Lying on a large flat rock with a friend at a local state park yesterday was soul-fortifying. Nature is truly the ultimate anti-depressant and one of the most potent self-care practices we can tap.
I’m noticing that lately I’m waking up many mornings–even after a good night’s sleep–feeling tired. Actually, wiped out and exhausted. My guess is with all the chaos, uncertainty and unrest we’re facing both near and far — that many of us are not getting the deep, relaxed rest we need to fully replenish.
One thing I’m clear about is when we’re processing a lot, it’s more important than ever to put self-care front and center and to do less.
Overdoing taxes our adrenals and keeps us from experiencing life in the moment. Our modern 24/7 digital world has expanded what we can accomplish (and how quickly we receive news and information). Things move faster than ever before, we have more options available at our fingertips, and our reach extends around the globe. Yet on a day-to-day level, this hyper-stimulation and constant busy-ness comes at a cost to our well-being. When we do too much, we find:
• We are more distracted. Even when we’re together as a family, we aren’t present and focused on each other, and we don’t feel fed by our time together.
• We are overly focused on activities, goals, and outcomes, which sends the powerful, subconscious message to our kids — and ourselves— that we are only worthy if we’re “doing.”
• Since we live in constant motion and rarely rest, we are perpetually overextended, and so we become resentful and even angry, at both ourselves and others.
• Physically, we feel chronically tired and exhausted. Our poor bodies, overworked and overstimulated, rarely have time to truly rejuvenate (and this chronic stress can lead to depression and acute anxiety).
• Over time, the ongoing stress from our relentless pace affects our body’s immune, endocrine, and hormone systems, which are frequently out of balance. Living in “fight or flight” around the clock has become the norm and this stress is the root cause of 90% of all disease. (Read more.)
We’re entering a time of the unknown — a whole new frontier — that I believe requires us to have more space to breathe, think, dream, and digest. We’re craving more time to just be — so we can actually integrate into our hearts and souls what’s happening moment to moment.
This week I’m booking some low-key, inexpensive seasonal nature respites for my family to the mountains, the ocean and the desert. I’m cancelling some events and creating more spaciousness for meditation, women’s gatherings that feed my soul, and walks on the green belt. I’m asking, “Is this the best use of my energy?” and moving more slowly. I’m making the conscious choice to bring my business goals/expectations down a notch for 2017 and to give myself full permission to “do less,” so I can properly care for my emotional well-being and my family’s, too.
One of my favorite yoga teachers often asks her class, “Are we here to be productive or to give and receive love?” Kind of puts everything in perspective.
Last week, after observing how untethered many of my clients felt, I created some beautiful 4×6 postcards offering my 5 favorite self-care practices for uncertain times (below). I’d be happy to send you a small stack of these for your workplace, yoga class, school group or book club. Just email info at reneetrudeau dot com letting us know your address and how many you’d like. We just ask that you first pay for postage–then we’ll handle the rest. These are great to tape up in your car, on your refrigerator or bulletin board or in your office.
I created these little postcards offering my top 5 Self-Care Practices for Uncertain Times for you to share at your workplaces, yoga studios, schools or community centers. Number one is Do Less.
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance/mindfulness coach/speaker and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 14 year-old son. More on her background here.
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