When ‘just breathe’ doesn’t cut it!

‘Just Breathe…’

an inhale and an exhale, take this moment to feel that breath and connect with the present moment that is…

Emotional fatique

 

You know those days or moments when ‘just breathe’ doesn’t do anything, it actually doesn’t cut it, you feel somewhat worse, more irritable and the situation feels at a complete loss.  Your whole sense of being detaches from where you really want to be, logically you know you are to ride it and notice the process, but something else is saying..run, hide, escape, give up!

Guess what, you are not alone. Those moments are real, and it could be a number of reasons why, you know yourself better than anyone but if you don’t recognise what it is how do you make it better?

It could be learning a lesson, adapting to change, resistance to something or it could be that a tank is empty and it needs to be filled….Have you acknowledged those times when you’re empty, you have given to everyone else around you, and left nothing for yourself.  That irritability, the lesson, resistance, tiredness wanting to run and hide is your mind and body saying ‘Hey, you are empty, you need to stop, reset and refuel’

Lately, I was there, I wrote a facebook post about it, admitting and recognising that I was tired, emotionally – not physically.  My head was full but unclear. I wanted to do things but then would stare at the screen unable to think about what to write.  My to do list was whirling around in my head and I knew that a lot of it wasn’t going to happen, that didn’t sit well with me.  I had been cruising nicely and ticking things off, life was content, pleasant and also challenging to maintain the smooth running of family! So over time by filling everyone else up I had neglected myself.

I needed to listen to my sudden sense of emotional tiredness, and stop, reset, refuelAwareness was the key for me, I listened to my mind and body and quickly decided to make appropriate shifts that enabled me to start filling my own emotional tank.  Yes, one of my initial tools was ‘just breathe’, but at that stage it didn’t cut it, it didn’t feel good, there was discomfort in telling myself to ‘just breathe’.  At this point, I should mention, I am a mindfulness facilitator – so the breath is pretty important in what I teach others, and to be in a place where what I pass on to others wasn’t working for me, it got me thinking about what those words can do or mean in any given moment.

So, what did I do to ease the emotional fatigue and get out of the run, hide, escape, give up mode. I stopped and took that breath, noticed the discomfort of it and realised that I needed to listen to my body. There were 6 things that I did to build on the stop, reset, refuel…..

1. Positive regard – a ‘yay me’, high 5, pat on the back.  Awareness, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant is a great thing, so praise yourself for that.

2. Protect the emotion – knowing that the tank is empty or nearly empty, you need to protect what’s left in a loving way. Look at your day and keep it as ’emotionally’ free as possible. Try not to get into deep and meaningfuls, or make that phone call that could exert the energy you don’t have.

3. Try something new or different that promotes self-care. Something that helps with the reset and offers sense of inner calm.  It could be music, reading, colouring, sitting and looking out, cooking – anything that doesn’t exert too much emotional energy and takes you away from the ‘tired’ feeling.

4. Sense of achievement – You still want to feel as though you have achieved something in a day, no matter how mundane that could be (for me it was loads of washing, I know how to do it, it got me moving and I didn’t use my ’emotional energy’, I still achieved and got something done that was also helping the family).

5. Home sanctuary – a massage, day spa treatment may not be possible (it wasn’t for me) so create your own sanctuary at home for a period of time.  Soothing, relaxing music in the background or no background sounds at all, let the natural sounds be what you tune in and out of.

6. Connect – this can be the one that makes the difference. Say yes to a friend who is suggesting a catch up. You don’t have to talk about your emotional drain. (I was fortunate that a before school pick up coffee was planned).

I am not going to make it sound as though by doing those things my emotional tank was filled, it wasn’t, and there were kids coming home from school, who were going to need my attention and therefore me emotionally. I had topped up my tank and being aware of that, was gentle on myself and how I interacted with my children when they got home.

The lesson for me was ‘just breathe’ didn’t cut it at first, but by recognising that made me aware that I was being told to stop (which meant breathe), reset (take action and start refilling the tank), re-fuel (know what works to refuel the tank).  Going through the 6 steps enabled me to get back to a point where my to do list was no longer whirling around in my head, it was a list that was doable, achievable and I didn’t want to run, hide, escape or give up.

I wanted to just be, and as a preventative measure since that day… I am playing more soothing music and checking in on my ’emotional tank’ more regularly to make sure it doesn’t get to empty again.

Look after yourself and remember that as humans, we all have times of tired – be aware and stop, reset and refuel.

Yours mindfully

Eryka

LookingForward_Logo_Small

Having the ‘present’ knocked into me….literally!

gettingknockedIt had been a busy week, with nothing out of the ordinary of doing two things at once….that was when the ‘present’ was knocked into me….

