6 practices for when life feels like a roller coaster!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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Challenges and Triggers

Last week I started the story of how a handsome young gelding came into my life.  This week I’d like to formally introduce him!  In his previous home he was known as Lucky, however I felt drawn to giving him a new name to mark the start of this new chapter of his life.  I believe that names can carry a significant energy and I wanted to find one that would represent the relationship I hope to develop with this amazing being, and so I chose ‘Dakota’, which means friend or ally, as I hope that we will establish a close connection and partnership through our time together.

Dakota (Dax) and I on the evening of the day he arrived in his new home

This beautiful boy had rather a hard start in life – he was separated from his mother at 1 month of age and left to starve.  He was then rescued, and after a while ended up in the care of his lovely owner.  She spent a considerable amount of time, care, attention and money in getting him healthy again and now, at 6 years of age, you would never imagine that he had had such a history.

In his previous home he was living barefoot, non-ridden and with 24/7/365 turnout, on a diet of ad lib hay and a few wonderful Thunderbrook supplements.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find facilities in this area that quite match this, so we’ve had to make some compromises.  This has triggered me in ways that I was not expecting!

I feel such a huge sense of responsibility for this animal who is now solely in my care.  I might know the theory of looking after a horse, and have practised it in various ways in the past, but it has never been all on my shoulders before.  With other people’s horses, I wasn’t the one who had the final say on decisions such as:

  • when and how to introduce him to the other horses on the yard;
  • or when might the grass be safe enough for him to go out on it,
  • and for how long.
    (When he arrived he was in the ‘winter field’ with ad lib hay and very little grass, but that was not going to be a permanent arrangement.)

We also, obviously, need to fit in with the others on the yard, as I’m not on my own land…

I know that all this takes time, and is a matter of trying things, then tweaking them as necessary.  The others on the yard are there to discuss any concerns I might have, which can be helpful, but sometimes it is actually more confusing – and stressful – when everyone’s opinion is different.  It has pushed old buttons within me and raised some uncomfortable feelings for me to explore – about my abilities and also my sense of worth and the value of my opinion and views.  I know that these feelings relate to old fears and conditioning that no longer serve me, so this is a great opportunity to look into what my discomfort is showing me:

  • where do I have old needs that have not been met?
  • how can I best learn the lesson that they have for me in order to let them go?

Previously, my coping strategy was often to push down my feelings, however I’ve learnt that this actually makes things worse in the long run.  In fact it has made me ill in the past, leading to migraines, eczema, digestive issues and anxiety.

Over the last few years, on my journey of learning more about myself and how I can support my own wellbeing, I’ve learnt some very valuable techniques that generally work well for me.  This can be a very individual thing, as each of us is unique, with our own challenges and personalities, but next week I’ll share some of what has helped me, in the hope that it might be useful for you too.

 

THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – part 8 of 8

THE CROWN CHAKRA – SHAHASTRARA

This chakra is located at the top of the head and corresponds to two glands:

  • Ÿ         pituitary
  • Ÿ         hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is located in the back part of the brain, just behind the point at which the optic nerves cross.  It connects the conscious mind with the rest of the body by connecting the higher centres of the cerebral cortex with the lower brain centres and the endocrine system.  It also controls many important nervous system functions including appetite and body temperature.

The pituitary gland is often referred to as the ‘master gland’ as many of the hormones it secretes directly affect other glands around the body.

The anterior pituitary secretes 7 hormones:

  • Ÿgrowth hormone
  • Ÿprolactin – triggers and maintains lactation
  • Ÿthyroid stimulating hormone
  • Ÿadrenocorticotropic hormone – stimulates the growth and development of the cortex of the adrenal gland
  • Ÿ follicle stimulating hormone – in females this stimulates the growth and development of egg follicles in the ovaries and in males it stimulates the development of spermatozoa
  • Ÿluteinising hormone – completes the process of follicle development in the female and plays a role in testosterone production in the male
  • Ÿmelanocyte stimulating hormone – associated with control of colour changes in pigment cells

The posterior pituitary stores 2 hormones made in the hypothalamus:

  • Ÿantidiuretic hormone, which helps the body conserve water
  • Ÿoxytocin which plays a role in aiding sperm to travel to connect with the egg after sex, and also in the delivery of the foetus and placenta at birth. In addition it has an effect on the mammary glands during lactation.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • Ÿ         scalp
  • Ÿ         cerebral cortex
  • Ÿ         central nervous system

The colour of this chakra is violet to white;

its sense is the sense of ‘knowing’;

its element is thought;

its function is understanding.

