Ahhhhh, the sounds and smells of summer: birds chirping, kids splashing and laughing, grills sizzling and smoking. And all of us relaxing more than we allow ourselves to during the rest of the year. Yay!
I think maybe I can finally put my fleece lined jeans away… 😊
I’m hoping to also put away my feelings of stress overload as well. Many friends and family seem to also be on edge much of the time these days. I think it may be that COVID lasted such a long time. Now that it’s over, so much has changed that we’re not sure of how life is going to be anymore. That can be very unsettling.
For example, some restaurants that went to “take out only,” during COVID, are remaining that way, even though they could fully open; they are having difficulty finding enough staff to open back up. In fact, many types of businesses are having a hard time finding employees, so operating hours are cut back, there are enormous waiting lines, and online ordering is encouraged. Dental and medical offices have long waiting lists when you call for your regular appointment, and doctors are doing more and more “telehealth” (appointments over the phone).
Change is often difficult – good or bad change can be stressful. Weddings for example are a good change, but still stressful. So, what is a person to do?
Meditation is one of the tools that we can use to reduce stress. For those times when we need tools that we can use in the moment, here are a few suggestions.
- PRACTICE THE RULE OF 3. Look out your window and name three things you see. Then, stop and name three sounds you hear. Finally, take a moment to notice and wiggle three parts of your body. I like this one because it brings us back into the present moment instead of worrying about tomorrow or next week, or re-hashing yesterday.
- “BE” IN NATURE. Take a walk or hike, or simply step out into your garden for a few minutes. Make sure that you listen to the birds singing or the bees buzzing. Inhale deeply and smell the flowers or boxwoods or pine trees. Hug a tree if you can! Just take some deep breaths and enjoy all the beauty of a blue sky with white fluffy clouds, or a stream bubbling past your road. You only need about five minutes before you begin to relax and enjoy.
- BREATHE, GRASSHOPPER, BREATHE. Simple deep-breathing is great to release some stress from your body. Brahmari Breath is an easy and effective breathing practice that you might want to learn. It’s simple, and it releases endorphins to counter those stress hormones!
- FIND WAYS THAT YOU RELEASE ENDORPHINS (FEEL GOOD HORMONES). What makes you smile or feel good? Maybe dancing makes you happy, or singing, or listening to comedy, or baking muffins to bring to a homebound neighbor.
- RELAX, MUSCLE BY MUSCLE. In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense up particular muscles, hold for about ten seconds, then relax them. Start with the muscles in your legs and gradually work your way up your body. Here is a recording where you can do this with me whenever you feel the need.
Most of all, remember to take care of YOU!
Here is also a video of another breathing practice that can help us return to the present moment and reduce those feelings of stress; it’s Alternate Nostril Breathing.
Best of Health,