Post ID 736

Posted by on April 9, 2020

Dear Self-Care,

Hello old friend, how are you?

I’m writing this thank you note to let you know how much I appreciate you. Over the years, you have always been there for me, whether or not I made the time and effort to connect with you. And I always leave our visits better off than when I came – especially those times when I thought I didn’t want to connect with you.

You have made such a positive impact on my life, my business and my overall well-being that I decided to let you know these 21 incredible benefits of Self-Care. . . 

  1. You give me the space to be me – to know, appreciate, share and honour myself.
  2. My home is a secure and loving place because you’ve helped me know what that looks like for me.
  3. I’m clearer on my business priorities so I can simplify the work I do.
  4. You help me express and release my emotions so they don’t build up into bigger problems.
  5. I’m a better mom to my kids, able to be more present, lively and loving with them.
  6. You inspired the start of my business, as I want more people to benefit from knowing and accessing your value.
  7. I’m physically healthier, with more energy and vitality and less risk of illness and disease.
  8. I have stronger connections with friends, both giving to and receiving from supportive and wonderful people.
  9. You boost my creativity so I can offer my very best at work. 
  10. I’m better able to put my mind at ease and stop the mental chatter, to instead focus on what’s helpful and true. 
  11. I follow my ‘feel good’ with your support, trying new hobbies and learning new skills.
  12. You help me prioritize which are the most important tasks to focus on. 
  13. You give me full permission to rest and do nothing, especially when that’s what I need most. 
  14. You make it more fun to manage my finances, ultimately inviting more abundance. 
  15. You do the same for my business finances, ensuring I make the best financial decisions for my company. 
  16. When we’re together, I feel more spiritually connected to ‘something greater’ and to nature, and that I don’t have to have all the answers.
  17. You turn boring chores into mindful time or opportunities for play.
  18. I’m in an empowered place to make a real impact with my work thanks to you.
  19. You teach me how real balance is between ‘being’ me and ‘doing’ for myself and others.
  20. I’m a better partner with my husband, able to bring the best of myself to our relationship. 
  21. I’m modeling for my clients – and everyone around me – the type of loving relationship with self that is possible and essential to a life well lived. 

Wow, it was even easier than I thought to honour you.

I want you to know how much I really do appreciate you and that I will continue to do my best to show up for you – imperfectly, consistently, trustingly. Together we are better.

See you soon!

     Nicole

Post ID 724

Posted by on March 20, 2020

You face daily stressors, with no end in sight.

You need to stay well – in body and mind – to best make it through these uncertain times, care for others and contribute to the collective well-being. 

No pressure. 

Keep reading for the simple step you’ve been missing that will transform your response to and results from stress, keeping you healthier and more resilient to face another day.

The most succinct explanation of how stress works that I’ve found is from Emily and Amelia Negoski’s book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Much of what I have to share here is from their research on how stress works, the crucial step to de-stressing that we usually miss and ideas of how to take that step in as little as 20 seconds! 

How Stress Works

You know you’re under tremendous stress, but have you ever stopped to think about what’s really going on with stress?

Ideally it’s a 4-step sequence or cycle:

Stressor Experience -> Stress Experience -> Stressor Response -> Stress Response

1) Stressor Experience

A stressor is anything in your environment that you sense with your 5 senses or imagine, and that you interpret as a potential threat. Stressors can be external (work, finances, relationships, time, societal norms, global events) or internal (unhelpful emotions, self-criticism, regrets of the past, worries of the future).

Ex. You may find that your new routine of staying at home has introduced all kinds of new internal and external stressors that are impacting your sense of safety and security.

2) Stress Experience

Stress is the neurological and physiological shift that happens in your body when you encounter a stressor. Your entire body and mind instinctively change your neurochemical, hormonal, digestive, immune, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and reproductive systems, in response to your perceived threat. This helps you get ready to navigate the ‘danger’. 

Ex. Your body is flooded with stress throughout the day (which you may notice as quicker breathing, increased blood pressure, tense muscles, vigilant focus, heightened senses, etc.) in response to the challenges you experience. 

3) Stressor Response

The stressor response is the way you manage the threats that arise. You are likely quite good at addressing the stressors of your day, whether or not the way you address them is helpful. Your long-term goal is to minimize and find more helpful responses to the stressors in your life – but that’s not our focus today.

Ex. It may have been a wild day, but you managed to make it through – got some work done, missed a deadline, entertained the kids, yelled at the kids, made a healthy meal, ate chips, called your mom, hid, whatever – and now you hope to get some sleep and then start again tomorrow . . . 

But wait! 

This is where we typically stop, but by doing so we’re not completing the stress cycle and becoming unhealthier and less resilient by the day.

This is the crucial missing step . . . 

4) Stress Response

The stress response is what you do about all those activated neurochemicals and body systems. The only way to signal to your body that you are safe – and the only way to effectively complete the stress cycle – is to physically DO something. It doesn’t work to just mentally think to yourself “I’m safe now, all’s well.” Your body speaks ‘body language’ so you must communicate safety through your body.

You must take a physical action to give your body the space and time it needs to heal from the process. 