It is associated with fasting.

If this chakra is balanced it allows us to appreciate inner and outer beauty.  It gives us our connection to spirituality and the experience of pure bliss.  It allows you to feel immense gratitude for teh universal love and appreciation you feel towards yourself and others.

When it is out of balance it can result in depression, alienation, confusion, boredom, apathy and an inability to learn.  You might feel unworthy of spiritual help and angry that your higher power has abandoned you.  You might experience migraines and tension headaches.

This chakra is related to pure consciousness.  Energy from this level gradually becomes more dense as it travels down towards the base which is how thought becomes translated into matter in manifestation.  Travelling in the opposite direction our energies grow and develop through our lives leading us from solid matter to connecting with consciousness and the Divine.

Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

robyn@equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on the chakras.  You can read the full text here)

 

THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – part 7 of 8

THE BROW CHAKRA – AJNA

Also known as the Third Eye, this chakra is located in the middle of the forehead, slightly above the level of the eyes. It relates to the pineal gland, a part of the brain located at the rear end of the deep cleft that separates the 2 cerebral hemispheres and just in front of the cerebellum.

This gland is thought to influence our biological day / night rhythms.  It produces melatonin that seems to affect mood and sleep / wake cycles.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • Ÿ         eyes
  • Ÿ         sinuses

The colour of this chakra is indigo;
its sense is the sense of sight;
its element is light;
its functions are intuition and seeing (including insight).

It is also thought to relate to ‘second sight’ and other psychic talents.

The ‘food’ for this chakra is mind altering inhalants.

When this chakra is open and balanced it results in a wisdom, imagination, and the ability to make decisions.  You have a strong sense of your own inner truth and listen to, and follow it as it guides you on your life path.  You are confident in your own intuitive decisions.

When it is out of balance it can lead to visual problems, a lack of imagination and therefore empathy, or an inappropriate use of imagination where you prefer to live in your own inner world rather than being open to the reality of your situation.  You might feel lost when it comes to your spiritual purpose and path in life.  You feel disconnected from your intuition, or don’t believe that you have any.

It can also cause headaches, nightmares and an inability to trust one’s own judgement.

Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

robyn@equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on the chakras.  You can read the full text here)

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 5 of 5

Another way to support this is through ‘play’.  I’m taking this in its broadest terms, to refer to something that you enjoy doing, that lights you up inside and that ‘makes your heart sing’ – the things that, when you are engaged in them, time ceases to exist and you’re just enjoying the moment.  This releases endorphins and boosts our immune system, helping the body to deal with stress and repair from injury or illness.  It also helps to keep us looking and feeling young!

Another passion of mine is nutrition.  As someone who’s experienced food intolerances in the past I’ve become very interested in knowing what’s in the food that I eat.  Also, stress, medication and toxic chemicals can take their toll, upsetting the healthy balance of our gut bacteria, leading to dis-ease.

Many of us lead busy lives and so have come to rely on ready made and microwaveable meals, however these often contain high levels of sugar and salt and the processing that is done in their preparation destroys much of their goodness.  In addition, our fruits and vegetables are produced through intensive farming methods using chemical sprays, which result in fewer nutrients and a variety of toxins that overload the liver.

I believe it is very important to source ingredients that are as healthy and natural as possible.  Buy organic where you can or, even better, grow your own.  Cook from scratch (if you’re short on time perhaps you can do this in advance and freeze portions for later meals) adding herbs and spices for extra flavour rather than salt or sugar.  Include a wide range of foods and colours to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.  If you eat meat, fish, eggs and/or dairy I would again recommend buying organic and unprocessed options where possible, to avoid the hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals that can often be found in these foods.

It’s also important to keep well hydrated, particularly during times of stress or illness, as this helps to flush out toxins and to keep our cells functioning at their best.

Running my own company, I know how important it is for business owners to stay healthy.  We want to give our clients the best possible service and this means maintaining our productivity and creativity while also keeping fit and avoiding sickness and burnout.  This is where I can help.  I can support you, and any members of staff you may have, in finding ways to look after your health so that you enjoy your work and thrive on the challenges that it brings.

Here are some of the things that previous clients have said about working with me:

Robyn … provided a warm and welcoming space and I quickly relaxed. I found the session very intriguing as it brought up some interesting things that I was very happy to release. Robyn has a very gentle approach and at the same time gets right to the heart of the matter.

