Last week I talked about some of the challenges that I’ve been facing after taking on the care of ‘Dakota Horse’. If you’ve read some of my other recent posts you might remember that we’re currently also in the middle of selling up and moving house! This is not only about our home, but also about my business and my vision of how it might develop in the future – so no pressure there then!! All of this has meant that life is feeling a bit crazy at the moment.
At times like this it’s all too easy to slip into old patterns of overwhelm and the consequent unhelpful behaviours and thought cycles. I am therefore doing my best to remember to practice good self-care. I’m far from perfect, and still very much a work-in-progress, but they say that practice-makes-perfect, and it’s certainly giving me insight and a lot of food for thought.
I promised to share some of the things that I’ve found helpful in the hope that it will be of use to others to:
- The first and most important thing is remembering to breathe! Yes, perhaps a rather obvious one, but when I feel stressed I know that my muscles tighten and my breathing becomes more shallow. This means that my body feels more tense, and gets less oxygen, which becomes a negative spiral, feeding my anxiety. On the other hand, when I remember to pay attention to my breath, and to breathing deeply and evenly, it helps me to relax.
To help with this I recommend doing a body scan several times throughout the day. This enables you to spot areas of tension in the body, and to see when breathing is shallow, allowing you to then breathe into the tight areas, inviting them to release and relax.
- This in turn helps me to take a step back and to have better objectivity, which allows me to see more clearly and rationally. It helps me to keep a greater sense of proportion and not to spiral into overwhelm and feeling out of control.
- Breathing properly and being objective also help me in evaluating the reality of the situation and carefully considering my options. If I slip into panic this is much more difficult to do – if not impossible. It’s known as ‘blind panic’ for good reason! Being able to think things through like this, usually allows me to see that there are lots of things I can try, and people I can ask for advice and / or support.
- Another thing that helps me in this is to get moving. Going for a walk helps to break the sensation of being ‘stuck’ and powerless and helps my brain to function more effectively.
- I also find being outside in Nature very soothing. I love the energy of being surrounded by trees and wildlife and find it very grounding. It helps to restore my sense of perspective too.
- Mindfulness, meditation and journaling have helped me to develop more emotional intelligence and self-awareness. This has allowed me to let go of some of the things that were no longer serving me, and to reconnect with my inner stillness, allowing me to relax more effectively. This is so important for moving out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and repair’ which is essential for our wellbeing.
Next week I’ll share some further techniques and insights that I’ve learnt along my journey.