A Word on Wellness:
Let's talk about stress. How can we decrease stress in our lives?
tress is caused by our bodies instinctive response to a "stressor." Our bodies rush adrenaline, and cortisol through our bloodstream in order to give us energy (by speeding heart rate and breath and increasing blood pressure) and concentration to either fight or flee. This is problematic when the stressors in our modern lives don’t warrant either of these responses. What was useful for an in the moment reaction (such as running from a predator), is now harmful to our well being if activated too often, and/or for the wrong reasons. I think most of us can say that our stress responses get activated too often and sometimes for the wrong reasons.
So what can we do about it? In addition to a myriad of other options to help reduce stress long term (exercise, therapy, creating boundaries, etc.) we can get at it, in the moment, through the body. We can do this by activating the system in charge of our relaxation. This can often take conscious effort to activate. And, no surprise here, requires some mindfulness. Our bodies give us physical cues as we become stressed. You may feel your heart beating a little faster, sweaty palms or a heavy chest. You also may notice it in your behavior. Suddenly you are borderline running around the office or trying to accomplish too many things at once. If we can each determine what those cues are (for me it's primarily the heavy chest feeling) and pay attention to these cues, then we can become aware of our distress and consciously counteract it. Ways to engage this relaxation system would include taking deep breaths, taking a walk around the block, closing the office door and stretching or whatever else you find works for you. The key is to try and do this before you are experiencing full-blown overwhelm due to stress: nip it in the bud, if you will.
Some people might want professional help determining patterns they engage in that might be causing them undue stress, such as unhealthy relationship dynamics, negative self-talk, people pleasing or workaholic tendencies. However, regardless of what theexternal cause is, the internal stress is harmful and can be minimized by noticing it, and taking the time to counteract it.
See bottom of the newsletter for relaxation inducing yoga poses to try at home or in the office!
Something to Read:
I highly recommend "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert. While the message of this book got a bit repetitive for me toward the end, I appreciate the encouragement to live life creatively. As someone who has never fancied myself an artist or a creative (by any means) it was refreshing that Gilbert took such a broad approach to defining creativity. In the beginning of the book, she describes a friend of hers who, after years of not practicing, began ice skating regularly again. This woman faced the fear of looking like a ridiculous older person on skates, in a rink entirely occupied by teens in lycra, to do something that she loved. Gilbert argues that living boldly IS living a creative life. I loved that example! Gilbert names the negative self-talk, fear, and insecurity that gets in the way for many of us, and she urges us to keep putting one foot in front of the other toward what makes us feel most alive.
Something to Watch:
Brene Brown's TEDTalk on shame: "Empathy is the antidote to shame."
Quotes to Love:
"Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow" - Vincent van Gogh
Monthly wellness tip:
Try these three restorative yoga poses to help reduce stress and improve sleep. Hold each of these for 2-3 minutes OR as long as is comfortable OR (in my case) until you accidentally fall asleep.