Ex. At the time of the stressful event, or at least within the same day, move your body enough to breath deeply for at least 20 minutes – but even 20 seconds helps. And if you can’t, simply DOING something is the next best plan.

How to De-Stress in Minutes

To effectively de-stress, all you have to do is physically DO something:

  • Best – Move your body however you can to get yourself breathing deeply for 20-60 minutes daily.
  • Better – Stand up, take a deep breath, tense all your muscles for 20 seconds, then shake it out with a big exhale. 
  • Good – Practice other less physical activities that will also help: 
    • Deep breaths with long, slow exhalation
    • Positive social interactions
    • Deep belly laughs
    • Tear inducing cries
    • Affection with a person or pet with whom you feel mutual respect and trust
    • Creative activities that encourage emotional expression
    • Spiritual practice to feel supported by something greater than you
    • Nature connection for multi-layered health benefits

In the moment – you will know that your action has worked when you feel a subtle shift in your body toward peace and you feel slightly better. 

Over time, with consistent practice – like prioritizing 30 minutes in your day to physically de-stress – you will keep up with the daily stress and begin to heal the potentially decades of unprocessed stress within your body that has built up over time.

I like to think of all of this in terms of a stress spiral. By effectively practicing and completing the 4 steps, you will keep yourself moving in a healthy and forward direction, like an upward spiral. When there’s a glitch in the 4 steps, or when you’re missing one, you’ll get stuck or find yourself spiraling downward.

What one simple action will you commit to doing every day to physically relieve your stress? 

Stress well, be well.

     Nicole

P.S. Want more insights like this and exclusive notes from me directly to your inbox? SIGN UP HERE to join my email community.

Posted in: Body, Renewal

Post ID 267

Posted by on June 17, 2017

I’m writing to you today from beautiful Vancouver Island. It’s the perfect place to finish this 3 part email series on balancing emotional, mental, physical and spiritual elements as there’s nothing like vacation time, a retreat from the everyday and lots of time outdoors to bring wholeness to ALL your inner elements!

So far, I’ve shared about the elements as metaphors to understand the parts of yourself and know which parts of yourself you lead with and which need balance. To finish off today, I have 40 ideas for you to choose from to rebalance yourself for optimal wellness.

If you discovered that your heart, mind, body or spirit could use some loving attention, try any of the ideas below.

Water:

To allow your emotions to flow freely, if they are overflowing or dried up, balancing Water activities include . . .

  • Listen to your favourite music, play music or attend a concert.
  • Notice how your sensory experiences affect your emotions.
  • Move your body in expressive, sensual or sensitive ways or dance.
  • Learn the “secret” language of your emotions and apply their wisdom.
  • Create arts or crafts to process and better understand your emotions.
  • Write, read poetry or journal to express your emotional experiences.
  • Try flowing spiritual movements like tai chi, yoga or qigong.
  • Spend time outdoors near water to enjoy the flow or take a salt bath.
  • Enjoy positive social interactions at parties, sports events or on dates.
  • Use your emotions to feel into the other 3 elements.

Air:

For a breath of metal or intellectual fresh air, if your thoughts are blustering or starkly still . . .

  • Play games requiring mind focus, like Scrabble, sudoku or crosswords.
  • Read about and research things that interest you.
  • Make plans and bring logic to your activities and processes.
  • Do an in-depth study on artistic expression, relationships, cultures, human development, religion or spiritual practices.
  • Turn off the news or social media and allow your own thoughts to unfold.
  • Learn the source of your thoughts and beliefs and update as needed.
  • Try something new to flex your mental muscles.
  • Breathe in wide open spaces or practice breathwork anywhere.
  • Discuss topics of interest to you with friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Use your mind to sharpen the other 3 elements.

Earth:

For grounding yourself or your environment, if they are overworked or ignored try . . .

  • Do nothing. Allow yourself rest time and enough hours of sleep.
  • Nourish yourself with healthy, energy providing foods and drinks.
  • Design a plan or regime to enhance your physical wellness.
  • Enjoy tactile art forms like pottery, sewing or carpentry.
  • Try emotive dance like salsa or samba, or spiritual movement like forest bathing or mindful walking.
  • Prevent and manage physical health conditions or illnesses.
  • Enjoy a massage, adjustment, sauna or steam bath.
  • Practice grounding by walking barefoot outside or lying on the earth.
  • Play, fool around and have fun with others and the world.
  • Use your body to strengthen the other 3 elements.

Fire:

To keep your spirit or vision burning, if it’s blazing out of control or fizzling out, consider . . .

  • Make time and space for your dreams and visions.
  • Understand your intuition as a gift and learn to trust it.
  • Study spiritual or religious texts or great dreamers or visionaries.
  • See the big-picture of your emotional process, within your world, culture, family and yourself.
  • Engage in passionate endeavours.
  • Dance or drum to summon your inner inferno.
  • Pray, meditate, worship or set intentions.
  • Enjoy a sunrise, sunset, bonfire or candle light.
  • Spend time with animals, children or elders.
  • Use your spirituality to spark the other 3 elements.

So which of these 40 ideas called to you the most? Do that today! Then try any of the others as needed.

I’ll do the same!

  Nicole

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