Open to Gratitude

Effective Self Care Practices during Challenging Times

Welcome to my website and I hope this finds you well. There is so much going on in the world right now and it is especially important to focus on self care, especially when we feel pulled into a phase of depression, anxiety, or despondency. Although these are not simple times, there are simple things you can do to support yourself. There is currently a short waitlist for psychotherapy and bodywork, but feel free to message me here if you are interested.

 

1. Create a Gratitude Practice

 

What are you grateful for? Think of three things every morning and every evening and write them down, think about them consciously, or journal about them if you have more time. This is an extremely powerful self care practice. One client I worked did this every day for a few months while he was job-searching. He reduced his anxiety and was chosen out of 365 people for a coveted sales position. Granted, he’s a bad-ass and earned that position, however the positive mindset helped him shift out of negative cognitive patterns. In his book “Tools of the Titans”, Internationally known author and podcast host Tim Ferris suggests adding the following:

 

Morning

  • Three things you are grateful for

  • One thing that could make this day better

  • Three affirmations that speak to you (“I am kind”, “I am whole”, etc.)  

Evening

  • Write down anything amazing (or good) that happened that day

  • How could you have made that day better?

 

2. Consider a Cleanse or Gentle Detox

 

 

These are challenging times and the world is experiencing ecological and social disasters like never before. We are a global community and even those of us fortunate enough to have supportive resources may be persistently inundated with external stimuli, or internal preoccupation that gets in the way of self care.

 

Feelings of overwhelm, exasperation, and fear can be debilitating and may lead to unhealthy coping strategies, like consuming excess sugar, alcohol, processed food, or drugs. Disassociating with TV or gaming is also an unhealthy coping mechanism when done in excess.

 

The body will tell you when you are ready for a cleanse. It is important to desire change and be ready to limit or remove unhealthy behaviors. Now when I say “ready”, I don’t mean doing cartwheels ready. Cleanses may be difficult.  And in my experience, once I get going, joy and balance are provoked through the process of consciously honoring and clearing out the body.

 

Cleanses support us to slowly (or rapidly) eliminate things that are bad for us, and through the detoxification and rebuilding process, we are better able to feel the positive effects of healthy food, movement, supplements, and clean water. When the body starts to recognize what healthy and normal is, we build healthier habits for the long-term.

 

I am inspired by a product line that supports and nourishes the cleansing process and increases good self care habits. I have been using these products and have seen amazing results. There are so many benefits, but I’ll list just a few. The all-organic, GMO-free green shake and amino acid/gut health supplements have regulated my moon, cleared my skin, and supported motivation and productivity.

 

If you are interested in beginning your own transformational cleanse and would like to learn more about these products and receive support, message me here.  It is an amazing experience that may transform your life and wellbeing.

 

3. Move Your Body Every Day

 

 

This is not rocket science, but unfortunately the mind loves to paint it that way, or recruit the inner critic instead of the inner bad-ass. If you’re out of practice, do something every day that moves your blood and body. Start with twenty minutes and slowly increase. Or, commit to a hour, three to four times a week and notice how you feel. If you miss a day or a week, don’t beat yourself up and try again. 

 

Movement supports the production of dopamine, serotonin, estrogen, testosterone, and increases endorphins, so there is no question that movement, alongside therapy (and in some cases medication), is crucial for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that a brisk walk combats depression and when done regularly, increases the efficacy of therapy by 75% (Scientific America, 2015).

 

Some Ideas: Walking in Nature, Yoga with slow, deep breathing, Stretching (add music or a podcast if you are easily distracted), Ride your bike, Strength-training, Dance, etc. Youtube has an awesome free fitness channels as well.

 

Go-to stress relieving breath practice         

*If you do not meditate, try this instead in the morning Set a timer for 5-15 minutes

 

Inhale for a count of 4
Hold your breath for 4-8 counts
Exhale 5-7 counts

 

 

4. Social Support

 

 

Developing a healthy social support network is crucial for mental health and self care. Make sure to be in regular contact with your closest friends and family members. Schedule activities, phone calls or videos chats weekly, especially when you know you are having a hard week. My out of town friends and I love the app “Marco Polo” for video exchanging. It works better than Face-time if you’re busy and can’t get to your phone in real-time.

