Say hello to a new season with these grounding sequences.
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I’m a high energy individual. My days are often spent packing as much as humanly possible into every hour. I have many passions, interests, commitments, and ideas that keep me in a perpetual state of striving, accomplishing, doing—and for most of my life, I have dealt with stress by doing more.
Many years ago when I suffered a sports-induced injury, I lost my primary coping mechanism of exercise. Suddenly, I could not do the physical activity that my system had learned to rely on to be well. That’s when I turned to meditation, a coping skill that requires no action, no activity, and no doing. As I began to sit in silence regularly, I realized I was learning to just be. Over time, I have continued to learn that practicing the art of “being” allows me to maintain the high energy and multi-passionate parts of myself without feeling frantic or overwhelmed.
As a Holistic Psychologist, here are my two guiding mantras for embracing the “power of the pause.”
After years of meditation practice, I still have to intentionally remind myself to do less and simply just be. For example, I recently had a meeting canceled last-minute, which opened up a full hour in my day. My mind immediately went to all the emails I’d be able to respond to.
When I took a breath to listen to my body, I realized I felt frazzled by running from one thing to the next. I put my devices away and sat in a park for a full hour—thinking, reflecting, breathing, people watching, and just being. I noticed a sense of calm flow through my body, a sense of thankfulness fill my heart, and a feeling of contentment wash over me. Listening to my own internal need to do less is what propels me to carry on with my day in my usual upbeat and high-energy manner.
When we create space to be, our nervous system calms. When our nervous system is relaxed, our body and brain function better. Therefore, somewhat ironically, the best thing we can do for our productivity and our drive is to take a break—hit pause, slow down, breathe. I teach clients how to pause, since both mental and physical health depends on restful moments.
Science shows that continually being in a state of activity causes stress at a cellular level. Our systems need to decompress and rejuvenate to prevent disease, illness and to thrive. So the question is: to be or to do. My answer is both. I will always love being active and doing, and over time I’ve come to know the deep value in learning the skill of just being.
With doing as my default, practicing the importance of being is an ongoing journey for me. It’s also a skill I feel passionate about sharing with others, as we can all benefit from being given the permission to just be. So, the next time you feel like you “should do something,” remind yourself that taking the time to be is positively fueling your entire system—mind and body.
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.