Let Go

Learning to let go can be one of the most difficult things humans attempt. We hold on to feelings and events and let them take over our minds. We give them a place to live and keep them alive. We continue to let them affect us long after the things that caused them are gone. The inability to let go causes us most of our daily anxiety, depression, anger, and suffering and we do it all to ourselves.

When I work with clients, I use the visual of clouds as a metaphor for letting go. Almost everyone has watched clouds moving in the sky. They never remain still. They are constantly coming and going and so it should be with the thoughts that come into our minds that we need to let go. See these thoughts as clouds, see the words of them on the clouds, see them come into your mind, and see them go out. When they go out, let them go, do not think on them further – they are gone. Let go of them. Replace them with clouds that say something positive instead, something uplifting, something freeing.

Another way to practice this is through meditation. Using meditation along with the visualization of the clouds reinforces letting go, reinforces concentrating your thoughts in a more positive, focused way. I use the meditation app Headspace with my clients. It is a free app that offers guided meditation that is easy to use and can help you retrain your mind to let go of things that negatively impact your daily life. Meditation allows you to also allow thoughts to come and go and practice improving that skill with daily mental exercise.

Most of the issues we face are caused by our inability to let go. Holding on to negative emotions and experiences builds up emotional and mental toxins in the body that come out as anxiety, depression, anger, and sometimes even physical illness. Bringing these things back day after day only reinforces these negative feelings. Learning to let go can free us of the weight of all we continue to carry that weighs us down on a daily basis. It’s like unpacking a suitcase we refuse to stop carrying. Imagine how much lighter you will feel if you let go of the weight.

Letting go of the past year may prove very hard to do as we still continue to battle many of the same issues going into the new year.  However, we can let go of the year itself.  A new year is upon us and with it so is change.  Nothing, no situation, no pandemic, no crisis, nothing lasts forever.  All these change or end and something else takes its place.  

Hope for better things ahead.  Belief that all things change and nothing lasts forever.  Focus on what is good in our lives right now.  Moving ever forward.  Do not let the thoughts and feelings of the last year keep you stuck in 2020.  That time has passed.  

Let go.

Until next time,
Deborah

What’s On Your Christmas List?

Photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash

One thing that most of us do during the Christmas shopping season is make lists. Lists of gifts we need to buy, food we need to shop for, gatherings we need to attend, everything has a list this time of year. One thing we usually do not do or do enough of is make a list for ourselves.

Christmas is the season of giving. The old adage is often repeated, it is better to give than to receive. However Christmas can also be a very stressful time of year. This year offers even more stressors than normal with the ongoing virus. It is quite possible that we need to think about giving to ourselves as well.

As we sit down to make all of our other lists, we should think about pulling out some paper to make a list of what we can do for ourselves during this holiday season to love ourselves and to lessen our stress levels.

There are many things we can for ourselves. Some take seconds and others require a little more planning, but all are worth it to love ourselves more this holiday season. Here are just a few that you might add to your list this year.

  1. Start the day as soon as you wake up with taking time for yourself. Whether that be deep breathing, breathe in counting 5 seconds and breathe out counting 7 seconds or doing a brief guided or unguided meditation. Perhaps a few short yoga movements or some nice stretching when you get out of bed. Just to feel centered and grounded.
  2. Taking a nice warm bubble bath or shower and using some of the wonderful products out this time of year. Holiday scented scrubs and body washes. Lighting some holiday scented candles. Picking up a holiday scented moisturizer.
  3. Scheduling a massage, facial, hair or nail appointment. Doing something just for yourself. Some just you time for pampering.
  4. Get out in the sunshine. Winter can be a difficult time with lots of cloudy and darker weather. When the sun is out finding time to just go out and stand in it or to take a brief walk in it can do wonders for your mood and body.
  5. Be mindful of your commitments. Many times during the holiday season we can over commit. Agreeing to any and everything others want us to do leaving no time for ourselves. Be mindful not to over schedule yourself.
  6. Try to stay as much in your routine as possible. The holidays can often lead to staying up late, eating too much, and skipping daily habits such as exercise and taking your vitamins. Sticking as close as possible to your usual routine will keep your bod and your mind happier.
  7. Make a spending budget. Many people stress over what they spend during the holidays. If you make a budget and stick to it you can avoid the after Christmas spending blues a little easier.
  8. Give yourself time outs. If you start feeling overwhelmed or overly tired, find ways to take a time out. Spend some time doing things that make you feel recharged and rejuventated.
  9. Manage you expectations and roll with the changes. Inevitably our holiday schedules can get jumbled up or rearranged. Let go of what you cannot control and focus on enjoying what unfolds.
  10. If you feel overwhelmed or that your stress is too much for you to manage, seek out help. Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Delegate tasks and do not try to do everything yourself. And if you are experiencing stronger feelings of grief or sadness, seek out professional help.

When you are making your holiday lists, make one for you and give the gift of self love to yourself.

Until next time be well,

Deborah

Lack Of Margin

Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

Over the last couple of weeks, many of my clients have been stating the same thing. They say that they have no margin. This has been an ongoing issue throughout the pandemic, but with the addition of the holidays, it has increased exponentially.

What does having no margin mean? For most people, it is that there is no pause in the response time to any stressful situation or emotion. When people have margin, there is the ability to pause before reacting. The ability to engage in rational and logical thought processes. The ability to utilize tools for management of stress, anxiety, anger, and depression.

When people do not have margin (or feel already pushed to the edge of management), there is no pause before reacting. There is no ability to engage in rational and logical thought. The ability to use any helpful tools seem to vanish.

The result is immediate reaction. Going zero to 100 in microseconds, less than a blink of the eye. There is no pause, no thought, no tools. Only reaction. And generally the reaction is very big, sometimes very out of character, and hard to reign back in.

Someone cuts you off while driving. With margin, we can pause and be thankful there was no accident or use a stress reducing tool such as deep breathing or grounding. Without margin, we are yelling, cursing, sometimes confronting people, and generally letting it ruin the rest of our day or even our week.

Unable to spend holidays with family members due to Covid19. With margin, we can pause and be grateful for our health and healthy family members or use logic and rational thought to know that no situation lasts forever and the pandemic will end and we can see more family then. Without margin, we are sad, angry, and feeling overwhelming grief at the loss of normalcy. We can let it affect us for days, weeks or even months without margin.

Lack of margin has a way of building up and exploding. We may be able to manage the first few times someone cuts us off or the first couple of times we have to say no to family gatherings. But the more these things add up, the less margin we have and the less ability we have to control our response.

So what do we do? Firstly, we must acknowledge that we are short of margin. We must tell ourselves the truth about our capacity to pause and respond – the truth is that we usually are not going to be able to. We must give ourselves grace because our current state of mind and emotions is what it is.

That being said, we do have moments in this lack of margin where we can find quiet to pause and reflect and think rationally and logically. We can find moments for meditation and calming. During these times, we can also reflect on the times where we haven’t had margin and if there is anything we can do next time to try and avoid the explosion.

Communicating to other that we are short of margin and that we are trying to respond appropriately but we may not always do so. Communicating the first time members of our family or friends or others we have regular contact with do something that pushes over the margin line how it makes us feel and how we may need them to interact with us differently. Be proactive. Do not let it build up.

We are all short of margin at times during this ongoing pandemic that is now accompanied by the holidays. We are all trying to do the best we can. But sometimes our margin runs completely out. Recover in the the times that you can and let go of what anger, sadness, and grief that you can while building in self-care and resilience.

Nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass.

Until next time be well,

Deborah