Self-Care For Challenging Times

How are you faring through these extraordinary times?

As you know I’m all about healthy Visioning practice and I suggest that we practice focusing on and give thanks for our healthy bodies every day, rather than all of the negative news and virus cell images.

I thought I’d share some of the things that are sustaining me these days as we continue our protecting and adapting measures to contain the epidemic. Take what you like and leave the rest (or share with family and friends that are struggling with the sustained circumstances):

Daily spiritual practice – (whatever that is for you…) – Meditation, Chanting, Yoga, Qi Gong, Journaling, Pilates, Dance, Art, Crafts, Knitting. Always helpful to practice at the same time every day, to solidify healthy habits and to calm and relax body and mind.

Minimize watching and listening to the news – especially before bedtime. Stay informed in any way that feels necessary to you. Think about filling your consciousness with hope, beauty, fun, loved ones, pets, games, music.

Plan, shop on-line, cook and enjoy nourishing meals – Do your best to eat real food, drink lots of warm juicy water all day long (iced drinks chill your digestive system) and go light on alcohol and sweets.

Music videos & concerts – I am most heartened, nourished and filled with joy by enjoying so many of the wonderful concerts that are being posted by musicians all over the world.

Get quality sleep – Go to bed at the same time every night, get up at the same time every morning. Unplug from all media an hour before bedtime, including TV. practice progressive relaxation – breathing into your body from head to toes or toes to head – until you feel calm and ready for sleep.

Tapping (EFT) Practice – A bit of tapping every day to stay calm or any time you need to acknowledge and release uncertainty, anxiety, stress and overwhelm. My latest tapping fun has centered around conversations with my body for clarity and guidance.

Washing Hands & Physical Distancing – Please, please continue to be mindful to protect your family, friends and neighbors. I know this can be a drag and it’s working to contain and reduce the epidemic. Truly.

Gentle Re-entry into the World – At some point we will be back out in the world and resuming our shopping, schooling, working and socializing. Please continue to be mindful as we begin to move back into the world together.

May we all continue to stay centered, calm,healthy and connected to one another.

Accessing & Trusting Your Body Wisdom

One way to find relief that helps us move beyond taking a pill or searching the internet, is to get in touch with our Body Wisdom. You may call this intuition, guidance, knowing or even magic.
I have found that when I have a question about what is happening in my body – my head wants to figure out a solution and Do something. When I take the time to slow down, get quiet and ask my body for information, I usually get a different answer and somehow wiser information.
I might ask “What is it I need to know or understand?”
Then I listen with my heart for the answer.
This may take some time and patience. I feel that I am tuning in to my Body Wisdom and Intuition – a part of my consciousness that is not confined to intellect or intelligence.
My body might say, “Slow Down”. Or “Time to Rest”.
It is most often a Being response, rather than a Doing.

Asking For Guidance From a Body Part or Symptom

Another way to gain clarity about your self-care may be to practice communicating with your body, as if it has a voice.
When you have tension, pain or discomfort in your back, for instance. You might settle yourself down and bring your awareness to your back. Gently pat your heart and say,”There, there, I’m listening, how can I help you?”
Then wait patiently for an answer from your body. You may receive words, phrases, thoughts, or memories. At times my body will show me a behavior or treatment that will be helpful.
You are tuning into your unique Body Wisdom and Guidance. I also find that trusting and acting on the guidance helps to encourage the connection and effectivness.
This practice works just as well for emotional issues. When I feel anxious and ask my Body Wisdom for guidance, my body will say “Go outside”. This almost always helps me to calm down, especially after all the days of staying inside to avoid the nasty smoke in the air. Ahhhhh…
May this practice help you with your healing and self-care.

