Why I didn't go to the bar...

  Just say no...

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I totally agree with the idea that sometimes saying "no" is saying "yes" to yourself.

 

I’ve personally learned through my experiences that listening to what my body needs and not resisting it brings me so much more comfort and a greater sense of overall well-being.

 

Here’s a recent example…

 

I was pretty busy last week, working longer days than usual and juggling unforeseen circumstances. I have learned through the years that if I choose to work long days, it is only temporary as it is not sustainable for me to do so over a significant period of time. I pay attention to my own energy -- despite the fact that there are gurus who indicate that we have to work ourselves into the ground to be "successful."

 

Last Saturday, I allowed myself some downtime earlier in the day curled up with a hot yerba mate, a book and a blanket. My partner Lauren and I went for a walk with the dog, and then on to an early dinner. I was looking forward to some downtime at home and being in for the night on a chilly evening.

 

Then a text comes through: Hey, we’re at the bar (that is a couple blocks from my house). Come on down!

 

Ugh. First, the nebulous “we.”  As an introvert, the thought of a) going to a loud, noisy bar when I needed downtime and b) making small talk and being “on” with people I don’t know sounded draining to me when I needed time to nourish and replenish.

 

Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely LOVE and welcome the spontaneous text as an invite to hang out: “Hey! Grabbing a bite; what are you doing?”

 

That being said, when I planned downtime after two weekends in a row where I either had company or was out of town (and expecting more company and travel soon), I had to respect my own desire to lay low.

 

If some people think I’m antisocial, that’s totally ok with me as I know that’s not true. What matters to me is that I consciously choose activities that are NOURISHING to me rather than DRAINING. This will be especially important as the holiday season is officially upon us. I have developed a (fun) habit of asking myself if an activity is NOURISHING to my soul before I say yes.

 

What are your thoughts on this? How do you incorporate self-care in the activities you choose?

Be sure to share your insights below as your input can help others as well!

 

Do you forgive? Why it's good to let it go.

   

forgive.We can all learn and grow from our past. Sometimes experiences have left us hurting in some way. Although it can be tough to forgive people who have hurt us, it is possible and in fact it is the healthy thing to do. Every day that you do not forgive, you are hurting yourself - and literally your own health. It reminds me of the saying that it is like drinking poison thinking it will harm the other person.

 

Of course the mind and body are connected and should not be separated. Many studies have shown that holding grudges is bad for both your mental health and physical health. When you continue to hold a grudge, it causes inflammation internally, keeping you tense and stressed. (It also makes you more likely to develop symptoms of depression or anxiety.) I have talked in previous articles about how high levels of cortisol from stress - chronically - are horrible for your physical health. Holding grudges will eventually manifest in the form of an illness. Your overall wellbeing improves once you let go of any resentment.

 

Forgiving also gives a sense of empowerment as once you forgive you step out of the victim role and mentality. Choose to not let the other person control you. In the words of Gandhi, "Nobody can hurt me without my permission." (I think Eleanor Roosevelt also said something similar. :))

 

So how is that grudge serving you? Make the decision to move forward. You'll feel so much better when you do.

 

What to do? Become aware of what you've learned from that situation, accept your feelings without judgment and consider how holding the resentment is affecting your life. Accept the past, make the decision to move forward, put it behind you and let go. Wish this person (or people) love and light and move on. It’s not personal…how people react is a reflection of their own inner workings. Although forgiving does not justify what anyone has done, people do the best they can with what they have and in their current state of consciousness. Treat yourself with love and compassion; do this for yourself and your health. Journal, meditate and do anything else you feel you need to do to release your feelings. Ask for a miracle. If you feel you need to reach out for professional help, contact a mental health provider, pastor, healer or other helping professional. Visualize the feeling of inner peace you'll feel once you let go. You can do this, I promise. :)

 

What are your next steps? Be sure to share your insights on the below as your input can help others as well!

 

Getting back to basics: How to naturally improve your sense of well-being

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness. ~ Eckhart Tolle

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Are you stressed at work? 3 helpful tips to manage it well - PART 1

   

To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life. ~ Jill Bolte Taylor

 

One of the main concerns that clients come to me with is being stressed out at work.

