How To Stay Calm In A Tumultuous Time
Things can get pretty tense at times. And 2017 has started out to be somewhat of an intense year. Here are some ways to take it down a notch or two when you need to...
Remember to breathe
Deep breaths, nice and slow. Not so deep that you hyperventilate, but deeper than you normally breathe. You can do this while standing if you need to, though taking a bit of time to just sit and reconnect to your breath might be more relaxing.
Walk in nature
If possible, take some time out of your day to go to the beach, a park, some hiking trails, or even just chill in your backyard. Being around greenery, flowers, and wildlife will help to lower your stress level dramatically.
Make crafts or enjoy hobbies
This doesn't have to be anything extreme or messy. Let it be something you can get immersed in, a type of moving meditation. Don't worry about the outcome -- let go of your perfectionistic tendencies and just have fun.
And speaking of meditation
Now might be a good time to begin a meditation practice, if you don't already have one. There are tons of guided meditations available online at various platforms (YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, etc.).
You could also try gazing at something that brings you warm fuzzy feelings (a flower, a flame, a picture of someone or something uplifting), or begin a mantra practice (chanting a positive word or phrase, either in English, Sanskrit, or another language). Taking the time to sit and maintain a single-pointed focus -- while challenging -- can be a nice option to scrolling through posts on Facebook.
Drink enough water
Hydration is essential to a functioning body/mind. And making good choices here is key. Lots of water and happy teas (as mentioned above) are nice options. You might want to limit -- or stay away from altogether -- the caffeine and booze. I know, I know. But, ya know. You'll sleep better and stay hydrated longer.
The obviously choice here at Sundara. Whether you're practicing at home or in a studio, taking some time to move with compassion and awareness might be just what you need to get out of your head and back into your body.
Limit your screen time
Whether it's the TV, your computer, or your phone, stay away from screens before bed and first thing in the morning. Besides the potential inflammatory content, being exposed to their lights can have an effect on your body's natural circadian rhythm. If you like to read before bed, grab a dusty old book and settle in rather than catch up on the news.
Form a news-watch group
Take turns with trusted friends where someone pays attention to the day's events while everyone else gets the day off. They can fill you in at a designated time or only if something major goes down.
Love on your pets
They don't know the chaos of the world, but they do know when you're distracted or upset. By spending some time with your favorite four-legged friend -- snuggling up, playing, or even just picking fleas -- you will lower your blood pressure and remind them why they adore you.
Get a massage
There is nothing like a good massage to get the kinks out -- you know, those deep-seated knots that don't release no matter what you do. It's worth the splurge to have a professional work those out. I know of a few really good ones, so if you're looking for a referral, email me. You'll be so very happy you did. I promise.
When things get so serious, it's hard to let loose. Call up your comedic friend (we all have one), watch your favorite funny movie, or just dance around in your living room. Having fun is just as important as the air you breathe, so get crazy and laugh it up!
Make a calming tea
The power of herbs to the rescue! Some really nice choices are chamomile, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, and kava kava. Some of these might make you sleepy, so pay attention to just how relaxed you get and drink at an appropriate time. Also, be sure to stay away from spicy herbs like ginger, or acidic plants like lemon. If you're already edgy, spicing it up might just light your firecracker.
Take a bath (you dirty hippie!)
Light some candles, throw in some bubbles, put on a mellow playlist, and let your cares melt away. This doesn't have to be done only at nighttime, either. Breaks throughout the day are aaaahhh-mazing.
Get enough sleep
All this tossing and turning doesn't do anybody any good. It can be hard to function in life even when you are completely rested, so cutting short the hours doesn't help at all.
Try getting into bed early, maybe even read a good book (remember, no screen time!), then drift off to sleep on your own private cloud, ready to take on the next day.