 

Click here to read my article on trauma fatigue and how to better understand the body’s fight/flight/freeze response. Additional video resource for empaths below.

 

Sending healing wishes your way,

 

-Romi

 

 

Being an Empath Today: Surviving and Thriving with the Gift of Sensitivity: I appreciated this Video by Dr. Judith Orloff  which offers insight into what empaths experience, as well as some basic tools. 

Feel Good in Your Body in 2014

Photo: Kimberly Green
Photo: Kimberly Green

Speaking of resolutions and new years and all that….I felt inspired to bust out a little fitness inspiration this evening because WE ALL NEED IT. It is fascinating how this thing (exercise) that makes us feel so amazing (dopamine, yay!) is also something some individuals are fervently resistant to. When students or friends ask me questions about having a strong core, or having the “toned abs” thing, here is what I say… Be consistent. You don’t have to do a lot of exercise to be healthy and in shape. You DO need a CONSISTENT PRACTICE that involves strong blasts of exercise, almost every day.

Yoga doesn’t have to be a 90 minute class. Your gym stint, hike or run doesn’t have to be a hour to be effective, but do KEEP YOUR PACE UP to see better results and improved cardio vascular health. Although there are a lot of gimmicks out there, the “7 minute” Ab thing can work, if you do it 4-7 times a week (ideally mixed with cross-training).  Ride your bike to the store, a meeting, or your friend’s party. You should do that anyway to reduce your carbon footprint, and you might meet an attractive eco-hipster along the way. Just remember to not act so cool you forget your helmet like this guy…

xBiker-Cyclist-Pants-The-Climber-Outlier.jpeg.pagespeed.ic._-OqXWmL4p

Just do SOMETHING, almost every day. I promise you’ll be feeling so good and so into it, you will start extending those 7-20 minute time windows to 60-90 minutes.

And first and foremost, do your best to love your body and tell your inner critic to take a hike, he or she doesn’t help your progress or confidence. The incisive, less-than-elegant prose of the inner critic is deeply saturated with environmental conditioning or self-deprecating hoo-haw most likely projected onto us when we were young, vulnerable, and impressionable. Which is why it is even MORE IMPORTANT to..

MEDITATE, Yo.

“Yoga chitta vritti nirodha” – Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations (whirlpool) of the mind (thought)

-Patangali’s Yoga Sutra

meditation page pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calming the mind via meditation and yoga supports us to feel more spacious inside and out. A mindfulness practice is like a Zen slayer, who unhooks the insolent talons of chitta (mental chatter) and reminds our inner waters to flow quietly, sans whirlpool (vritti). It may take some time, but a true Yogi tirelessly attempts to peacefully slay that darn chitta like some kind of Hunger Games apparition. If you are a beginner or busy, try meditating for ten minutes 3-7x per week and slowly progress to 20-30 minutes. Practicing in the morning will support you to feel clear, empowered and sparkly for your day.

mfln8l

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take it from me, I am a masterful procrastinator, and will find every reason to stay on my computer or organize things until I have to run out the door, only to feel disappointed with myself or self-critical that I didn’t do something active. One thing that helps me, is looking at the clock about a hour before I have to leave and committing to take at least 10-30 of those minutes for myself; to sweat, move, sit, or find a hill somewhere. When I can carve out 2 hours and hit the mountains, gym or a class even better.  The point is, it’s OK to take only 10-20 minutes to be active. It’s better than sitting on your bum, or getting drained by Facecrack, a project, or the news.

Speaking of Abs, here are a few core-strengthening options you can do which also strengthen the arms and legs (especially if you do them all).  Lately I have been into this 15 minute workout my busy Ph.D candidate friend recommended. If he can do it and write a 1000 page dissertation, so can we! It’s even more effective when mixed with other activities, or practiced on off-cardio days.

Have a beautiful 2014 and remember to MOVE YOUR BODY and CALM YOUR MIND. You will be handsomely rewarded.

One love

-Romi