Thursday, April 9, 2020

4 Easy Things

By now we are all somewhat accustomed to our new work-life situation.  Like it or not, here we are. Without the ergonomics of professional office spaces, "water cooler" interactions with co-workers, and add to that lots of extra stress, your body may be complaining about the situation. I wanted to offer some suggestions for alleviating very common issues desk jockeys deal with under 'normal' conditions, and which are now exacerbated with our makeshift offices and lifestyles. 
You've heard these before. But now is the time to actually take action and make some little tweaks to your daily routine. Hopefully, they will become habits and I promise they will serve you well.

1) Sit up! Make sure you are using good form when you're clacking away on your keyboard and calling in to your virtual meeting. (And by good form, I don't mean just get out of our pajamas!)  Here's a pic of how your body will be happiest if you must sit at a computer:
If you don't have a nice fancy office chair, you may need to add some support with pillows or rolled up towels. If your computer screen is too low, change the height by improvising with some books or shoe boxes as risers. 

2) Move! Once or twice an hour, get up and get some blood flowing. Stretch. Planks. Jumping jacks. Set an alarm and do this regularly. There are tons of resources for exercise, stretching and breathing routines.  Find what works for you and DO IT! Here are a couple simple and straightforward suggestions:

3) Drink water! Yeah, you'll have to make more bathroom breaks, but that's great excuse to get up and move. Here are some tips to increasing your intake:
  • fill (daily) and keep a jug or carafe at your desk- it'll give you a constant reminder to replenish your glass and it'll be a satisfying accomplishment when you've emptied it by day's end
  • set an intention to drink one glass per hour
  • before you refill your coffee mug, drink another glass of water
  • drink water from a straw 
  • add some fresh lemon wedges to your glass or make some herbal tea
  • set your phone or computer background as a water image for a visual reminder

4) Breathe! It's a superpower. Really.  Again, lots of articles and videos. You don't need a lot of time or any special equipment to practice different types of breathing. 
Feeling tired? Try the Bellows Breath for some energy!
Feeling anxious, stressed or having trouble sleeping? Try 4-7-8 breathing (twice a day for no more than 4 breath cycles).  

May you find peace, love and joy in each day. Take good care of yourself so you are able be good to others as well.  

Much love! xoxox

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Going slow is OK

Boy, the lists of suggestions to keep us busy and productive during our isolation are endless! 

I'll admit, I'm also guilty of making grand plans in my mind, pushing my kids to stick to a schedule and really wanting to use this time to accomplish something really cool and creative and earth shatteringly brilliant.  

But, the truth is, I'm finding that some days I'm on task and sticking to the plot script, and other days it feels like I have to pause just to catch up.  Like when you are watching a psychological-mystery-thriller (is that even a genre?) and the dialogue is all in heavy Scottish accents (sorry, my UK friends) and every scene is taking place in a dark alley and in order to process and digest and "get it", you have to grab the remote, maybe rewind for a minute (yes, this is a 1986 VHS playing in my analogy) and rewatch that part again.  Or, perhaps you end up being that guy who asks, "What'd he say? Wait, who's this? Umm, why are they going there?" 

Either way, sometimes you have to stop to regroup until you are ready to proceed with your new perspective.  And that's what is happening now. I find it's necessary to slow down, dig down into whatever grounds me and connects me to something deeper and higher than myself.  

So, this post isn't a 'to do' list. It's short and to the point, I hope. 
Be patient with yourself. 
Take one thing at a time. 
Control that which you can.
And don't worry if you don't get what's going on at every moment of the day.

May you find peace, love and joy in each day. Take good care of yourself so you are able be good to others as well.  

Much love! xoxox

P.S. I walk several times a day- with or without music. One of my favorite albums is called "Wheels of Light" by Beautiful Chorus. Each acapella song is a positive affirmation chanted repeatedly for several minutes. It's a meditative and calming collection of songs to add to your tool box of self-care.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Take control of your anxiety

Are you feeling like this?
Of course you know by now that too much anxiety and stress, left unmanaged is unhealthy. There are lots of scientific research and articles supporting this so we don't need to rehash that, right? 
So I ask: how are you handling it all? Remember when you told me you don't have time to learn how to meditate? Or you don't know where to start? Or you tried meditation but it doesn't work for you? Guess what? There's no time like the present! No fancy equipment required. No credit cards to dig out or classes to join. Just start where you are. Call it meditation or mindfulness or prayer. Whatever name you prefer, just know that any little bit of movement toward quieting the mind will be a powerful tool for you.  Your body will thank you for it. 

I was pretty psyched to see these great resources offered for FREE and thought I'd share with you all.  I'll keep updating this page as I gather more solid suggestions.

