Festive Pick Me Up

Festivities

Festive Pick Me Up strategies and techniques to stay sane! – We all need several strategies during the festive season to keep us away from melt-down.  Yes, we have over-committed; said yes to far too many things; decided we can be all things to all people and much more.

We all get stressed and often don’t consider what we might do about it – here are a few ideas that may enable you to change some of those behaviours that could support you over the holiday period.

Top Techniques – Add to your Tool-Kit

  • Take time out to escape from your worries for a while – a change of scene and tasks work wonders
  • Recognise that sometimes you can’t change things so just let it go. Don’t hold onto negative. ‘’
  • Be generous in your approach to others – what you give out you get back and smiles or a kind word/deed don’t hurt and can win you brownie points and exude positivity.
  • There is no such thing as perfectionism – I have banged on about this for years – stop setting yourself up to fail – Be realistic – your best is good enough
  • Stop listening to that critical inner voice – focus on all your brilliant good points and don’t say you don’t have any we all have loads. List them and smile at such a long list!
  • Be discerning; identify those issues/tasks you need to deal with first the rest may not need attention later – you can’t do everything at once and will probably make a rights cock-up!
  • Take ME TIME it’s not selfish if called ‘SELF-CARE use your time effectively doing something for you even if it’s just reading a chapter in a book – it is possible with good time-management and planning.
  • Assertiveness gives you ‘thinking time’ so do not respond until you have made a decision – it’s ok to say, ‘give me 5 minutes to check, and I will get back to you.’
  • Learn how to relax and breathe effectively; become in control of your body and discover how you can let go of tension and worry. With practice, it only takes a few minutes and then becomes part of your daily routine
  • Stay in the moment – focus on what you are doing and finish it! (try to stop multi-tasking)
  • 3-minute rule – if it can be achieved in that time DO IT! Or give it to the Family to do!
  • Learn to Manage your Time Effectively by delegating

One great technique I have shared which is also useful during the Festive Period can be found here Click

Time Out

Finally:  A top bit of practice that can be undertaken anywhere/anytime and it will enable you to come back into balance, becoming more grounded and in the moment.

Quick, on-the-spot relaxation:

  1. Sit up and back in your chair so that you feel firmly rooted, legs slightly apart, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Drop your shoulders while you take a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Close your eyes if it helps. Keep focused on your breathing and breathe in slowly to the count of three – pause to the count of three – breathe out to the count of three – pause to the count of three. Repeat in an even, comfortable rhythm.  It can help to imagine yourself relaxing more each time you breathe in and the tensions flowing away with every out breath.
  3. Now slowly tense, hold, and release the main muscle groups, working up through your body. Start with toes and feet; tense as much as possible, hold and release. Move on to calf muscles, thighs, bottom, stomach and upper body, in the same way, paying particular attention to the upper back and shoulders, where we hold a lot of tension.  Then work on your arms and hands.  Finally, if you can (some places are just too public), screw up the muscles of your face and neck and release.
  4. Return to focusing on slow breathing and check back through your body for any remaining tension.
  5. Finally, check your seating position, drop your shoulders again, and place your hands comfortably on your upper legs and concentrate on the sensation of warmth as it flows out through your hands.

Learning to relax in this way can be invaluable, and it is well worth the 5 minutes to put everything on hold and completely clear the scrambled thoughts/mad monkeys from your brain!

So take regular stock take of your energy levels; mad monkeys and demands from others and practice a bit of self-care!

Until next time

Warmth

Donnah

Don’t try to belly breathe in an under-wire bra

‘Don’t try to belly breathe wearing an under-wire bra’

This was a top tip from one of my students a few years ago.  Absolutely right, the air won’t get past the chest as the underwire stops it.  Therefore soft-cups peeps when you practice.

Never ever when Belly Breathing!

Never ever when Belly Breathing!

So, why air this top tip today?  Some of you may wonder what on earth my musings are about and that they seem a bit random. Let me enlighten you; each of my Blogs has an underlying message it’s down to you to decode it…the more enlightened you are the more you decode…. Simples.

Those of you who spotted the washing machine know what I’m on about.  But, today I will make it stress-free and easy-going and offer a little confab about ‘Belly Breathing’.

This particular Blog is totally lifted from my up and coming book. If you are interested in Mindful Breathing this is a great way to start.

The breath is the most important technique to practice; although we breathe all the time we often don’t do it properly. Therefore, to get started keep it simple.  To begin with, it’s all about the Breath, the posture, and a quiet place so you won’t be disturbed and then you move towards your centre/zone.  The magic is about to begin…

Choose a quiet space that you can customize for yourself – it can be as simple as a chair and a little space. Somewhere you can feel comfortable – turn off all distractions and get ready.