At that moment I could have had a small cry, as I was in pain, however I was delivering some needed clothes to a family in need and more things on my list to get done before heading to a course. I had taken the bags out of the boot, as I was shutting the boot with my right hand, I used my left to pick up a bag, as I straightened from picking the bag up my forehead collected the edge of the boot….ouch.  For a moment I thought that there could have been blood, luckily not….just a nice bruise to remind me of the moment that the ‘present was knocked into me’.  Being mindful, being present, having awareness is not new to me, infact I facilitate mindfulness sessions to school children and adults. So how was it I brought the boot down to collect my forehead…I know where my head is, I knew what my right arm was doing with shutting the boot, how many times have I said to one of my children ‘mind your head’.  Where was my head at?

I can’t specifically answer that, as to where were my thoughts, all I know is I was doing two things at once and it did not prove to be helpful.  I was delivering material needs to a family so I wasn’t sure which unit it was, I was making sure that I was delivering the right bags, I was checking the time as I had a few things to do before a deadline.  Clearly my mind was in the past (albeit immediate) and future (again immediate), but when was I actually in the present moment where I was shutting the boot, picking up the bag to make my way to the front door?  I would have been there at some point, I just wasn’t present with it (gees I hope you are following me, or at least relating to the internal chatter).

Normal, yes all those thoughts are normal and okay, what was unhelpful for me was attaching to the past and future whilst the present was happening without being present with it.  I did walk down the driveway with a smile on my face and a tear rolling down my face, offering thanks for the knock and checking back in with what was ‘now’.

The rest of the day I stayed with the focus of paying attention and being present,  I enjoyed laughing in the car with a friend to the course, I became engrossed being lead in a mindfulness of the body meditation – with the focus on touch. My mind and body had an overall sense of calm and serenity with it, reminding me of my own catch phrase ‘rushing calmly’,where I still get the things done that I need to do, I just do it mindfully and presently, taking that breath, be with it, and undertake each task as they are presented.

Upon reflection I thank that moment because as I look over the week up to that painful knock it was a reminder that to stop and listen really does make a difference.  From that present knock my afternoon, evening and weekend had me mindful, calmer, with more clarity and a smile on my face.

 

 

Eryka is a relationships counsellor, mindfulness facilitator building people’s sense of self-awareness.  Workshops and courses are run regularly along the Mornington Peninsula, Vic. 

3 Ways towards ‘Rushing Calmly’

looking-forward-slider4

 

Rushing Calmly…..sounds like a nice concept doesn’t it?

The more I learn and experience Mindfulness the more I see that rushing calmly is possible.  I have felt it and tried to maintain it best I can so my world doesn’t feel rushed and that I am missing out on ‘life’.  It has become apparent that when asking people ‘How are you?’, it has changed from the automatic ‘good’ to ‘busy’.  We are finding ourselves surrounded by social media that has us always ‘switched on’.  Where is the slowing down to rest the mind and body?

Mindfulness when experienced offers an element of staying in touch, by that I mean staying present and being with what’s happening right now.  When we get caught up in our thinking, we can notice that invariably it is not about the present, it has something to do with the past or future.  Not a wrong thing to do, but when we get caught up into it, it can create a busy mind, therefore less focus on the present (or task we are undertaking) which has us thinking…gees I’m busy, I can’t stop, I want to stop.  If I mentioned that you don’t have to stop anything that you are doing or letting things go that you enjoy, but have the sense of calm while undertaking the rushing, would that feel good?

Here are my 3 steps towards ‘Rushing Calmly’

1. Breath

The breath holds the important initial key to rushing calmly.  By noticing when you take that extra deep breath, it is bringing you back to the present offering a reset/recentre to continue on.  The breath is the anchor, when you find yourself lost in thought or consumed by the busyness, turn your attention to the breath and really feel it move through your body.

2. Attention Switching

You know when you have 2-5 things on the go all at once?  Where is your attention?  it’s generally flitting between each task – therefore nothing really has your full attention.  When you next have a few things on the go at once, attention switch.  Stop one task and move to the next task, then back to the first task – but doing it intentionally.  Everything will still get done, but you are doing each task with attention rather than either auto pilot or with half focus.

3. Ask yourself  ‘What’s happening for me right now?’

Bringing awareness to your mind and body offers wonderful feedback to what’s happening for you.  When busy kicks in, we tend to lose or not notice what is actually happening in mind or body (except that we are busy and rushing).  Acknowledging the rushing feeling or sense of un-calm can help bring you back to regroup and breathe and put your attention on the one task at one time.  ‘What’s happening for me right now’ can be done as a check in throughout your day.

