7 Simple ways for healthy coping

Whenever you feel stressed out/off center, it is always better to address it quickly rather than to prolong it. Train yourself to be more in tune with yourself  to recognize any signs of stress. Why accumulate anything that doesn’t help. Right? Am sure we all know these ways of coping but a reminder never hurts and there’s some value in seeing it all in one place.

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Find your way out of stress. (Winter storm Niko-Feb 2017)

  1. Exercise – Any form of exercise for 20-30 minutes will help you kick in those endorphins!
  2. Spend time in nature – Walk in the woods or sit by a lake/ocean. Use an app for sounds of nature ONLY IF there is no option for you to go outside.
  3. Talk to a friend who won’t judge you- I am sure you have at least one such person in your life. Please remember that texting cannot be the same as picking up the phone and talking or meeting someone in person. You can also talk to your furry friend.
  4. Prayer/Meditation- Connect with something higher than you and release your worries
  5. Watching videos which make you laugh/smile. Ex: Cute pups/kittens/comedy shows
  6. Art- Don’t worry if you aren’t a painter, just splash some colors or dance freestyle connecting to the music
  7. Journaling- This can be a notebook or even a video/audio journal. Two things I did as a kid and at times even now – Speaking to the trees around me and having a dialogue with myself as if someone was interviewing me.It works for me!

Find out what works for you and USE IT!

 

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7 simple rules to practice self-love

Since we are still in the ‘Love’ month of February I wanted to share these 7 simple rules to show some love to our ‘Self’. After all, we can only share what we have.

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Practicing Self Love

  1. Wear an outfit that makes you smile and or wear make-up that makes you smile J
  2. Eat well- Recognize the foods/drinks which make you go off balance.
  3. Make time for what makes you happy.
    • This could be prayer/meditation/ time with nature/me time. Me time could also be time for painting, journaling, dancing etc.
  4. Get your body some exercise – experiment with dancercise, rock climbing, hiking, biking and find out which form of exercise you actually look forward to.
  5. Allow yourself time to not ‘do’ anything and just be. This can be for 5 minutes or 15 minutes depending on how long you can give yourself. If not doing anything drives you nuts then simply curl up in your bed and take a nap or get a nice bubble bath.
  6. Pay attention to how many hours of sleep is ideal for you. You would know this by the fact that you don’t need an alarm to jolt you up in the morning.
  7. Set boundaries with people at work, with relatives, with friends etc. Start saying NO to those situations/people who drain you out. Respect your life enough to leave work on time most days where you feel like you have a life beyond work.

 

Stress, stress..go away.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a close friend. She and I were first roommates and then turned into friends sharing the same wavelength on philosophy, humor etc. Life took us to different cities and we both became occupied with our lives. In the past few months her work and studies demanded a lot of her time which led to us not being in touch daily. Now that you have the background, let me get to the core.

She mentioned that there was a lot of stress at work, school and personal life too (sounds familiar?). For someone who believed in planning everything in life and being calculative about each decision, she gave into the stress and booked herself an ‘escape’ trip all by herself to a city she had never been to. She told me that she had fun for two full days where she cared for nothing and splurged with abandon. While she was giving me descriptive details of all the fun she had, it also took me back to times where I had indulged in some kind of escape. It struck me that often times when we feel like breaking free and escaping from any stress we tend to choose activities like drinking, smoking, drugs, casual sex, and extreme sports. Any mood altering activity that lets us numb ourselves and the vehicle we choose is our body.

I wondered why is that in an attempt to numb the pain and to create momentary pleasure, we end up abusing our bodies. While we are engaging in these band-aid/feel good solutions, I don’t think it even occurs to us that we could perhaps be abusing ourselves.

The other question being, does this approach really work? Perhaps for a short time (if that’s the goal) and then it resurfaces the next time our emotional immunity is at a low. If only we could learn to be kinder towards ourselves, then we would think of learning different ways of coping with stress. Having said this, I know that we are not meant to be perfect and can take a fall every once in a while.