 

When we continually over-extend ourselves, it can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. We are expected to do more with less. When we sacrifice our own well-being, it creates a ripple effect that can lead to illness and compromised relationships with others.

 

I’ve compiled a list of tips to help with work stress. This is the first part of a series of three which I’m providing as a gift to you.

 

I’m breaking up the tips into a series for several reasons. We tend to have short attention spans these days and I know you’re busy. (It’s all about prioritizing though. :)) Another reason is so that you can have time to implement the ideas.

 

Note: Many of my clients, readers and followers do not work traditional 9 – 5 (or sometimes more like 7-7) jobs. The tips still apply, just tweak as you see fit!

 

take a break1. TAKE BREAKS. Ok, it's in all caps because this is an important one. For some reason we have become a culture of eating lunch at our desks, or not eating lunch at all. Honor yourself and take a lunch break and / or smaller breaks through out the day. Schedule them in. Use a timer as a reminder to stop and breathe.

 

2. Remember what’s really important to you. Think of your values. Do you feel you constantly put work before your own life? Sit down and create a list of ways you can make changes, for example, committing to leaving work on time in order to honor your values.

 

3. Get to the root cause. I’m a big advocate for preventing stress, not just coping and managing. Do what you can to explore the root of what’s causing you stress and brainstorm solutions. Do you need to get to bed earlier to prevent irritability and sluggishness? Can you delegate? What are ways you can be more efficient? Could you utilize better communication when it comes to your needs?

 

I love to hear from you!  Please be sure to comment blow to share your insights and self-care plan.

 

Guided imagery and healing = an excellent form of self-care

Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. – Lucille Ball

Guided imagery and healing = an excellent form of self-care

By Nancie Vito, MPH, CHES

My clients often ask me for guidance on relaxation and stress reduction techniques, and I wanted to share one with you that has been in my toolbox for several years, since my days of leading workshops for people with chronic health conditions. Participants would absolutely love being "walked" through a peaceful country garden, for example.

Guided imagery is one of many different types of relaxation techniques that can produce a relaxation response. All relaxation techniques have a common goal: to produce physiological changes in the body order to lower blood pressure, decrease pain and reduce effects of stress or illness. Basically, with guided imagery, individuals visualize pleasant images in their mind in order to replace negative, stressful or unwanted thoughts and feelings. This process and “reprogramming” of the subconscious mind often results in an overall sense of calm. Imagery combines all senses, not only “seeing” or creating images in the mind, but truly feeling, smelling, etc. When we create images that we find pleasant in our “mind’s eye,” the process can also be meditative in nature since it goes deeper than the level of consciousness in which we operate in our daily activities. Memory is one example of a form of imagery. Dreams are also a good example of images being created in the mind, as the subconscious and unconscious are communicating with our conscious mind. (A main difference with guided imagery is that individuals are purposefully and consciously creating desired behaviors or situations in their mind.)

Individuals can learn guided imagery a self-directed exercise, with a “live” facilitator, or by using CDs, DVDs, MP3s, phone applications, and online programs. Fortunately, guided imagery is much more accessible in recent years that it once was.

Research has come a long way in developing evidence for the effects of guided imagery as in last few decades, as thousands of studies have shown guided imagery to have positive effects on cancer, depression, anxiety, pain, asthma, PTSD, chronic tension-type headaches, addictive behaviors, menopausal symptoms, and host of other conditions. It has been shown strengthen the immune system and even have positive effects on pregnancy. Some hospitals are starting to use it to help patients relax before surgery.

So here’s the deal: guided imagery can be beneficial for just about anyone and any situation where positive outcomes are desired. The bottom line of how it works? It helps to decrease stress as you can turn your focus towards something that is pleasing to you.

Some people use imagery to help make a personal goal a reality. This is also super duper helpful, for example, before public speaking. Really FEEL how you want to feel upon reaching the goal. The key to visualizing the desired outcome of a goal is to be sure to take action along with it. :)

SO…for positive outcomes for your health and overall well-being, this week why not check out some of the tools out there that are available to us online or via apps? Let me know how it goes by posting your insights below! I love to hear from my dear readers.