Holiday Tips to Help You Get Through

The holidays are officially here! Bring on the pumpkin pie! This time is filled with delicious foods, fun gatherings and cozying up by the fire place. It’s also a time to spend with our family and friends.

While we love our family and friends, sometimes getting everyone together can bring out the best and worst in people. You may find tensions bubbling over like gravy on the stove. Don’t worry, here are a few tips to get you through so you don’t boil over:

  • Don’t expect other people to change, it sets you up for disappointment. People are creatures of habit. Eliminate from your thoughts, “hoping,” “maybe,” “hopefully..” Your 70 year old racist Uncle is 70, he’s not changing. Accept him for who he is.
  • You’re the one who has changed. Pat yourself on the back.
  • Laugh at the uncomfortable moments.
  • If you need a breather, excuse yourself to the restroom for a few minutes or get some fresh air. This really helps, especially when things get extra weird. You can go to your car and scream. That sounds liberating.
  • Go easy on the libations. Seriously. Inhibitions go out the window with a little too much vino.
  • Buy pre-made sides, put them in a casserole dish. Act natural. No one will know. Many markets set up holiday dinner packs that you can order ahead of time. You can order something nice for around $200. Costco even sells sides. Cooking, eating healthy and entertaining are my jam but it’s not in me this year. My Dad passed away, work has been crazy and of course with death there is a lot of “extra.” Making all the things just doesn’t sound fun. Honestly if you’re feeling pulled in every direction, it’s not a bad idea to cater your meal. Your kitchen won’t be a mess, you’ll be able to rest and you’ll be able to enjoy your day off. It’s called self preservation my friends. You can sleep in, go for a walk, or do some yoga.
  • Did someone say stretchy pants? Athletisure is really a game changer. Obviously there is a lot of enjoying that goes on with the holidays, why be uncomfortable? But DON’T get into the habit of wearing stretchy pants all winter…..you won’t notice if your skinny jeans become too small. Been there done that.

Hopefully you find the tips to be helpful and a little humorous. Most importantly take care of yourself. Make sure you rest on your days off. Your time is valuable.

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Unplugging is Good for You

As ambitious individuals, we want to do our best, earn that promotion, get that raise, close that deal or learn that new skill; but it’s going to be a lot harder to kick ass and take names if you’re burnt out.

If you’re not sleeping, having a tight jaw or your shoulders are pretty much at your ears all day everyday — your body and mind are telling you to unplug. Some other signs telling you it’s time for a break include, making little mistakes you normally wouldn’t make, everything seeming just really difficult, being creatively blocked or you simply hate everything (and everyone).

You may have anxiety about taking time off, or are afraid you’re going to miss out at work (hello FOMO!!). According to an article in Scientific American, “downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance.” And if you’re dealing with an anti-vacation manager, you might want to share the article with them.

So taking a break isn’t a bad thing. Quieting your mind and stepping away from the day to day is advantageous to your success. You’ll come back refreshed with a clear mind and new ideas.

 

What the Funk? How to get out of your funk.

For the past two days I’ve been feeling less than. Kinda like shit to be honest. At first I wasn’t sure why because I went down the vortex and started getting all blue and anxious. Everyone has the tendency to get in a funk. It happens, we’re human. Everyone also has the ability to pull themselves out of a funk.

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When this happens to me, there are a few things I do to get out of it. Not dismiss it, just allow it to happen and move on from it in a healing way.

I sit with the experience, then start to unpack it and make sure to be honest with myself.

So recently I got caught in the comparison game. It happens, I’m human.  I went down the vortex – it was a combo of self deprecation, jealousy, and paranoia. Real dark. Went next level and told myself and believed it for a minute that I’m going to be broke, poor, unsuccessful and my coaching and energy healing business isn’t going to thrive. WHOA!?!? What the Funk?!??!!

Feeling like this kinda feels like a hangover! 

I sat with “it” (aka the funk) for a moment and decided it was time to clear it out. Sometimes with this stuff we can be stubborn and hold on to negative thoughts and feelings for a long time. In this case I went to bed in the funk and woke up in the funk. It was time to get out of the funk.  Taking a few deep breathes, I “looked” around at the funk and visualized what it looked like and where it was in my body.  Being able to sit with it, locate it and visualize it helps unpack the funk, which is ultimately someone else’s story.  Then, I asked myself,  to think about what triggered me. Who around me was feeling like they are broke, unsuccessful, and not good enough?  I asked myself if these feelings I was having were these persons? I asked myself if I wanted to hold onto these feelings? Obviously no! Then I gave myself permission to wash those feelings away and let them go, knowing that they aren’t mine. I then told myself what I needed to hear. I call this the nurturing cup of tea moment.

Throughout the day, I try to do nice things for myself. Listening to music, opening the windows, buying flowers, engaging in a hobby, getting outside, sweating a little bit. It keeps the momentum. I also will give myself permission throughout the day to release the energy that is not mine.