The breath, focussing on one task at a time and checking in with what’s happening for you right now – will offer the element of being present, more attentive to yourself and noticing what’s happening for you. Once you notice that, you can then make changes on how you see, feel, are in those moments.

I am an advocate for self care, and that involves going within and looking at how we are, what we need and how we go about getting it.  Mindfulness for me has been great for my self care as I can utilise it at anytime, I don’t rely on anybody else, I can come back to the breath, acknowledge, reset/regroup and continue my way of ‘Rushing Calmly’.

I would love to hear how this goes for you, and whether you are able to rush calmly in your day to day.

Workshops are available,  and day and half day programs can be tailored for workplaces to experience Mindfulness.  Integrating into your every day and offering yourself that self care, that will then benefit your family/workplace and most of all YOURSELF.

For information you can email eryka@mindfullyyou.com.au

May you be that much closer to rushing calmly

Eryka

click here for more details or register your interest

An unexpectant beginning…

Tranquil If you allow yourself to be open minded you may begin to hear the teaching and learn from it….

I ensure that my clients know about self -care and are able to refuel themselves with the elements that make them feel good, refreshed, confident to be able to continue on with their day/week/month/year.  Self-care can incorporate something you do daily, weekly, monthly, but it needs to offer you what you need.  Most of us can feel when we need that top up, and it is rarely filled by others.  Self-care is just that ‘self’  anything you receive from others is a bonus and a nice addition to your own refuelling.

I had recognised that my self-care needs were needing a top up. My exercise which is my main contributor to self-care was not fulfilling all that was required.  My body was giving me feedback on being physically tired, drained and focus was being lost.  When a yoga retreat was mentioned to me by a friend, I asked a question of cost and when I heard how reasonable it was I immediately said yes.  This was the added self-care component I was requiring.

Yoga        Time out from my surroundings, from my ‘norm’, forced to really cocoon myself into me and be open minded to what yoga could offer.  I have dabbled in yoga over the years, but have always been drawn to gym and pilates for the cardio burst of fitness and strengthening. I can now say that I was recharged, refuelled and have a new appreciation for yoga.  I was physically challenged and more so mentally.  There were moments during the 1.5hr yoga sessions (which there were 3 of over the retreat) that my mind was questioning ‘how long is there to go?’ ‘When will this finish?”. I heard myself, acknowledged the slight resistance to the yoga and responded with ‘I have nowhere else to be at this time’, and with a breath and refocus on the yoga pose the resistance to the session ending, ceased.  I was able to be content with where I was and how I was feeling.  The resistance was also to do with the physical challenge, it hurt at times and when I feel pain I tend to give up.  As I went with the intent of being open minded I worked through the physical pain and used the power of the breath to get through (it also helped listening to the soothing voice of Elisa our teacher).

With little to no expectations of the weekend, except that it was time away, I was able to really be at all times. My mindfulness practice heightened as I was able to take moment by moment in and slow all senses, allowing that recharge to happen.  So for me I had an unexpectant beginning, I wasn’t searching for anything yet I found.  I wasn’t seeking clarity yet I received it.  I was able to stay open minded to the weekend with no judgement, no expectations, and received teachings that I can now move on with in way of learning.

I do have my reality check on, and I know that life isn’t all yoga retreats, as I came home and unpacked my bags and started the chores of washing.  Yet I had a smile on my face, knowing that I listened to myself that month or so ago and heard that the self-care element needed something more than my usual gym/pilates.  I offered it the yoga retreat to which I have been taught, I have learnt and have therefore grown.  I missed my family in that time, but I also know they have a better me, and that is because I refuelled, recharged and took charge of my self-care.

DolphinsIf you can take time to listen to yourself, that little voice that can sometimes be ignored and recognise when you need to introduce something more or different, please do so.  It may be going to a yoga class, a walk, reading a book, sitting with a magazine, a night away….whatever it is that you can offer yourself go now and write it down or book it in.  Your body and mind will thank you for it, but most of all you will thank yourself for it.  Self-care isn’t about waiting on someone else to do something for you…it’s you doing something for you.

May you be well and happy.

Elisa Payne is from Om-Buddhi Yoga and offers weekly classes, workshops and retreats throughout the year.

Eryka is a counsellor and mindfulness facilitator working with individuals and couples.

 

 

Mindful Moments

MindfulMoments

Daily reminders of being mindful

 

Last year an idea came to me about sharing Mindful Moments.  Moments where we are fully aware of the present, being in the now – truly living it.  It has taken some time for it to come to fruition, in that I have sat on it for almost a year.  Without questioning too much as to why start it now, I am a believer that things happen for a reason, last year it wasn’t the right time.  Now, is the perfect time for me, as the daily mindful moments is also a therapeutic tool for me.  I am putting to practice what I counsel and facilitate.

