Beautiful on the Inside,Reaching Out

Taking Care of Yourself Inside and Out

Today, Kathy Flaminio shares some ideas for “nourishing your mind, body, and heart…”

Kathy is the President and Founder of 1000 Petals, the National Director of Training Development for Yoga Calm® as well as a Social Worker. I had the privilege of meeting her last summer when she volunteered to be a guest speaker at the Refugee Fundraiser that Mary Wilde and I put together. Her lecture was so engaging, interactive and inspiring. Here is a portion of the presentation that she shared with us at our Fundraiser.

Plus, what a great time of year to learn and begin practicing these important tips!

Image via 1000 Petals

By Kathy Flaminio

For many of us, the workday is filled with complex demands, competing priorities, high expectations and the need to take care of a multitude of details. The “taking care of others first” at the cost of our own needs, often leads to depletion of energy and feelings of being overwhelmed.  What is important to remember is that it is difficult to take good care of others unless you take good care of yourself! Your self-care is the most important care.  We all know the fundamental self-care tips: quality sleep, nourishment with fresh life-sustaining foods, exercise, laughter, self-reflection, meditation, alone time, and surrounding ourselves with positive people.  However, there seems to be a disconnect between what we know, what we do with what we know and our ability to “be” (e.g. present, grounded, calm, clear, peaceful, etc.) Part of the reason for this Know-Do-Be disconnect is that many of us feel too overwhelmed and don’t permit ourselves permission to take the time for self-care.  

When self-care is neglected the body moves into the stress response.  The body’s stress response includes over 1,400 physical and chemical reactions and over 30 different hormones and neurotransmitters. These remain high hours and even days after a stressful event is over if not discharged (Childre & Martin, 1999).

Here is a very simple five-step process modified from Laurie Ellis Young to feel energized and vibrant throughout the day and begin to slow and stop the chain reaction of stress in the body.

  1. STOP – The first thing you need to do when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed is literally STOP. Stop everything you are doing and get connected by placing you feet on the floor or sit in your chair and lengthen your spine. Slow your breathing. When you take deep breathes you activate the relaxation response (consider using the Mindfulness Bell on your computer http://mindfulnessdc.org/bell/index.html )
  2. SIGH – Sighing is the body’s natural way of releasing stress. Take a nice deep breathe in and exhale a vocal “ahhh.” Do this several times and take note of any changes in the mind and body.
  3. STRETCH – Everyday move your spine in six directions-front/back (arms up over head and forward fold the body), side to side (lift arms over head and move the torso laterally), and twisting (seated or supine twist) www.lhj.comhealth/fitness/relieve-stress-with-yoga/
  4. SHAKE – Shaking is another way of dissipating stress in the body. Start standing, and gently start to shake your arms, your legs, your hands etc. Try to shake for two to five minutes. Then gently stop, close your eyes and feel.
  5. SMILE – Smile at five people each day (especially the ones who are challenging). Smiling triggers scientifically measurable activity in the left frontal cortex, the area of the brain where happiness is registered. If you want to release more stress, add laughter. Laughter lowers blood pressure, increases your attentiveness and energy levels. You can fake your laughter and get the same effects.

Most importantly, when you leave the office pause and breathe. As you close the door take a deep breathe and let yourself leave the emotional work at the office. Intentionally create the transition for going home. Find yourself in the present moment. When driving home if you are at a red light let it be a reminder to breathe and pause. Trust you did your best today.

“Sometimes the most powerful practices that bring the most beneficial changes in our lives are the most simple. The key is making them a habit.” Laurie Ellis Young  

***

P.S. Speaking of taking care of ourselves, I will be doing just that after my surgery today.  No post on Friday this week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! XOXO

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Lillian
    November 21, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I love Kathy’s approach!!! I remember her presentation from last year’s conference. It’s fantastic!!!

    • Reply
      Melessa
      November 21, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      It really was! Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    Amy
    November 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

    The holidays can be so stressful. By the time Christmas comes I’m usually done with Christmas! I’ll try to remember to do these exercises to help myself release some stress and embrace the calm. Thanks for the tips!

    • Reply
      Melessa
      November 21, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      I need to do the same! Thank you so much for commenting!

  • Reply
    Jana
    November 22, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I needed this reminder! I am modifying my workouts to be much more gentle and oriented around mindfulness. These are great tips to encourage more kindness toward myself.

  • Reply
    Barb
    November 27, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I will be trying this when I get stressed. I need reminders to slow down and de-stress when things are getting hot and heavy.

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