Some of my favorite coping mechanisms include talking to a friend, writing, exercising and being in nature. What are yours?

My best to you,

Pooja

My dirty laundry epiphany

My dirty laundry epiphany

I am beginning this blog with a confession for a change.Here it goes..

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Airing laundry, Mumbai

I spend a lot of my time denying my humanly flaws and limitations. Somewhere I nurture a belief that I am superior to others or better than others in some ways. Where I learned that from? Well, I will give myself credit for some personal work I did through self reflection and seeking feedback from people whom I placed at a pedestal. For the most part of my life ( just so you know..I am not 50 years old) I have also been what many people understand as a ‘spiritual seeker’. During my associations with several spiritual organizations and teachers I believed that I was being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’ by being of service to people in different ways. I was almost convinced that I did not have much stuff to process and that I was just a few meditations away from having a ‘halo’ around my head ( I smile as I write this). My life was hunky dory until some relationships mirrored my stuff to me i.e. rigidity, ‘I am right and you are not’, extend your wisdom only when asked. My intention in writing this here is to say that today I am willing to acknowledge my own ‘shadows’ or ‘ego issues’. I have often found myself irritated and frustrated when I have projected my issues onto other people which in itself has been a learning process. Phew! An example of a epiphany would be that I may be available to help another person in some kind of distress with insights/tools/experiences/ways to better themselves etc etc..but every individual has a choice to not accept my offering at that point. Also, I may not necessarily be everyone’s ‘teacher’ ( there’s that dreaded word). I have had to learn to hold back and offer myself only when asked. Believe me, it’s a very hard lesson. Why am I writing all of this? Today while I was in the gym, I stumbled upon the idea of relating the process of washing clothes in a washing machine / manually to our internal cleansing process if you will. Bear with me as I describe this mundane process: we take our dirty laundry, insert in a machine, choose the spin cycle depending on how dirty the clothes are or the nature of the fabric, add detergent and let the cleaning begin. The inherent assumption here is that we recognize we have some dirty laundry. If we refuse to see it (and I have lived with some roommates who stunk the rooms with their laundry…digressed, ok), it keeps piling up and the stench grows. Assuming we are fairly reasonable people, we take our laundry and begin the process of cleaning. Our detergent is our external cleaning agent to intensify the process and our helpers are the adjustments in the cycles. My aha moment happened when I thought…there is a point in the cleaning process when the dirt coexists with the cleaning. These are simultaneous occurrences and over a period of time and effort, the dirt gets washed off. Beep, beep!!! In my personal life, I have found relationships to be instrumental in highlighting my dirty laundry. It does take a couple of blows in different intensities to identify and acknowledge – ‘my bad’, ‘ I am wrong’ and the likes. I know it in my body when I am trying to deny something that has come up for me. I become defensive, feel tight in my shoulders and breathe shallow. Some individuals tend to use guilt and shame towards themselves to which I can say today ‘hey..whatever works for you’. However I love myself too much to put myself through that ‘spin’ and I tend to choose a gentle cycle. Interestingly enough, I am now fairly comfortable acknowledging my flaws and find it easier to relax knowing that ‘both are needed’ i.e. the dark and the light (I thought of the Chinese yin-yang symbol while writing this).As I work on my strengths and increase my capacity to be aware of my limitations, I need to sit with some level of discomfort on a daily basis. I can also say that ‘this is just a part of being human’. As I accept myself better, it will also reflect in the nature of my relationships. As is said in some schools of thought, once your awareness has increased, you cannot be the same person as you were. Our external cleaning agents which we can use could be journaling, meditation, talking to a friend, personal coaching and just being open to that inner voice that exists in all of us. Isn’t it much easier to be in the flow..instead of holding on to dirt and adding unwanted weight!So..what do you need to clean up? Hahaha.