Do you find it hard to relax? Are your muscles tight and painful? Would it be useful to be able to let them release so that you feel at ease and calm? Could that muscle tension and discomfort come from stress and anxiety? Where can you find the support to ease that pressure?
Do you feel on the back foot all the time? Are you finding it hard to keep up? Do you have commitments coming to you faster than you can deal with them? Does your mind feel cluttered? How about your home? Or your workspace? Would you like some time and space to breathe? Would you like support structures you could put in place to reduce that sense of overwhelm?
Time for support
I imagine that you would. But who has the time? You want something that is quick and easy to do that gives you that instant relief. When you are stressed, your body is in fight or flight, pumping adrenaline and cortisol around to help you cope with the challenges you are facing. This is great short term, but long term it is exhausting. You need a break.
You want to create an atmosphere that does not support flight or flight (stress response). Or, put another way, create an environment that encourages calm and relaxation. If you can create that in your body, you become less stressed. By creating that in your environment, your stress is reduced.
Creating support for relaxation
One way you can do that is to call upon the support and structures in your life that will allow you to relax as a result. Your body has a wonderful support and structure system that can offer tremendous muscular relaxation. And that is your skeleton. By focusing on your bones and aligning them, you can encourage your muscles to relax and give you the relief from tension that you are looking for. This is a video taking you through an exercise that focuses on the skeleton and allows your muscles to let go and surrender to gravity:
The exercise might take more time than you have on a regular basis. But even taking a minute, or 30 seconds, to stand, sit or lie down with your skeleton aligned would go some way to reducing your stress and anxiety. And the longer you do it, the more relaxed you’ll become. Try it in bed before you fall asleep or as you commute on the train or bus. There is a lot to be said for doing these sorts of exercises little and often so that you get the benefit over a longer period.
What are the other benefits?
As well as relax the muscles, you might also notice that you slow down. Your heart might feel calmer, your mind may have stopped racing and you may no longer feel that urgent need to rush onto the next thing. You may feel more grounded, centred and stable. I purposefully recorded the video with the window open so that the sound of the birds could be heard. Isn’t it nice to stop and notice what is all around you-the sounds, sights and feelings of the world?
This is the power of calling upon your support and structure to feel calm and tranquil. And there are other structures and supports you can call upon.
When there are important things to get done regularly, it is often useful to get into a rhythm of doing them. The daily routine of brushing your teeth and bathing is an example. How about a routine for starting the day so that you are in the right mindset before things kick-off? Or creating specific time slots in which you look at e-mails, interact with social media or take phone calls. And then shutting off all interruptions for specified periods so you can concentrate on writing articles or blogs, creating workshop or seminar material, planning meetings or tomorrow’s agenda. Blocking out time in your diary (hard landscaping your diary as a colleague calls it) can reduce your stress and anxiety about remembering to do these tasks. And, by doing them, it keeps you calm because you know you are on point.
Another thing that adds to your stress is mess and disorganisation. When you are looking for something and you just can’t find it, it adds to your anxiety. You spend precious time searching for it which eats up into other time where you could be more productive, or spend it relaxing. The precision that everything has its place, where things are tidy and easy to get to, keeps things calm. It doesn’t have to be all straight lines and right angles if that doesn’t work for you. For some people that level of organisation is overwhelming. While for others, it cannot be any other way. But, if you know where things are and you get in the habit of returning them to their home, it takes a lot of pressure off.
Knowing your Onions
Doesn’t it feel great to know your stuff? To feel that confidence in your chest that you have a deep knowledge about a subject that is important to you- like your business or job. Continual professional development means you gather a tremendous volume of knowledge that serves to build trust, reliability and confidence in your ability. Not just for yourself, though that is a huge bonus. But also, that confidence is embodied and transmits to your clients and colleagues. When people feel they can trust you, that confers calm and relaxation.
Making time to keep learning about your subject and hone your art lends you confidence and gravitas. When I speak to experts in their field, generally they tell me that they use perhaps 10% of their knowledge. But the other 90% empowers them to deliver that knowledge with confidence.
Support and Structure
Focusing on the things that give you support and structure allow you to relax. In the 4 elements model, Earth is the element of support, structure, precision and grounding. Bringing your awareness to the skeleton aligns you to the support your body gives you so that you can be relaxed, more present and at ease. Paying attention to the things in your daily life that offer you support and structure so that you can enjoy your day is a key habit to instilling and maintaining calm in your life.
What are you doing during this lockdown period to stay calm? What structures and support are you using to keep the pressure off and ease the tension? I’d love to hear how you are doing in lockdown.
Pass it on
Found this blog and the video useful? Why not send it to someone you know who is perhaps struggling with relaxation and managing stress at this time.