The first one is a link to the website of an app I love, called Calm. If you hit the link below it will take you to a page where you will have immediate access to some content to use right now from your computer. You can also upload the app   on your phone or iPad. I've explored a lot of their offerings, but I particularly like the meditation classes, daily 10 minute mindfulness, relaxing music, nature sounds, and sleep stories. If you like ASMR (think whispers, soft crinkling sounds, leaves rustling in the wind) there are several options. I think there is something for everyone.

This next one is going to seem a little 'out there' to some of you. If you aren't familiar with Tapping or EFT, you might want to give it a go and see how you feel.  It's actually based on acupressure points, and there's a lot of basis behind it which I won't bore you with right now. Tapping is easy, takes just a few minutes, and can be applied to any emotional or physical discomfort you experience. They also have an app but I have not used it yet.

Please leave me some feedback, share with others and feel free to offer other suggestions in the comments below! 

May you find peace, love and joy in each day. Take good care of yourself so you are able be good to others as well.  

Much love! xoxox

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Checking in with YOU

Hi there! You ok? We're all getting inundated with emails about what this company and that company are doing to take precautions around keeping employees and customers and students safe.  Our inboxes are crammed with so many daily communications, it's almost like 'Black Friday' volume, right? Except not quite as satisfying as snagging that InstaPot you've been wanting for a bargain price!

Anyway, I wanted to try to stay in touch with my family, friends, colleagues and clients without adding to the (overwhelming) content overload.  Just because we are isolated physically doesn't mean we have to feel alone.  Every day, since I can remember, I've given thanks for little and big things in my life. And if you are reading this, you are on my list of gratitudes! Seriously- to every single one of you, I am grateful for our encounters, relationships, gifts, and lessons I learn from you. My plan is to update this blog with links to things I think will be good ideas for self-care. Once a week post is my goal. Please keep checking back!

So, I'm hunkered in, feeling pretty good about all my frenetic preparations and the current reality of our living situation in my household. The furniture has been rearranged, new spaces have been carved out of other spaces which used to only serve one purpose.  And what I've quickly concluded is that in order to accommodate our new existence it's VITAL *necessary to the existence, continuance, or well-being of something; indispensable; essential* to look at things a bit differently, find humor and go with the flow. 

Case in point: a new "home office" is suddenly inserted into a corner of my bedroom over the weekend.
It used to be a simple, yet lovely little nook consisting of our favorite throw blankets and two comfy chairs placed in front of a window which allowed us to enjoy watching the fascinating wildlife activities happening in the big old oak tree just a few feet away.  

My husband and I would relish our weekend routine of sharing a French press coffee, catching up on the week's events, planning out our day, and most importantly, dreaming together.  Today it is an executive work station. Don't misread- I'm happy to surrender that area for the foreseeable future for the greater good, and I'm happy to have him working from home when possible. (Famous last words. I'm sure a future blog entry will be "10 Tips- How to Live 24 Hours a Day With Your Partner of 30 Years and Not Plot Their Demise".) (Just kidding! Geesh!) However, when setting up the desk and chair, we really needed to look at the big picture. Literally! When the inevitable video conference call happens will the overflowing clothes hamper be in eye shot of your boss? Will you remember to close the bathroom door so the toilet won't be a distraction to your coworkers? Will someone on the toilet be a distraction during the conference call? (jk- we do have another bathroom I can use, don't worry!)

What about the ironically timed work of the arborists just outside the new "office" window and their unbelievably noisy chainsaws? (For the record, I grew up in a family where we relied on cutting our own wood for supplemental heat, so I am quite familiar with how loud and smelly a chainsaw is! But somehow these particular machines seemed much more harsh and invasive in my little  neighborhood.) Can we be flexible with the unplanned and unscheduled parts of our day which are beyond our control? The answer is obvious- we have to! If we can't be flexible something will break. And kind of like the job of those damn arborists trimming dead branches outside my window, we need to let go of the pieces of our old selves that no longer serve us well. Pieces that will be heavy burdens and hold us back from growing and living fully. Even in the chaos and uncertainty that each day holds, we have to adapt and know that there is important work that still needs to be done.  

My lovely little nook is now in a different, less secluded and quiet area of our home. But I smile in my heart, because I know that we still carry on and continue our morning coffee chats, plot our daily and long term goals and we will especially keep dreaming. 

And now, one last bit of your massage therapist's humor.....

May you find peace, love and joy in each day. Take good care of yourself so you are able be good to others as well.  

Much love! xoxox

4 Easy Things

By now we are all somewhat accustomed to our new work-life situation.  Like it or not, here we are. Without the ergonomics of profess...