Start with sitting in a chair, keeping the back straight so your energy can flow and your feet uncrossed flat on the floor. Just notice how the chair supports you and where you feel the pressure.

Your Nose is Key

Next, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Begin to watch where the breath goes – it should go up the nose, down the throat into the lungs, then into the belly at which point the belly should inflate like a balloon – however when most people breathe in they seem to pull everything in. Just pay attention to the breath as it enters the body – the tip of your nose is a good starting point.

Tip of your nose is a great anchor to bring you back to your breath

Tip of your nose is a great anchor to bring you back to your breath

A couple of great tips.

  • Watch babies breathing and see how the belly inflates on the breath in and deflates as the breath moves out.
  • Now lie on a bed and as you breathe in notice how your belly rises and falls. None of this pulling it in malarky.

It takes a bit of practice, but you will get it and start breathing properly again — one warning though if you breathe too deeply, to begin with, you may feel lightheaded so just go back to a more gentle breath.

Just practice noticing the in and out flow of each breath and then notice the slight pause in between the in’s and the out. All you are doing is mindfully being aware of your breathing and your pauses.

Check out this visual aid

Here’s a quick little exercise to get you motivated

The following simple exercise is an effective method for achieving a mindful state. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and practice the following exercise twice for several minutes each day: Find a comfortable sitting posture or lie on your back. I advocate sitting in a chair as this can be done most places anytime anywhere.

  • If you’re sitting, keep the spine straight and let your shoulders drop –relax your body checking for any tensions- try to let it go.
  • Close your eyes if it feels comfortable (less distraction)
  • Focus your attention on your tummy, feeling it rise or expand gently as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
  • Concentrate on your breathing, ‘being with’ each breath count 1 when you breathe in, and 2 when you breathe out – up to 10 then start again. If you forget, go back to Breathe in for 1 and out for two keep these going for 3 minutes.

Every time you notice your mind has wandered off the breath, then your job is simply to bring your attention gently back to your breathing and the feeling of the breath coming in and out.

Practice – (just like cleaning your teeth it will become habit)

Practice this exercise for 3/5 minutes at a convenient time twice every day, whether you feel like it or not, for one week – and see how it feels to incorporate relaxation practice into your life – Try to do it at the same time each day, so it becomes a habit.

Be aware of how it feels to spend time each day just being with your breath, being ‘in the moment’ without having to do anything

Write down the things that distract you from your breathing practice and share them with someone.you can do this anyway this suits you; book; computer; verbally into your phone;  But, keep a timeline so you can see you progression you will be amazed and your growth.  Many of my tribe keep some sort of journal/diary those that don’t often forget chunks of their journey.

Use the best method of recording for you.

Use the best method of recording for you.

Remember that you won’t get it right all of the time and that’s great as no one is perfect.  With practice you will develop – Olympic Champions had to practice for many years before achieving their medals.

Start slowly and build your foundations

These are my Building Foundations

These are my Building Foundations

With basic mindfulness breathing, you want to try to increase to 5/10 minutes daily, to begin with, this will help you greatly. However if you  undertake all your daily tasks mindfully when you remember you are increasing the mindful habit incredibly.

Mindful breathing is the key to emotional well-being and helps reduce stress and other ailments. Remember you are looking to achieve a state of relaxed body and alert mind.

Keep checking breathing   – In through nose out through mouth; what happens to your diaphragm?  Remember to look at your posture and check out where tension is, breathe into it and release.

Although this exercise may sound very simple, it’s not.  To begin with, it requires time and commitment. Peeps often want to learn to meditate straight away without learning the basic building blocks.  THERE IS NO QUICK FIX – yes I was shouting at you!

As a result of practice, step by step the breath builds into great habits.  You become Mindfulness and Mindfulness is You….its Yin & Yang – complete balance.

     Life/Work Balance

Life/Work Balance

Further Top tips from students:

  • “It is very useful to make notes on your progress, a journal/diary maybe.” “Preparation is KEY.”
  • “Any breathing technique is useful ….I love them all. I use belly breathing throughout the day. I also find flexing my hands or feet on the in breath and relaxing them on the out breath is a good way of clearing the mind in order to get back to sleep. (J.E. 2016)
  • “Breathing and counting, you can’t panic about work and count” (V.W. 2016)

Until next time, happy breathing.

 

Diva x