Less Serious, More Playful

Less Serious, More Playful

Feel like your life is one endless stream of “to do” tasks? All work, no play. You can go through your life seriously “serious” all the time. I have to admit I tend to run this way, full of purpose … Continue reading

One Strategy to Recapture Your Calm & Focus on What You Do Want

One Strategy to Recapture Your Calm & Focus on What You Do Want

We all have been there. Too much to do. Too much to manage. Too much overwhelm. Just simply too much! There are lots of things we can to do work on these issues. Sometimes due to circumstances we have to … Continue reading

Unplug, Relax and Enjoy

laberinth at flainnifans near zion natioanl park

Can we really unplug, relax and enjoy? I say yes, we can do this. But it is a very conscious choice we make in each and every moment I think. As of recent due to increased job, community and personal commitments I have found myself in a place to really re-look at this concept.

As I begin my vacation travels this week, I see lots of folks completely plugged in and checked out to others around them, including themselves. I am not suggesting we all throw out all of our electronic devices we are all a bit addicted to. But I am suggesting that we do a check in with ourself every so often as to the balance of being emerged in our high-tech environments and the “crazy busy” life so many of us create for ourselves AND taking time for self-care and letting joy and peace flow into our live. Thus my own check in as I take some time away from it all.

As I sat on a plane earlier yesterday, I sat across from a father who had his young baby son  lying on his lap. The baby was asleep with his little arms flung out above his head, a content and utterly peaceful experience on his face. To his side dad had another child who was resting on his shoulder, cuddled up and asleep by her daddy. It was all so sweet and very calming to be sitting by. A bit of a “wake up call” for me to take more time for this beautiful, peaceful calm together time with my loved ones. Without this balance we can feel disconnected and very un-centered.

So I am off to begin this process to re-balancing once again. And yes it is an over and over process I think. It is so easy to get off course, but always possible to get back on a path of more joy and peacefulness.

Some questions you might ask yourself as you too are trying to access and get back on the path:

  1. How am I doing? How do I feel the majority of the time?
  2. What am I doing on a day-to-day basis for self-care? 
  3. Do I plan long-term what is the very best for me and what I want and what brings joy to my life?
  4. What kinds of boundaries do I set up to make sure I am doing what is the best thing for me and that is balanced and healthy?
  5. And the ultimate question, “Is this how I want to live my life?”

I hope you will enjoy this beautiful spring time emerging around us and use it as a time for re-birth and new beginnings toward better self-care and reaching for all the joy and happiness you deserve.

Much peace and love to you all.

 

How to Create More Peace, More Fun, More Joy

Cat resting on top of my desk papers

How high is your paper pile? As you can see mine had gotten pretty high. My kitty cat has reminded me it is time to take a break. Sometimes it takes an outside source for me to slow down and regroup. But many times I find if I listen to that small voice within I know when it is time to take a break and refresh. What are some of the signs that tell you it is time to slow down?

Here are FIVE sure signs that you may need a break.

  1. You continue to have accidents, maybe small ones, like running into things, dropping things, finding you have made mucho many mistakes in emails you have sent out, etc.
  2. You cannot find things. Maybe you find your keys in the refrigerator. Not good!
  3. You find your communication has gotten shorter and curter and more to the point. You find you are in conflict more with your loved ones.
  4. You don’t feel you are enjoying life. There is no time for that. You are too busy!
  5. You have a sense of unease that tells you that all is not well. Or you may not feel well straight up. Our bodies are “our friends”. They try to tell us when we are going “too fast” or needing to regroup. In fact, most of us will eventually just get sick and our bodies will just shut us down if we don’t listen.

There are times for all of us that we just feel it is all too much and we need a break. So why don’t we? Good question. Sometimes it really does feel like we don’t have a choice. We are under a deadline or someone else is counting on us and we don’t want to let them down. We might worry what others might think. Or it may be that we have just got in a “habit” of being too busy.

It may not really be so much about how much we have going on in our life, but how we perceive it. Are you a half full or half empty person? Our thinking effects how happy we are and how we cope with everyday stressors.

All this said, we still all need to relax and recuperate – taking time to do something that is just for us or do something that brings us immense joy. Of course the best is when we can fill our life with things that bring us joy and happiness. It is also important to note that we all have our own special speed that feels best for us. Some folks just operate at a higher frequency level. That is ok as long as it feels good and it brings us feelings of happiness.

So to end here are FIVE ways to have more PEACE, more FUN, more JOY.

  1. Put a protective shield around yourself. Imagine whatever image works for you. For example: A bright, white protective light around yourself that keeps you calm and stable and not affected by outside pressures and upsets. At a self-care workshop I did for therapists, I had one participant use a super hero cape to wrap around herself. You will have your own image come to mind. This protective shield is not to say you ignore your family or not be sensitive to others. It actually allows you to be more sensitive when you choose not to let the “yuck” stuff into yourself inner space.
  2. Let the good in. Author and Neuro-Psychologist  Rick Hanson advocates letting more of the good into our lives. Focusing on those parts of our life that bring us joy. So many times this is the little things in our lives. It is just slowing down long enough to see them and feel the wonder of “letting the good in”.
  3.  Clear the clutter, develop a space that feels peaceful for you. This may look different for different folks. But space clearing can  help in feeling more calm and creating an environment that leads to a more peaceful feeling.
  4. Remember you don’t have to be perfect. We are all human. And no one is perfect. We all do the best we can and that is enough.
  5. Take a BREAK. It is ok. Remember a break can be a 5 minute break, a 20 minute break, an evening break or a week break. They all count and help us to find that peaceful place that resides within. And as you know it will all be there when you come back. But when you come back you will have a fresh new look at it. Take a break to ENJOY yourself and your loved ones around you. They count big time in the grand scheme of things.

Note about my blog break: For those of you who follow my blog. I chose to take off from my blog for about a month to take a vacation, attend to some new projects that took some extra focus and regroup. So I am back and ready to go. In other words, I took a BREAK. And you can too. Best wishes in finding that happy balance of work and play!

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Simple Calming Breathing Technique for All Ages

pink rose from tanna's back yard

Looking for a way to calm yourself or help your child calm himself. Try this very simple breathing technique. What makes it a bit different is that it is extremely simple and tries  to incorporate your memory of a pleasant sight and smell. And most of all it is Simple, Simple, Simple. And I have decided so many times those are the things we can remember easily if we are feeling stressed and over the top.

Here is my version of this simple technique:

MY ROSE

1. Visualize a beautiful rose. Or you could imagine a rose garden if you wanted. Maybe your favorite color of rose or roses. (If you are explaining to a child, you might say “Think about a beautiful rose.”)

2. Take a deep breath and smell your rose. (Remember the wonderful smell of a rose and keep this in mind as you are breathing in your rose.)

3. Hold the wonderful smell for a few moments. (This would be at the top of your incoming breath. Hold in that great smell, enjoying it.)

4. Let your breath come out with a sigh or just naturally as you think of your rose.

5. Continue smelling roses until you feel calmer.

 

Alternatives to the Rose:

  • You can of course use any flower that you love and that you like the smell of.
  • You can also choose another sight that has a pleasant smell that you particularly like. This might be the ocean and the smell of the ocean OR it might be trees in a forest and the smell of a forest. This of course will be an individual thing as to what fits for you.

You might consider if you want to do the rose as your “calming anchor” to make sure you on purpose smell some roses outside or at a flower market and breath in their fragrance and do this exercise to build in a memory.

I have decided you never know where you might pick up a good idea. In this case, I was watching the movie, Danny Collins. There is a part where his young granddaughter is having trouble calming herself. Danny’s granddaughter has a diagnosis of ADHD.  The father tells her to remember her rose and then he walks his daughter through a similar kind of exercise that I have added to a bit.  I always want to give credit to sources that inspire or plant a seed for an idea for me.

I wish you the best in finding your own special rose or rose garden!