The mind is like a computer, it freezes and needs to be restarted. 

So when this happens to you and hopefully it doesn’t, here are some tips to get through the funk:

  1. Be nice to yourself.
  2. Sit with the funk.
  3. Be honest with yourself – admit if you’re feeling jealous or angry, it’s okay, you’ve gotta be honest with yourself. No one is going to hear your inner dialogue.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Know it’s totally temporary and your mind is a generator of information.
  6. Unpack the feelings. Ask yourself if the feeling was familiar? Ask yourself, who were you around that might have been feeling that way? Don’t feel guilty if it’s your spouse, mom, best friend – it’s okay. Everyone has a tendency to pick up other peoples energy without realizing it. It happens. The key is to ID it and wash it away.
  7. Give yourself permission to wash it away.
  8. Ask yourself how you want to feel.
  9. Give yourself that nurturing cup of tea, the pep talk, the caring words.
  10. Do something nice for yourself – a cup of coffee, a walk, a hobby, listening to music.

You’ve got this! It’s going to be okay!!!!

Getting Back into the Meditation Game

I think that “meditation” is having a moment. Kind of like kale and avocado toast had their moments.  The thing with meditating is that it’s been around forever. Millions of people do it daily all over the world. In some places around the globe, I’m sure people meditate more frequently than they have access to bathing (my opinion). You don’t have to be some spiritual guru, yogi or ultra crunchy enlightened being to do it. Any one can do it. You can be liberal, conservative, living in a mansion, living in the projects – you get the point. You really don’t need statues of the Buddha or Ganesh, or an altar, or a special pillow – I think that’s  western consumerism creeping in to the actual practice. Which is fine, but that stuff isn’t needed.

Meditation can be helpful during stressful times. For me it’s been key to navigating through stressful times. I’ve used it during a career change, family illness, stress at work etc.  However, as the stress eases, I’ve noticed the frequency of mediation tapers off. I’ve gone from meditating daily, sometimes twice daily to eventually a few times a week, to once a week to not at all. Sound familiar? The edginess and the stories creep right back in. Yep, we’re human. Meditation is new for a lot of people. It’s not something a lot of us in Western culture were raised with. So we’re learning. We have a beginners mind. Which is one of the core elements to meditating.

Another aspect of meditating is observing without judgement. For me I’ve observed, that I’m coming up with excuses to not meditate — the “oh I’ll do it later,” I’ve started checking social media in the morning, instantly stimulating my mind, rather than waking up, stretching and meditating for 15-20 minutes. Right, we’ve all done this. It’s escapism and distraction. The key is to not judge or beat yourself up. Otherwise, that puts major road blocks in the way of actually get back in the meditation game. Been there done that.

For me, the key has been to find really easy ways to integrate it back into my life. Like using the snooze button as an automatic timer.  My snooze is nine minutes. Those nine minutes are pure uninterrupted deep breaths, noticing the sounds in the morning, my cat purring, dog snoring, checking in with myself, being still — by the time the snooze button goes off, I take a moment to express gratitude for the practice and always know my breath is my anchor. Ironically enough, as much as I want to stay in bed and snuggle with my pets and husband, I feel more awake than hitting the snooze button 3 more times.

So, if you’re trying to get into meditating, have been doing it for a long time and fell off the wagon. Use that phone of yours as a handy tool. Set the timer or use your snooze button when the alarm goes off, sit and breathe for a few minutes. You’ll feel clearer and start to notice you’re becoming more present vs. focusing on other things.

 

On Grieving

My Aunt Rosemarie took her final breaths on September 16th, 2016 at 8:56 pm, 16 years to the day her husband passed, right as the lunar eclipse was ending on the full moon. It was no coincidence that she transitioned to the after life on that day. As she was transitioning she was surrounded by her daughters, sister, cousin and myself. I rubbed her back, told her we loved her and kissed her as she took her final breaths and danced between this world and the afterlife. There was no other place at that time I wanted to be but there, beside her, with my family. As I write this almost 6 months later, I still tear up and get sad. My heart is broken.

Throughout her life, she was always serving people, she was everyone’s mother, taking care of everyone. Always being a nurturing figure. She taught me a lot. I believe she chose to transition on that day, so her daughters would not have to have two days each year to remember the day they lost their beloved parents.

To say the last few years have been rough is an understatement.

My Aunt’s passing was the biggest blow, watching her gradually fade for 11 months was gut wrenching. Watching my mother unravel as a result this has been heart breaking. Over the last six years, I’ve watched what cancer and addiction can do to people and their families.  It’s fucked up but I have kept on going. I’ve learned to prioritize, where to put my energy. Where not to. And not to beat myself up – I’ve learned to be nicer to myself. To find that self love deep down in the root chakra, my foundation.