I felt very relaxed and energised.
I continued to flow with a very gentle ease…

It was a really enjoyable experience and allowed me time to reconnect with myself,

It’s now two months on and I’m realising the benefits of the session. Thank you Robyn

Rosie Withey

 

I have been going through a really tough time for the last 5 weeks and have been struggling to pull out of it. Today I had a therapy session with Robyn who is not only lovely but also very talented. My sorrow has lifted and for the first time in ages I can look back and smile. I also have new clarity and direction for the future. Thank you so much

Victoria Denning

 

Robyn is such a lovely person to work with. Her calm and friendly manner immediately put you at ease and her Reiki skills are just incredible. Her knowledge is vast and you know you’re in expert hands when you spend time with her. Thoroughly recommended

Becky Barnes

 

I went to see Robyn as I found myself ‘running around in circles’, feeling stressed and like I was going to ‘hit a brick wall’. I had a session of Reiki, and Robyn also helped me focus on being positive and relaxing, giving me extra activities to do at home. I followed these, and instead of ‘crashing and burning’ I got through it. Thank you Robyn for your support and help.

Clare Davis

 

If you have any questions or comments on anything that I’ve mentioned here, or if you would like to book in for a tailor-made wellbeing session with me, then please get in touch:

email:              robyn@equenergy.com

phone:             07980 6699303

website:          www.equenergy.com

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 4 of 5

When we’re in stress our bodies are effectively in Fight or Flight mode.  This can be necessary, for example if we need to escape from a dangerous situation, however our bodies were not designed to stay in this state for longer than about 10-15 minutes at a time.  When we remain in stress for long periods it affects our immune system leaving us more susceptible to illness.  We can also suffer from dis-eases such as adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue.  In addition, being in this state means that it is more difficult for our bodies to recover from injury or illness.

When we are relaxed it allows our bodies to enter into the parasympathetic nervous system of Rest and Repair.  Here our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure return to a healthier level and our gut is able to digest more effectively, meaning that we can better absorb the nutrients that we need from our food.  Also, it is only in this state that our cells can shift their focus away from preparing for attack or escape and towards work on maintenance and repair.  Being in this state therefore helps us to recover from illness and injury and to remain in a state of balance and wellbeing.

Each body has a blueprint of how it should be in order to be functioning at its optimum.  It is an intelligent system with a variety of processes that are always aiming to return to this healthy model.  Taking time to be still, enables our cells to reconnect with this inner wisdom, allowing the body’s processes to work as they were designed to do, and bringing us back to balance and wellbeing.

In part 5 I’ll look at another couple of great ways to support our wellbeing and alleviate the effects of stress.

 

(You can read the full article here)

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 3 of 5

Another way to look at stress is to imagine that we have a ‘stress bucket’.  The capacity of the bucket can vary from person to person depending on the experiences we’ve had in our lives and how these have shaped our beliefs and mindset.

 

Stress comes in to the bucket from a variety of different sources.  (Doing a regular body scan as described above can help you to become aware of the things that add to the level of stress in your bucket.)  We can start some days with a high level of stress, meaning that our bucket is already nearly full, and it only takes another small amount to make it overflow!

However we can take steps to help us deal with the stress.  This has an effect similar to turning on the tap and allowing some of the contents in the bucket to drain away.  Again this can vary from person to person but here are a few examples:

  • journaling
  • mindfulness and meditation
  • practicing saying No
  • recognising and honouring our own needs, eg for sleep, rest, nutrition and hydration
  • gentle exercise, such as swimming, walking, yoga, gardening
  • spending time outdoors in natural light and fresh air
  • doing things that you enjoy – reading, singing, dancing or other hobbies
  • self care: booking in a session of aromatherapy, reflexology, massage or Reiki, for example

One very simple technique that can be used anywhere is simply to become aware of your breath.  There are a variety of breathing exercises available so it’s worth trying a few to find out what works for you.  One of my personal favourites is to place your hand over your heart, then breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 6.  Visualise the breath coming directly in to, and going out from, your heart.  This helps to calm your heartbeat into a smooth rhythm which in turn ‘entrains’ your brain to a more relaxed wavelength.  Just taking a moment to be still and taking a deep breath  in this way, can help to give you that second to pause and choose how to respond in a situation rather than just reacting out of fear or anger.

Next week I’ll look at what’s happening in the body when we’re in stress and why it’s important to make time for rest.

 

(You can read the full article here)