Like everyone else this season, I have been on full throttle – lists, to dos, cards, presents, connections, concerts, parties, obligations, work, family . . .
It is endless.
And then, Thursday afternoon, my I Phone crashed, my e-mail account shut down. All went silent. Kaput.
In a mere second, I was disconnected from my world. Forced off the grid.
It was as though the universe was sending a message: “enough is enough!” It is not humanly possible to keep pace with the e-mails (4,632 to be exact), messages, Instagram posts, google alerts, Snapchats, Pins, Facebook pokes, and tweets.
Can you relate?
Is time accelerating?
For me, the end of the year accelerates as I cram to complete the congestion of to-dos that have mounted up and must be done before I can move into a new year with a clean slate.
Combine this with the demands of work, family, friends, and the holidays, it is no wonder we are stressed, depressed, overwhelmed, anxious, unhappy, overworked, tired, exhausted, and running on fumes.
How about stopping to catch our breath?
The human body is not meant to be “on” 24/7. It doesn’t work that way. When we push – CONSTANTLY – we keep our body in a state of heightened, constant vigilance – aka stress – that wears us down and eventually overwhelms all of our systems. Think high blood pressure, weight gain, hypertension, ulcers, immune dysfunction, fatigue, low energy, hair loss, skin rashes, low libido, impotence, mental lapses and, top that all off with accelerated aging.
“Consider that the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to itself first . . . then sends it to the rest of the body. If it did not do so, it would be unable to supply all the needs beyond it.” (Andrew Weil)
In order for your body to renew, heal, recover and regenerate from daily stress, you need time to stop. Every single day.
Here are some tips to help you:
Set aside small chunks of down time throughout your day.
Close your eyes, sit back in your chair, relax, shut down the to-do list playing in your head, get outside for a quick breath of air – yes, even in the cold. Five minutes here, ten minutes there, three minutes between meetings or after. . . . Let your body go into a calm neutral a little every day.
Start your day with 15 minutes of reading something uplifting and supportive.
I started this practice several years back and it changed everything for me. It expanded my vision and provided a link to all my virtual mentors who have taught me life and coping skills I never would have learned on my own.
“Birds do it. Bees do it. We do it. We exhale and release into the atmosphere carbon dioxide, a chemical that promotes the growth of plants and prevents the sun’s radiant energy from returning to space. With our breath, we keep the planet from becoming a desert.” (Veronique Vienne)
Our sedentary lives have turned us in to shallow breathers. So what, you ask? Shallow breathing starves the body of oxygen, diminishes our lung capacity, challenges cellular detoxification, and leads to premature aging.
Take a few minutes during the day to stop and breathe deeply. Breathe in through your nose – all the way down into your belly. Let your belly expand. No one is looking. Hold for a few counts and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this for five or six breaths a few times each day . . . . then go back to whatever you were doing.
Take short naps.
Man is one of the only mammalian creatures who does not nap intermittently throughout the day. And, according to the National Sleep Foundation, short bouts of sleep can improve mode, alertness and performance. 20-30 minutes is all you need.
Occasionally say NO.
Ever hear the saying: “Want something done? Find a busy person”? If you’re reading this, I have the feeling you might fit into this category. Busy people have a knack for getting things done, but too many things can cut deeply into your personal time and emotional well-being. Say yes to those requests that you feel happy to serve; no to all else.
PS – Want to learn more, go deeper? Go here to book a free session with me and let’s continue the conversation. And don’t forget to share your thoughts. I love hearing from you!
PPS – Music is beautiful healer, so to continue the tradition I started last year, here are a few of my favorites: