Bend, Flow, Breathe

Ready or not, here they come!  The Holidays, that is.

Having just returned from sunny and warm SoCal, my body is not feeling like it’s really the middle of November and that Thanksgiving is next week! And while it certainly feels like winter around here, for some reason, I’m just living on a different calendar these days.  I’ve been doing a lot of work towards really figuring out what kind of programs I will be launching within the next several months.  I’ve been investigating some really amazing ideas, and I’m certain that people will LOVE what I will be bringing out this next year.  I have several women’s wellness retreats that I’m crafting; special programs created just for busy Moms; and I’m going way out of my “safe” zone by creating a program geared towards enhancing sensuality.  All these juicy ideas have been swirling around in my brain, and flowing forth through my hands as I try to capture all my ideas and get them wrapped up into fantastic content.  Top it all off with book ideas, blog ideas, video ideas, artistic ideas, conference presentation ideas, and it’s no wonder that it feels like the Holiday Season is sneaking up on me.

So, I decided that it might be worth taking the time to write a little about maintaining wellness during the Holiday Season.  So many different parts of our lives are combined together to create wellness.  There is physical health, emotional health, and mental health. If one of these gets knocked out of proportion, it’s easy for other aspects to shift around in an effort to compensate.  If stress levels get too high, and your sleep suffers, you might find yourself becoming more irritated and less patient.  You might be skipping work outs in an effort to make up time for things you feel need to get done.  As emotions tend to get out of hand, it’s easy to take little stabs at the loved ones in our lives, not realizing that a cascade of negativity is now flowing into all aspects of our being.

Instead of getting caught up in the stress and frenzy that can often be found during the holidays, I’ve decided to flow and to shift.  I am making a vow to flow more, and to shift when necessary.  For instance, if I find myself getting wrapped up in the idea of all that needs to get done, and I feel myself getting more tense, and more stressed because of this idea, I will shift direction, essentially making a 180-degree turn away from the stressful situation. This is also called a pivot.  If you find yourself feeling frantic, “this has to get done, I need to do this, I don’t have enough time, I’m freaking out!” Then pivot.  Do a one-eighty.  Stop for 10 seconds.  Breathe in through your nose, hold your breath for the count of five, and exhale. Do this 3 times.  And then, reflect and shift your thoughts away from the negative and replace them with the positive.  “This will get done in its own time. I am doing this because I enjoy this (or I want to do this special thing for my loved ones, etc.). There is plenty of time. I’m calm, peaceful, and happy.”

It’s incredible how a simple shift can completely replace negative thinking, and turn what was a stressful situation into a more peaceful situation.  I have started doing this with everything I can.  Traffic is a great place to practice. If someone cuts you off, pivot.  Instead of cursing and allowing the aggressive emotions to take over, find something positive to say instead.  I’ve been using a simple, “Bless them.”  What harm can come from that?  They get a blessing, and I don’t lose my marbles!

I’ve been practicing some excellent ways to enhance my feeling of Flow.  For many years now, I’ve been a huge proponent of finding balance in life.  Balancing my job with my family with my workout needs with my personal interests with my household chores with homeschooling with my…

Yeah, you get the picture.  How the heck does one balance all these things each and every day?  It’s impossible.  At a workshop I attended recently, the idea of Flow was brought up. Going with the Flow. Being able to bend and wave like flexible branches in the wind. Stepping to the side to avoid getting bowled over. Being loose, resilient, bendable, flexible, flowy.  Being like the water, moving through a streambed, over, under, around.  I instantly identified with the concept of bending and waving and flowing. My friend Kendall just wrote about this at ModPaleo. As she says, the concept of balance doesn’t make much sense if you consider sitting in the middle of the scale trying to juggle all these parts of life.  So, I am choosing to Flow. Breathe. Bend.

I'm finding that this not only affects my mental and emotional state of being, but my physical state, as well. When something is challenging, it's easy to tense up, hole-up, and go into a kind of self protection mode. But when I make the choice to flow with it, I find that I instantly looses up. My shoulders release, I start swaying my hips, I breathe more deeply. It's really fascinating. So the first step for me during this beautiful, dark, pensive, and ceremonious time of year is to improve my health and wellness by being truly aware of how my thoughts affect my body and my emotions. By being aware of the things that stress me, trigger my negative self-talk, I can shift my perspective, breathe, and go with the flow.