Right now, I’m buzzing. Maybe it’s from the 2 cups of organic Earl Grey tea, or maybe it’s because I’m moving to another town in a week (Grand Forks in case you didn’t know), or maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to launch Mindfulness For Moms again soon.
Whichever it is, my mind is really full these days and it’s times like these that I rely heavily on micro dose self-care practices. These are the things I can do quickly to reset my spinning brain, renew my energy, and reconnect to my Self.
These are 5 of my go-tos that I’m leaning on heavily right now:
- Box Breathing – When I taught yoga at the RCMP depot in Regina, I was delighted to learn that this was one of the strategies they taught cadets, only they called it “Tactical Breathing.” If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a heavily researched tool to calm your nervous system through a specific breath count that goes like this: Inhale for a count of 4, hold it in for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, hold at the bottom for a count of 4. Even just a few rounds of this slows my heart, calms my head, and helps me feel more focused.
- Hand on Heart – When I am stressed everything feels urgent, like it all has to be done RIGHT NOW, and I can get lost trying to do too many things at once indiscriminately…which means I’m overwhelmed, and NOTHING is actually getting done. I close my eyes and lay a hand on my heart. I allow my thoughts to drift into the background and listen inwardly as I settle into my centre. This always brings me to a place of calm and clarity to do the next “right” thing.
- Yoga – I’ve been practicing for almost 20 years and it still amazes me how a few minutes of yoga calms, steadies, and releases tension in my body, and simultaneously does the same for my mind. I always feel renewed, realigned and inspired afterwards.
- Mindfulness – One of the reasons I love Mindfulness so much is that it will not only immediately help you feel calm and centred, but it has also over 30 years of research that shows that you can rewire your brain to be calmer, lower anxiety and depression, and become happier in under 10 minutes a day. On days like today, I notice even a few minutes (and I’m talking like 2 minutes here) has a huge impact on managing stress so that I’m less reactive, more patient, and consciously showing up as the person I want to be for my husband and son. (If you’re a member of QBY there’s many Mindfulness Meditations in the “Stillness” section)
- Stepping Away – Our brains can only concentrate so long before they need a break. I am a huge fan of taking a break when I’m feeling stuck, frustrated, or can’t make decisions. These are signs to me that my brain has had enough right now and it’s time to grab a tea, go to the bathroom, do one of the activities listed above, get outside for a few minutes, call a friend, do nothing for a few minutes, grab a snack, or do something unrelated that brings me joy. Our brains work best when they have free space to roam, and that means breaks, and breaks often. You’ll feel more refreshed when you come back and be able to tackle whatever you’re working on with a new angle and renewed energy.
I’m going to do number 6 now, and step away for a bit before I get back to my list of To-Do’s *wink wink. I’d love to hear from you in the comments now. Do you use any of these tools too, and if so, which ones do you rely on most and why?