Updated: Oct 1, 2018
We live in a stressful world. We work in a dangerous environment. How can we get back to being "grounded" in ourselves and being present for those we love? Here are 3 quick tools you can use (and no one else will know you're taking care of yourself at the same time!) to calm, relax and re-energize yourself for the rest of your day.
1. Breathe. Sit up straight (if you can). Place the tip of your tongue up against the back of your front teeth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process. Breathe in silently through your nose to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of seven. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight, making an audible “woosh” sound. That completes one full breath. Repeat the cycle another three times, for a total of four breaths. (Remember 4-7-8)
2. Think of the one place/activity you like to do - the one where all of the planets are aligned and you're "Miraculously" relaxed? (For me, it's fishing so I'll use that as an example) Imagine yourself there. Now take a look around. What do you SEE? Look for the tiniest details and focus. So I'm looking at the boat, where a hook pulled a carpet thread higher than the others. What do you HEAR? I'm hearing the waves lapping on the side of the boat. What do you SMELL? I'm smelling bug spray and/or sunscreen in addition to someone's BBQ down shore. What do you TASTE? Yep, I'm tasting that bug spray and sunscreen along with my ice cold water. What do you FEEL? I'm feeling the warmth of the sun as I'm trying to get that slimy leech to grab onto my thumbnail. This may take a little practice but it's one tool you can use to help you fall asleep at night, calm down before a presentation, or as an alternative to saying something you'd regret ( you can take a few minutes to gather your thoughts before you choose to respond.)
3. Be silly. Laugh. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed with emotions, maybe to the degree we can't even identify HOW we're feeling because we're feeling everything and nothing at the same time? Find something goofy to make you laugh. If you're in a serious situation, obviously you don't want to start laughing maniacally! Tell a joke, sing a silly song, find a YouTube video of puppies/babies/racoons, whatever will lighten your mood and lighten your load for a moment. You never know - your silly joke might turn into a smile that someone else might need to see, that'll help them through their day.
Whenever you can carve out a few seconds for yourself, you'll be putting more gas in your proverbial car - to keep you going. What we do is important but we need to care for ourselves too.
Self care is not selfish.