As a counsellor, I offer strategies, tasks, ‘homework’ to my clients and I am aware of how difficult it can be to introduce a new thing, change a habit, or try something different to create new.  It takes discipline and effort.  Mindfulness in theory is easy, as it is about being present, living in the moment each moment, having awareness, observing without judgement.  Yet, when put into practice that effort and discipline is vital, and we realise that focussing on one thing without the mind wandering is abit more difficult than first thought.

One of my aims (besides setting myself the activity for self care) is to help others further understand and integrate mindfulness into their day. To notice by reading my mindful moments, it doesn’t have to be a 20minute meditation, it really can start with being aware of your self, physically, emotionally, socially. Mindfulness allows us to become more intune with our bodies, therefore having more control of how we feel and how we want to feel.

Each day, I will post my Mindful Moment on the Looking Forward Mindfully Facebook page and encourage you to share yours as well.  I hope you embrace your moments and start to notice them as they are happening.  Before you realise you will be utilising mindfulness a lot more than one moment.  Last week I observed and noticed that within myself there were some unpleasantness (in thoughts, feelings, mind states) , I listened to it without judgement and took charge of how I wanted to be feeling.  As I write this and have posted Day 3 Mindful moment, I am observing and noticing far more pleasant…..Why?  I put effort and discipline into being mindful.

Take care

Eryka

Sometimes being negative is a positive thing…

positivethinking

Today I read an article by comedian Kitty Flanagan in The Sunday Age (Metro pg 36).  The third paragraph reads ‘There is so much focus these days on being positive. I am not against being positive, but I’m not against being negative, either. Sometimes being negative is a positive thing’.

As a mindfulness facilitator and counsellor I see many clients who aren’t ‘happy’, find it difficult to see the positive in their life, worry about what may happen and focus on the negative.  For them it is real, it is their world that they currently can’t see any differently.  What I help them to see is the negativity, unhappiness or worry has got them thinking about change, that is a positive.

Is being positive all the time a realistic way to be?  It is certainly a helpful way to be, but how realistic is it to be positive all the time.  The reality is we feel both positive and negative at times, and respond accordingly.  Over the last 12 months I have observed and become more aware of the saturation of ‘positivity’ posts on Facebook and wonder whether the expectation is greater to always be positive. A negative connotation with anything then is shunned and must be overridden with positivity immediately.  I can also understand the power of negativity and that it can stop us in our tracks, but I’m not convinced that ignoring it by saturated positivity is the answer.

As mentioned, having a positive outlook is a helpful and pleasant way to be and feel, but we can’t ignore the negativity when it’s there, we can acknowledge it as unhelpful or unpleasant, but acknowledge it all the same.  One of the many things I have learned by studying Mindfulness is ‘it is what it is’. Merely observing and noticing what is happening in our feelings, thoughts and mindset – not attaching to them so it can be what it is.  We tend to push away and resist the negative and want to savour and keep the positive.  Change is inevitable, every moment is different, there is always change, nothing says the same – so to be positive all the time, isn’t realistic.

When reading the third paragraph –  ‘there is so much focus these days on being positive’, I smiled to myself in agreement and now wonder how many others read that and thought the same.  It highlighted the wonderment of mindfulness for me and how beneficial it is to practice and be in the moment and that positivity plays a role not the only role.

 

Yours in good health and positivity with a little sprinkle of reality

Eryka

Counsellor and facilitator

LookingForward_Logo_Small

A Night Out for Support for Mums 2014

It’s on again for the 3rd year and I am so excited that women come together in support and celebration.

Friday August 8th 2014. Same venue Mornington Golf Club from 7pm-10pm.
Enjoy a few hours of ‘time out’. Support for Mums & their families offers practical, emotional support for those in circumstantial crisis. Solely reliant on fund raising events, this one is no exception – however the twist is as an attendee you receive the pampering and goodies.

Continue reading

No time like the present…

At Bloom Networking meeting this month we introduced ourselves and our business, and we were also asked to share an achievable goal for the next month. Knowing my current workload, I could have taken an easy option, however I chose to challenge myself and tick something off my ‘to do’ list that had been there for over 12 months (yes, you read correctly).

The goal I verbalised (with trepidation) was “to write my first blog…..and upload it”. So with the hard part done of putting it out there so I am now accountable, it’s onto the next part of actually writing and finishing it.

The heading of this blog reads, No time like the present…

What is meant by the phrases “there is no time like the present”, “the here and now”, “paying attention to the present moment” or even “in the moment”? They all fall under the banner of Mindfulness. An increasingly popular, yet ancient approach that is said to improve general wellbeing and mental health.

Continue reading