Winter is almost upon us, and the combination of the holiday season and the cold short days can not only be difficult for us, but also for our loved ones, clients, and many people we interact with daily. Most of us called to do “helper” jobs, have trauma histories of our own that can awaken during this season. We may feel more tired, we may want to retreat, or we may find ourselves working harder and longer days – despite our feelings of heaviness.
The pressure and urgency of our work, the desire to avoid being alone for fear that we may have to feel uncomfortable emotions of sadness, loneliness, or perhaps disappointment. What do we do when the work never stops, our emotions shift from high to low and back to high, and we begin to feel the physical pains of our work? It’s an easy answer…SLOW DOWN. If it’s so easy, then why is it so difficult for many of us? Because slowing down can mean missing out, failure, letting people down, having to say no, having to just BE.
Our society has increased its focus on productivity at all costs; we live in our heads rather than our bodies. Our bodies hold wonderful knowledge for us to tap into, yet we can’t access it if we are moving quickly.
I encourage you as you read this to notice your breath.
- Are you breathing?
- Is it in your chest? Are you holding your breath?
- What happens if you try to breathe more fully?
- What if you imagine it going into your toes, into your thighs, and into your abdomen?
Your body begins to awaken, suddenly you can feel those tense muscles in your neck, maybe you notice that your belly hurts, maybe your feet are tired from all the busy work you have been doing.
Studies show that simply slowing down several times throughout the day for just 1 to 2 minutes can help reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone our body produces) and increase endorphins that have a natural calming effect.
I encourage all of you to take time to slow down, to breathe and to be with yourselves. Whatever you are struggling with, you have the answers within you, if only you slow down to listen.
For more information on mindfulness and managing stress, please feel free to reach out to me directly at Meghann@innerpiecepdx.com