I’ve experienced high’s and lows in the last six years. I’ve consoled my family and fought with them. I’ve been to jails, courtrooms, doctors appointments, and hospitals and I’ve been to beaches, temples, waterfalls, and rivers.

I’ve been so stressed out that I wake up with sleep paralysis and I’ve been so depressed that all I could do is cry and not move. I’ve found meditation, my guides, spirituality and awareness. I’ve found that there is no wrong or right way to grieve. I’ve learned there is no timeline, no schedule, it’s a deeply personal journey. For anyone to say other wise, I ask myself if they’ve ever grieved. I’ve seen a lot of anger through the grieving process. Anger is a distraction to fear and sadness. Insomnia, anxiety, depression it’s all part of the process. What’s important is self care. That cup of tea, those five minutes of peace and quiet, the gym, yoga, that hobby that helps you get centered. The manicure, pedicure or comedy show. That deep breath. This is part of being human.

I look at life through a different lens now and find I have a hard time relating to the day to day trials and tribulations. I have a hard time getting caught up with the desire to strive and accomplish to meet the expectations of others or to keep up with the Jones’. I don’t really care too much about being popular, or being in the “in-crowd” at work. I’ve stopped going to happy hours, stopped hanging out with people who make me feel less than, and if I don’t have something in my life I create it. I’ve learned how to meditate, be less judgmental, while being less tolerant of the BS, have an open mind and restrain myself from reacting. I’m not perfect and will still get caught up from time to time but notice when I do. I’ve learned to be more accepting of my parents and appreciate the time I have with them. I’ve learned to let go of the resentment, because I feel it causes dis-ease. I’m learning about boundaries, how not to take things personally and how not to pick up the slack from others. I still get my feelings hurt and feel left out. I’m still human. I’m learning how silence is enjoyable and noticing how I feel stretched on days that I really should put myself first. I’m learning balance and the art of speaking up in a way that’s not abrasive. I’m learning to be happy for other people and not feel resentful because it’s not my time. There is so much more to learn. It’s never to late to learn and it’s never too late to put down what’s no longer working.

Life is bittersweet, but we’re here to show up. We each have our own karmic path. We are all on our own journey.  It’s fucked up at times, but you have to keep going. I think acknowledging that it’s fucked up is part of continuing on the journey. You learn to prioritize, where to put your energy. Where not to. We’re all here to learn something about ourselves and the world. We’re all at different places in our karmic journey.

I’m here, alive, taking a breath, coming up for air and, waiting for the next round.

 

 

Easy 5th Chakra Meditation for Communication

IMG_3641Located at our throat, the 5th chakra is our communication center. We communicate all the time, whether it be verbally, via e-mail, text, phone – you name it. Since we are always communicating, we need to nurture the throat chakra. The color associated with the throat chakra is blue – a soothing, cool blue. Blue is associated with heaven and the divine. Blue has a calming, healing, peaceful effect and reminds us to slow down and take a step back.

We’re so busy and constantly being filled with information overload as a result, we’re always doing, communicating, striving– when we think of blue, let it trigger you to slooooooooow down and take a step back. Before we get sick, we feel it in our throat, which is the first sign self-care is needed. We often keep pushing ourselves, because the demands we’ve put on ourselves require us to do so. We end up getting more stressed out, which affects our ability to communicate from a place of love. When we get stressed out we communicate based on the feelings of stress, therefore what we say can come across as rude and offensive. Nurturing your throat chakra allows you to be in tune with your communication center.

Alternately, when we are shy, or feeling insecure, we often hold back from communicating – because that good ol’ story of not being enough, surfaces and gets in the way of full expressing ourselves. What happens is we psych ourselves out from really finding the power within to clearly express ourselves and get that important message out there.

Follow this easy 5th chakra meditation to help you nurture the throat chakra and find your ability to express yourself from a place of love. Set the timer on your phone for at least 7 minutes and settle in:

Close your eyes, breath deeply for 5 breaths, imagine a cool, soothing blue light centered on your throat, notice how good it feels when the blue light cools your vocal chords, continuing to breath, repeat to yourself, “I communicate from a loving place, I allow myself to express myself freely and easily, I allow myself to speak the truth, and I communicate with clarity and ease,” repeat this however times you feel necessary.

Alternately, repeat these affirmations throughout the day, take a deep breath and imagine the blue light at your throat before you communicate.

The throat chakra relates to the throat, esophagus, thyroid gland, neck, cervical spine, mouth, teeth, and jaw. When nurturing the throat chakra, eat foods that are blue in color, such as blueberries. Eat foods that naturally require little effort to harvest when ripe, such as apples, oranges and peaches. Drink herbal teas, such as chamomile, ginger tea and peppermint tea, which are soothing and calming.

Remember, you owe it to yourself to speak the truth from a place of love.