In these uncertain times it’s essential to prioritise self-care, especially with an inundation of excess stress. We’ve put together some tips to make sure you’re keeping yourself – and your immune system – in check.
Strategy 1: Breathe.
I can’t emphasize how important this is. Still, it’s the thing most of us forget to do when we’re under pressure. Our bodies need oxygen; it nourishes our blood, our tissues, our brains, everything. And when we are in panic mode, we don’t get enough. So, when you start to feel stressed, take a moment and take three long, slow inhales and exhales. Your body will get the wonderful oxygen it needs, and your mind will get the break it needs. You’ll notice that you’ll get more oxygen, and you’ll allow yourself to slow down.
Here are two more simple breathing exercises to help you get the precious oxygen you need:
BELLY BREATHING. Today, try a little belly breathing. Instead of always breathing from your chest (which tends to give us a shallower breath, and not as much oxygen as we need) make a conscious effort to take three breaths from deep in your belly at least three times today. And then try it again tomorrow.
FOUR BY FOUR. This exercise is particularly good for calming your nerves and curbing anxiety before it gets out of hand. Breathe in through your nose to a slow count of four. Hold your breath for four counts. Breathe out through your mouth to the count of four, and then hold again for four counts. Repeat (you guessed it) four times. REMEMBER, when in doubt, inhale from the belly. Exhale. Repeat. AH.
Strategy 2: Take Care of Your Body.
Worry and stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, so it’s especially important during emotional times of turmoil and uncertainty to take care of ourselves. Eat healthy, fresh foods, drink lots of pure water, exercise every day, diffuse and/or apply essential oils and get bodywork. Regularly scheduled bodywork allows us to release toxins, stress, and to generally feel terrific. It’s a space of time reserved especially for you that allows your body and mind the opportunity to refocus and be reinvigorated. Investing in your body pays huge dividends in a life well lived.
Strategy 3: Turn Off The Media.
This one is tough, but crucial. In our modern world, we are inundated with information, and we like to be informed citizens. But the truth is that bad news sells, and bad news makes us feel badly. We need to keep our energy up and our minds clear, and that’s tough to do with the unfiltered media blitz of our modern world. So for just a day, try turning off the media and see how it alters your mood.
Strategy 4: Check In.
Get settled and take 3 cleansing breaths. Ask yourself, “How am I doing in this moment?” Allow whatever comes up to come up and write it down. Take a look at what you’ve written. If there are any references to the past or the future, acknowledge them, and go back to “How am I doing in this moment?” Keep coming back to the present moment as many times as you need to. Remember, the present moment is the only moment. Luxuriate in it.
Strategy 5: Give Back.
Study after study has shown that one of the best ways to feel good in mind, body, and spirit is to give back. This is a challenging time for many neighbours. If you’re healthy and able, posting an offer to help can make a world of difference. Worldwide, people have started using the postcard below to help out their neighbours, which we think is such a wonderful idea. Giving back to our community and our world is the fastest, most sure-fire way to feel good in the deepest part of who we are.
Strategy 6: Take A Little, Too.
This one is tough for many of us, especially women, who are so used to nurturing others. But it’s critical, especially when we are at our busiest, to accept help and kindness, too. Receiving, whether it is an unexpected gift from an acquaintance, or the offer to take care of cleaning up after a meal, soothes the souls of both the giver and the receiver. And try not to keep score. It’s perfectly wonderful to accept a gift with gratitude and joy, without wondering what you have stashed away in your closet that you can “give” in return. When we give a gift, it is an expression of love. Grateful acceptance recognises and magnifies that love. Be mindful of accepting gifts, whether the gift comes in the form of a compliment or a material item. Accept with joy, and see how you feel.
Strategy 7: Say No.
Give yourself the gift of No. Not a mean “NO!” Not a whiny, “Oh, I don’t know for sure, I, uh, will have to get back to you, umm…” Don’t waste brain cells coming up with convoluted excuses or guilt-laden apologies. A heart-centred, clear “No, but thank you so much for thinking of me” will do wonders for your jam-packed calendar and the sense of balance in your life. Give yourself the assignment of using a heart-centred “No” at least once during the next month. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Strategy 8: Keep It Flowing.
During times of uncertainty, the tendency is to hunker down and hold on tightly. Perhaps, though, just the opposite is necessary. When we keep our resources flowing – whether it’s time, energy, or money – the Universe responds by providing more. This is not to suggest that now is the time to spend frivolously. Instead, we need to invest in the things that improve the quality of our lives and of those around us. Give gifts with meaning to those you care for. The best gifts are often something that the recipient would love, but wouldn’t necessarily do for herself. It may be the gift of baby-sitting for a young couple so they can have a dinner alone, or perhaps a home-cooked meal for an elderly neighbour.
Whether it’s $5, $50, or $5000, list three things that you would feel great about spending your money on. Then, pick one that really resonates with your heart and go for it. Once you do, notice how much more begins flowing into your life.
Strategy 9: Gratitude.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, be grateful. Notice the things all around you for which you can give thanks. Daily walks. A clear blue sky. Your friends and family. By focusing on what we are grateful for, we shift our energy into a state of abundance and prosperity. There is so much to be grateful for!
Bonus Strategy: Soothing Bodywork.
A bonus strategy that can enhance the benefits of all the other strategies in this guide is good, nurturing bodywork. I used to think of bodywork as an indulgence, or something that I only did for myself as a special treat. Then my body basically had to break down to get my attention that I was neglecting it, and in the process, neglecting myself. Once I started allowing myself the gift of regularly scheduled bodywork, my whole life changed. I recovered from my illness and my body became stronger, my mind clearer, and my spirit kinder. It took a while for me to feel really good and strong again because I had denied myself for so long. You don’t need to make the same mistake I did. There are several wonderful bodywork therapies that help your body, your mind, and your spirit reconnect in a way that makes you whole and complete. My favourite is Cupping Massage, it relaxes the nervous system from the inside out and can find areas of the body that are holding tension and then release those restrictions to allow your body to relax and self-correct. Begin caring for yourself and your journey to wholeness today. It’s time to feel good again.