 

 

The “Foundation Ingredient” to Finding Answers to Your Problems

catepillar animated smiling

Finding the solution to a problem is not always about just thinking and working harder on it. I had this concept come home to me again recently.  So here is a little story to illustrate this surprising key to finding the answers to problems that you are having trouble finding a solution to.

I was having a tough week, lots to do and not sure how to handle a new challenge that evolved. I had wrestled with it trying to focus and actively find a solution when I was at a point that I felt my brain was fried. I finally decided to go to bed and start anew the next day. Not a bad strategy in itself. I was so wound up I thought maybe a guided sleep meditation might help me go to sleep easier. I had recently reviewed a children’s cd that was devoted to helping children relax and cope with anxiety. I remembered one of the stories being about a harried caterpillar that was all tied up in knots. I thought ok, that’s me!

And I listened . . .  A little girl was in the meadow. She saw a caterpillar who was scurrying around all tied up in knots. She asked him “What is wrong?” The caterpillar answered that he was all tied up in knots that he had to find green leaves to eat and find a place to create a cocoon all before nightfall. The little girl giggled and said first let me help you relax. She asked the caterpillar to lie down and had him relax all of his feet and then his body, etc. until he was all relaxed. The caterpillar was no longer knotted up. He began to feel the warm sunlight and gentle breeze in the meadow.  The little girl asked  him to let all of his thoughts leave his mind and let it relax. His mind was now still and quiet and very clear. As the little caterpillar looked up he saw a beautiful tree full of juicy leaves. And a lovely branch that would be perfect for his cocoon.  So he ate and ate the juicy leaves and began his cocoon in the safe place that he was able to find when his mind was quiet and still. He thanked the little girl for her gift of helping him to relax and find the answers to his problem. All was well.

 

As I finished this story I felt nice and relaxed and begin to drift off to sleep. But before sleep came, I had this lovely solution pop into my head as to what to do with the challenge that had plagued me all day. I was so excited I got up and jotted down this creative and unique idea. Went back to bed and had a great night of sleep.  This was a nice reminder for me about how letting our mind rest and clear can create fertile ground for the sprouting of fresh, new ideas.

The story I have shared is a summary of “The Goodnight Caterpillar” found on Lori Light’s cd, Indigo Dreams, Track #4.  www.stressfreekids.com . This is great cd for children (and adults) for stress reduction.

tree image animated word document

This fun story is great for sleep.  But one of its key messages is that when we relax our body and our mind, clearing our thoughts and entering a quiet, still place, we can then really see the solutions for problems or worries. Letting go and unwinding and relaxing fully will bring us great rewards. Think about it. When do you find your best solutions? For me it is normally not when I am at my desk, but when I am out for a walk or taking a break from my work or just after meditating. Other times might be while I am in the shower or drifting off to sleep.

So consider not working so hard and letting the answers come to you while you are in a relaxed state. Doesn’t that sound like so much more fun!

 

 

A time to go, a time to rest – TAKING A COUPLE’S NAP

napping dogsSometimes what we need is not to go somewhere; but, to listen to our bodies and rest when we need to. I am not talking about disrupting sleep schedules, but at times a NAP is what we need. There is something really warm and relaxing about taking a nap together as a couple. Maybe you have had an exhausting week and it is Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you have evening plans, but you are just so tired that you are cranky and not feeling like doing anything. You just want to curl up and go to sleep.

Yes, the weekend feels like many times that we need to hurry and get things done while we are not working. Or that we must do a family activity or a couple activity. But NAPPING can be the perfect couple activity!   

So . . .  if  you both feel tired and out of sorts, why not take a little nap TOGETHER. It can be a time to cuddle up and let the world go by for a bit. A time to feel close and relaxed together. A time to take care of yourselves and be connected and close all at the same time. 

You may be thinking I have kids. How does this work.? Well, it depends. If they are little and they have their own nap time, you can do it during this time period. If they are no longer napping,  you might arrange for a play date with a neighbor child. Or maybe you take advantage while your child or teen is out doing their own thing at a birthday party or practice, etc.

Here is to taking a break and connecting all at the same time!

HAPPY NAPPING !!!