I am writing this little note about how I made friends with stress from my heart. I have had a really stressful week- yes me the queen of Coming Home to Calm! A perfect collision of various stressors – a beloved family member slipping a little further in his journey into dementia, a sick baby waiting for life saving surgery losing her slot because she had a cold, complications with a very ambitious but beautiful family surprise planned for my sister on a significant birthday, a wonderful busy week of work with amazing women and two organisations who are in my Wisdoms Garden programme, my first week without a much valued team member who is enjoying precious time with her new baby, cross words with a nephew making poor life choices, fear about minor surgery coming up for me in a week…..
I mostly kept the plates spinning,and I mostly embraced the opportunity to humbly take my own advice. As I look back on the week now I am genuinely filled with gratitude that I can embrace this most human experience and even share it – as a gift really or a reminder to you that stress really is a part of being human. Sometimes it builds to a crecenzo, and we really can help ourselves through these challenging times with a little intentionality and some well evidenced self care actions.
Here is what I found helpful during my stressful past week
I noticed how stress shows up in my body
For me it is always a tightening of the throat and an upset tummy -really helpful early warning system inviting me to notice and take action to look after myself rather than automatically falling back on old default habits to sedate myself with food or netflix, or some other way to stuff my feelings down.
I practised self compassion
As a younger woman I misunderstood resilience and mental strength.
I thought the job was to somehow push through, to be strong, to keep going at all costs. Truth be known I thought the job was to be perfect, to be somehow unaffected no matter what was happening…..to be ‘professional’.
Thankfully, this past week I went straight to self compassion- reminding myself that ‘ this is hard ‘, asking myself regularly ‘ what do I most need now?’, and doing simple self compassion practices such as putting my hand on my heart even for a moment.
I did less
I usually have a weekly schedule, a routine if you like, both in my business and domestic life. I also always have a fine to do list -mostly made up of tasks and projects that I am excited about and cannot wait to bring to life. This week I identified my core commitments, and then I let everything else go.
I went outside
If you know me at all you may be familiar with my tagline:
‘connecting mind body and spirit through ancient wisdom, neuroscience and nature’.
I am lucky to have a deep understanding of the healing power of nature. I know the science bit about how even a short time spent out doors will help us to connect with the calming para sympathetic nervous system -coming home to calm. For me though, time in nature is also about a wider connection, remembering that I am part of the great unfolding cosmos. I am small but I belong,I am held as I make my own unique contribution. Simply spending time on the patio, or working in the veg garden or sitting under my favourite tree reminds me of this truth about purpose, meaning, connection.
I moved my body
When I realise I am very stressed one way I get immediate, joyful release is putting on some favourite music, turning the volume up and dancing.Very enjoyable and quickly shifts that stress out of the body.
I was kind to others
I am not really sure of the connection, but I know that when I am deep in the practise of self compassion I am able to be naturally kinder to others- presence, listening and compassion just flow more easily and they did this last week.
This is the Time to be Slow
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”
― John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
I hope my little menu of stress busting actions comes back to you and helps you to take whatever actions that will best support you to take good care of yourself in your next moment of stress overload.
Blossom If you are a busy woman leader who would like to blossom rather than burnout why not join us in Blossom https://mindfulwithdee.kartra.com/page/Blossom
Why not create a pause for yourself with my one At Home Mindfulness and Self Compassion Retreat -a lovely long, resourceful pause, for you to do in your own time, in your own space, in your own way. https://mindfulfacilitation.com/courses/one-day-at-home-mindfulness-and-self-compassion-retreat/
I cannot wait to see you blossom.