Wellness Wisdom for Busy Women is not about the perfect body or the perfect morning routine. It’s about real women who understand that good health underpins every area of their life and shapes who they are and how they show up in the world. Get a glimpse into the lives of women just like you and find out how these women prioritise wellbeing… no matter how chaotic life is!
In this bonus episode, I share some really simple self care tips for those of you who may be struggling with the latest round of COVID-related restrictions and wondering when or if this will ever end.
If you’d prefer to watch, head over to Instagram when you’ll find the recorded conversation or click play below to listen while you multitask.
Although the physiological, ecnomic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt differently around Australia and the world, we are all living through an experience that our mind and nervous system have no frame of reference for. We have been in a heightened state of alert for more than 18 months and there is no end in sight.
I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know that stress isn’t going to magically disappear so we need tools and strategies to help us manage our response to it, so we can be resilient in the face of stress, loss, change and uncertainty.
There are lots of things we can’t do right now. And, for many of us, the things we usually do to manage stress have been taken away or curtailed. And perhaps we’ve replaced them with less helpful strategies like food or wine or online shopping.
So, let’s look at what we CAN do right now. Here are 5 things that are within your control.
1. Feel your feelings
First things first, I’m going to encourage you to feel your feelings.
If you’ve been hanging around here any length of time you’ll know that there are a couple of things about the wellness industry that grind my gears. The first is selling false promises. The second is spiritual bypassing and toxic positivity.
Now, I’m the first to champion the benefits of gratitude and my own daily gratitude practice has seen me through some incredibly dark times. My issue is that sometimes gratitude is conflated with good vibes only and this mantra is incredibly problematic; it’s unrealistic and it demonises certain feelings.
ALL feelings have a purpose and a place… even those we typically think of as negative such as anger, frustration, sadness and grief.
Suppressing those emotions or pretending they don’t exist has far-reaching implications and I encourage you to tune in and get a sense of what emotions are showing up for you. Then, give yourself the time, space and grace to actually feel your feelings. All of them. Even the uncomfortable ones.
Feel them and process them in a way that feels productive and wise for you. You may find it useful to journal – stream-of-consciousness writing can be incredibly cathartic – or you might cry in the shower or scream into a pillow. Whatever you do, get it out. But recognise that these strategies may not be enough and that’s ok. Please don’t be afraid to ask for support because you do not need to do this alone. Talk to your GP or reach out to me. I am always happy to connect you to a mental health professional near you.
2. Edit your to-do list
One of the first things we do in my self-paced mini course PAUSE: 7 days of self care is to edit your to-do list by getting rid of non-essential tasks and activities.
Now, in some parts of Australia, much of that has been taken care of for you: afterschool activities, social events and non-essential appointments have all disappeared… but in their place, there may be new obligations such as home-schooling.
I encourage you to go through your diary or calendar with a red pen and be absolutely ruthless. Delete, reschedule or delegate anything that isn’t mission-critical. For me, anything that doesn’t involve me showing up for a client is gone: marketing, business strategy, professional development, non-urgent admin have all been pushed to next week or beyond because, right now, it’s ok to just do the bare minimum.
Once again for those in the back: it’s ok to just do the bare minimum.
3. Get more sleep
Another thing I emphasise in PAUSE is sleep. Go to bed early, sleep in late, schedule a lunchtime nap. Do whatever you need to do to make it happen. But this should be a massive priority right now.
4. Move your body
Right now, most of us are living from the neck up, disconnected from our bodies. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to move, something to help you get out of your head and into your body, something to help you feel grounded and embodied.
Most people are going to benefit from something fairly slow right now. Yes, I’m going to recommend yoga. Not firey, fast-paced vinyasa… I’m talking about down-regulating practices like yin and restorative yoga which stimulate the relaxation response. Even a gentle walk is fine. The exception is for anyone feeling agitated, jumpy or on edge. You may benefit from something more vigorous, something to release the pressure valve and release not just physical but pent-up emotional and mental tension too.
This wisdom is innate in animals. I have quite an anxious pup and after a run-in with another dog, he’ll shake his whole body vigorously to release tension. And then he’s fine.
You can literally shake like an animal (if you’re curious, Google shaking meditation – it’s a bit weird at first but so cathartic and so effective). Alternatively, you channel Taylor Swift and Shake It Off in your lounge room. Or you could simply go for a run. But keep in mind that you are not designed to function at high intensity all the time, so this needs to be balanced with activities that deactivate your fight or flight mode so you can rest and replenish.
Whatever you do, commit to moving your body once a day, in whatever way you can right now.
5. Spend less time on news sites and social media
There’s a principle in Ayurveda that says everything we consume must be digested. Not just food and drink but everything we take in with our eyes and ears too. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably spending a lot more time online at the moment. The Guardian and ABC News are my drugs of choice and I can spend hours doom-scrolling which my mind justifies as “staying informed”.
There are a couple of things you can try:
- unfollow or mute anyone on social media who triggers you. The school Mum posting conspiracy theories – gone. The business coach telling you to just think positive – gone.
- Use the digital wellbeing settings on your smart phone to limit the amount of time you spend on certain apps.
- Delete social media and news apps from your phone.
- Download a time management app which blocks access to certain sites. I use the Freedom app and set a daily limit of 10 minutes; once I’m done, it literally kicks me off.
Really, it’s all about getting back to basics with self care and doing the things that are going to down-regulate your nervous system.