete game-changer. No more excuses. Start today and do it for the rest of your life. You will be SO glad you did. Not sure where to start? Try this app, or this one, or maybe this one.
  • Nutrition: Decide what kind of meals are important to you. And eat them somewhere other than in front of your computer. Or iPad. Or phone. I’m serious. Give yourself enough time to eat and actually enjoy your meal. A good 30 minutes for each one. Write it in!
  • Movement: What’s your jam here? Yoga, Group Fitness Class, Hiking, Biking, Walking, Martial Arts. Whatever it is, schedule in time for yourself to do this a few times each week. And keep this commitment to your sanity and well-being. We all thank you!
  • Necessary Tasks: Ok. Add in the mandatory tasks that MUST be done every day/week. Work, carpool, grocery shopping, etc. Just don’t do it UNTIL you have the other things scheduled.

Now that you have the framework for your week, add in the extras. If it turns out that there’s not enough time for that extra project or activity, let it go. It WILL be ok! When you start to guard your time and energy and decide AHEAD OF TIME what you are willing to spend it on, the rest will fall into place, or fall off the schedule.

Here’s what’s cool…

When I have done this in the past, what I have found is that I may let a couple things go here and there, but a lot of things stay the same. Yet, somehow I FEEL completely different about it all. During the process of doing this activity, I realize *I* am in control of my life and I can choose at any moment to add or subtract things from my life. I realize how powerful “No” can be in protecting my sanity, and I also realize how powerful “Yes” can be when I say it to something I REALLY want to do! And the best part? I don’t feel exhausted anymore! I feel energized to live the life I created!

So, are you ready to take your life back? Tell me, what are the three most important things in your day/week?

Terrible Night’s Sleep?

Sadly it happens to all of us. For whatever reason, you didn’t sleep well last night.

This happened to me not long ago.

I found myself at the airport having hardly slept at all. I was on a trip and REALLY needed to sleep well. But no. Hardly a wink. The air conditioning was out in my hotel room and they were booked solid so I couldn’t just switch to another room. The nearest hotel was several miles away and it was already 2:00am when I realized what the issue was. Ugh.

What to do?

Because I travel a lot, I’ve developed a few ways to make it through this situation with as little disruption to my day as possible. I can even function at a pretty normal level! In this short video I share with you my tips for getting through the day when I haven’t had any sleep to speak of.

 

Jenn’s list of things to do when you haven’t had any sleep:

  • Wear your glasses! Your eyes will thank you for it!
  • Get a nourishing breakfast – this is not the day for a sugary danish. Nope. Eat something real!
  • Go ahead and have a creature comfort – for me it’s a yummy latte!
  • Create time in your day for a Yoga Nidra meditation – enjoy the equivalent of an hour’s sleep for every 15 minutes of Nidra!
  • Here’s a link to my favorite meditation app these days

It’s certainly a drag when this happens, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day! Enjoy these simple tips to help you make it through the day when you’ve had your sleep hijacked.

I’d love to hear from you! What are some things you have discovered that help you navigate the day after a night of poor sleep? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

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