Stirring Up Dust & Stirring Up Memories

As I continue to clean out my garage I’ve been stirring up plenty of dust and experiencing stirred up memories as well.  Ahhhh… No wonder we procrastinate about clearing clutter…
Tapping To Acknowledge & Release Stirred Up Memories
Set Up Statement:  “Even though I’m feeling so many stirred up memories and part of me is holding on, for whatever reason, I choose to acknowledge and release the past with love and acceptance.”
Reminder Statements: (while tapping around on the body points)
“All these memories *** some of them good *** and some of them not so good *** all of these memories *** feeling sad *** so uncomfortable *** all these memories *** moving through my body *** I’d really like to let this go *** feeling the feelings *** moving the energy *** being gentle with myself.”
Take your time and be gentle with yourself.  Continue to tap until you begin to feel relief.  Drink plenty of water and take breaks to go outside and relax.
When you are ready tap on a Releasing Round:
“Even though I’m feeling a little lighter, part of me might still be holding on.  I choose to relax and let go of the past, with love and acceptance.  I love and accept and forgive myself and I am safe.”
“These remaining memories *** I’d really like to relax and let go *** whatever part of me that’s holding on *** for whatever reason *** it’s safe to relax and let go *** allowing the energy to move *** opening to the healing *** being gentle with myself *** feeling the feelings *** and taking my time *** it’s time to let go of the stuff *** and let go of the past.”
Always complete your tapping session with a Positive Round, giving thanks for the healing, the willingness to let go and all of the blessings in your life.
Give yourself plenty of time to sort, recycle, donate and discard any stuff that is weighing you down.  Just one shelf, one drawer or one box at a time.
May you enjoy the feeling of letting go and lightening up in body, mind and spirit.

Physical & Emotional Impact of Pain

“Tapping is so effective at relieving chronic pain because it helps release unresolved emotions keeping the body in a stressed-out state.  By tapping to remove the negative emotional charge from specific events and other past and current issues, the brain gets the message that it is safe to relax tense muscles and lessens nerve sensitivity.  That’s when the body can heal itself – of chronic pain and other symptoms as well.”

Eric Robins, M.D. Expert in treating chronic pain

This quote from the introduction to our friend, Nick Ortner’s, book The Tapping Solution For Pain Relief inspires us to try this crazy tapping thing on everything, including chronic or even long standing pain.

Let’s face it, pain causes stress, stress causes tension, fatigue and plenty of emotional responses that wear us down and make our lives miserable.

I suffered with chronic pain to varying degrees and nothing has been more effective than EFT tapping in relieving pain.  And I have had the great joy of sharing this healing practice with many, many people who have also had amazing results and relief.

Today I am encouraging you to be willing to try tapping, even though it’s weird, it may not work right away and you don’t believe me – try it any way!

Powerful Questions To Reduce Your Stress

 Here is a simple practice to reduce stress, when traveling or when you are home:
1.  Begin with a few minutes of Energization exercises, stretching or yoga postures.
2.  Sit quietly in Meditation and visualize how you want to feel in your daily life.  Really notice the sensations, the energy in your body when you are feeling calm, relaxed and healthy.
3.  Ask yourself – What do I need to STOP doing to feel better?  What am I saying NO to?  And write that down.
4.  What do you need to START doing to feel better? What are you saying YES to?  And write that down as well.
5.  Choose one action you can take this week and commit:
6.  Resistance to change is a nature part of the process of change.  What comes up for you when you make a commitment to take action to improve your own well being?
Continuously release resistance – this is a GREAT thing to tap on to reduce the charge on the resistance.
7.  Bonus Question:  What did you learn about yourself in making a commitment and taking action?
8.  Take action this week and celebrate your success!

Energizing Your Daily Practice

I learned these wonderful energization exercises at The Expanding Light at Ananda in Nevada City, California ( when I attended a month long Yoga Teacher Training in 1998 and I have returned for personal retreat each year.
We include a few of these exercises as preparation for meditation each week in our Monday classes at Synergy.  This week let’s explore them more deeply as motivation for including them in daily practice.
I will be returning to the EL January 13 – 16 to attend a Meditation retreat with one of my beloved teachers, Gyandev McCord.  Here’s the link for more information:

    Paramhansa Yogananda, the well known yoga master, created the Energization Exercises as a scientific and systematic method for increasing the flow of life-force and sending it to every area of the body in order to strengthen and energize it.  These exercises also heal the body, clear and focus the mind and prepare you for meditation.  Combining the double breath – double inhalation and double exhalation – with the tensing of each muscle in a wave:  low, medium, high, then relaxing the muscle – high, medium, low, allows the conscious flow of energy throughout the body.  A chart of all of the 39 exercises can be referenced
Double Breathing – Tense & Release
Double inhale through the nose, tensing the body upward from the feet, with arms opening to the sides.  Double exhale, relaxing the body downward.  Repeat 3 – 5 times.
Single Arm Raising
Side to Side StretchStretch left arm over head with feet slightly apart, tensing with double breath, then on right side, bending to the side at the waist.  3 times.
Medulla MassageFinger tips of both hands on the base of the skull, massage in small circles, then lift the chin with a double breath in and tuck the chin exhaling.  3 times.
Skull TappingGently tap all over your scalp with fingertips of both hands.
Scalp Massage – Press fingertips into the scalp and massage the scalp on the skull, moving the fingers around all over the scalp.
Whole Body Breathing
Bend over from the hips, pushing sitting bones back behind you), relaxing the entire body, especially the arms, neck and back.  Double inhale as you smoothly bring your arms and torso back to the upright position, arms overhead, fully tensing the arms.  Tense around the spine as you do this.  Exhaling fully, relax back down.  3 times.

Calming Down the Fight or Flight (or Flee) Response

  This week I thought we might practice calming down the stress in our lives.  There is plenty of scary stuff happening in our world and maybe not enough reminders to slow down, breathe deeply, move mindfully and ask for support.  Ahhhh…   Causes of Stress   The flight or fight response in the body is an automatic function designed to help us survive when we are in danger.   When every day experiences keep firing the stress response our immune system is impacted, which can lead to fatigue, insomnia, depression and illness.   I believe that we always have a choice about how we respond to life.   As we move into the fall and winter months, give yourself permission to slow down, nurture yourself with comforting activities and release anything that pulls you off of your center.   Activating the Relaxation Response

  • Mindfulness of your breath throughout the day
  • Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong practice
  • Walking, swimming, biking or other exercises
  • Asking for support from family and friends
  • Tapping while focusing on stressful circumstances

Action:  Choose one practice or activity that feels really good to you.   Continue for several weeks and see how much calmer and rested you feel.  Be patient and gentle with yourself.  Ahhhh…   Here’s a link to more information for those of you who are interested in the full scoop on this topic:   This article from Harvard Health also includes terrific information about how to calm the Fight or Flight response and activate the Relaxation Response.  Yay!

Self-Care for Caregivers

No one wants to ignore their loved ones when they need support and it’s simply not healthy or practical to completely ignore our own needs either.
This week I worked with three different clients who are caregivers. One taking care of a spouse, another helping with her 90+ year old mother-in-law and another young person taking care of her grandmother.
All of us will be called on, at one time or another, to be a caregiver for a loved one.  This can be one of the most challenging responsibilities we ever take on.  I don’t have children, however I imagine that caring for your own children is different, although filled with it’s own challenges, than caring for a parent or spouse.
Have you been putting yourself 
at the bottom of your To Do list?
There are so many demands and details, especially when we are caring for others, that our own self-care may slide to the bottom of the list.  This often leads to exhaustion, frustration, irritation and may also lead to anger and resentment.  Ahhhh…
There are several, simple ways to stay balanced when you are caring for loved ones:
1.  Make sure you are hydrated and properly nourished.
2.  Keep a regular schedule for sleep and rest, as much as possible.
3.  Get outside to stretch and breathe – especially if you are spending time in the hospital or care center.
4.  Always allow some time to goof off with your favorite activities.
5.  Remember to ask for help whenever possible – are there other family members, neighbors, friends or church members who are willing and available to help?
6.  Find ways to exercise regularly – even getting out for a walk.
7.  Practice patience and loving kindness for yourself and others – this is so important as you are required to make important decisions for your loved one.
8.  Check in with a loving friend, counselor, coach or therapist to share your experience – you are definitely not alone.
Your daily self-care – exercise, rest, meditating, tapping and play and vitally important to your health, sanity and well being.
Always remember to include yourself on your To Do list.
Book Recommendation:
Self-Care For Caregivers by Pat Samples & Diane Larsen