Tag Archives: breathe

5 Easy Morning Rituals That Will Reduce Stress and Overwhelm

In a world of 40-hour work weeks and traffic jams, mornings can be pretty hectic.  We may find ourselves rushing every morning to get to work or get kids to school.  We may even find ourselves doing our makeup in the car during rush hour because we’re just that rushed.

When we start our days with such a hectic and rushed routine, we’re making ourselves start our days stressed out and overwhelmed.  And, frankly, who really wants that?  So here are 5 easy morning rituals that will reduce stress and overwhelm:

#1 – Wake up at least 30-minutes earlier than you usually do

If you normally wake up about an hour before you need to be out the door, then maybe add on an extra half and hour.  If you normally wake up less than that, then you may want to try to add on more than a half hour.

Our weekdays can be pretty stressful as it is, so we certainly don’t want to make it more stressful for ourselves by rushing every single morning.  So try to give yourself some extra time in the morning so that you have more time to get ready and do more things for you and your own health and well-being.

And if you’re concerned about getting enough sleep, then be sure give yourself more time to at night to wind down and go to bed… it is possible!

#2 – Swap the coffee for a green smoothie

Many of us depend on coffee for our morning energy fix.  Though there can be a nice ritual around the process of brewing coffee, such as the smell of coffee beans or the flavor, coffee alone doesn’t give us the vitamins and minerals that our body really needs (and no, a morning bagel or donut doesn’t make it much better).  Eating leafy greens, fruits and veggies first thing in the morning is a much healthier option.

So grab your blender and make yourself a green smoothie.  If you’re in need of recipes, I’m currently obsessed with Kris Carr’s new book Crazy Sexy Juice for all my smoothie and juice recipes.  If you don’t want to get the book just yet, she also has a few recipes on her website.

#3 – Take a moment to really breathe some fresh air

There’s something magical about the crisp morning air that, once you stop and take a moment to appreciate it, can be extremely calming and grounding.  So before you rush out the door, take some time to open a window or step outside on to your porch and deck.  Take a few conscious breaths and allow yourself to take in and enjoy the beauty of the morning.

#4 – Write!

Our dream life is a world within us that we tend to neglect.  While we may remember a dream that was very charged for us for days later, most of the time we completely forget them.  This is unfortunate because our dreams are a bridge to our unconscious world.  When we take time to acknowledge our dreams, we allow ourselves to become more consciously aware of our thoughts, feelings and experiences that may have either repressed, forgotten about, or was never really aware of.

So upon waking, take a couple minutes to write down something that came up in your dreams.  It may be a lot of material or it may be only an image or two.  Even if you can’t write down anything about a dream, take a few minutes to free write about any thoughts that you have lingering in your mind upon waking.

Taking this time to write first thing in the morning, helps us to process our inner world.  By putting those thoughts, feelings and images out on to the paper we are making the internal experience less charged for ourselves.  Making this kind of activity a morning ritual, can be beneficial in reducing things like anxiety, depression, stress and so on in our waking lives over time.

#5 – Move your body

While those of us that are early-birds may morning jog to start our day, it doesn’t always work for everybody.  However, it is still highly beneficial to do some kind of movement first thing in the morning.

So take a few minutes to stretch and walk around.  If you’re a yogi, maybe you can do a few sun salutations.   If not, maybe you’d want to walk around your house or apartment before going to work.  Do whatever you feel called to do, but be sure to give yourself time move.

When it comes to your morning routine remember this: How we start our mornings sets the foundation for the rest of our day.  So if we start our mornings stressed and rushed, then we’re likely going to be stressed the rest of the day.  Remember to slow down, take a few breaths, and do things for you so that you can feel happier and healthier.

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Click to Tweet: How we start our mornings sets the foundation for the rest of our day. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

Out of the rituals listed, which are you going to start doing for yourself this week?  Share it in the comments below!

10 Self-Care Methods for Highly Sensitive People

Do you tend to feel overwhelmed by other people’s energy?  Do large crowds feel like too much to you?  Then you may be a highly sensitive person.

As a highly sensitive person, it’s incredibly important to learn how to set boundaries, protect your energy, and become a master of your own self-care.  Here are 10 self-care methods for highly sensitive people:

#1 – Set boundaries

In a relationship where the give-and-take never seems to be equal?  Are you around someone who consistently seems to try to get you wrapped up in their drama?  Is there someone in your life that makes critical remarks towards you?  Then set a boundary.

The boundary may be set by making a verbal statement or it may be by limiting or distancing yourself from the person.  Regardless of how you do it exactly, remember that its an important component in protecting your own energy.

#2 – Meditate daily

Meditation is an excellent tool to help increase emotional stability, happiness, and mental clarity.  You can meditate to a mantra, do visualizations or even a movement meditation.  Grab a free copy of my guided visualization meditation Healing Blocks to Love to learn more about my album Ignite Love from Within, which includes all these forms of meditations.

#3 – Do yoga

Do yoga at least twice a week in whatever form you prefer.  That could be hatha, vinyasa, kundalini, restoratives, yin, or whatever.  Regardless of the type of yoga, it is all going to help you release the energy or emotions that you’re holding onto in your muscles.

#4 – Spend time in nature

In our modern world of technology and sitting in an office most of the day, it’s not surprising to see why many of us can feel stressed, overwhelmed, or just down in the dumps — it’s not our natural way of living.

So get outside.  Go for a walk.  Walk in the grass barefoot.  Get some sunlight.  Smell the flowers.

#5 – Take a salt bath

Soaking in a bath of epsom salts for about 10 to 20 minutes will help you relax your muscles and restore your entire being.

#6 – Get massage, acupuncture, or Reiki

Schedule regular appointments for a body-work of your choosing.  It could be massage, reflexology, acupuncture, acupressure, reiki, or whatever. 

My only stipulation is that I encourage you to be mindful about who you work with.  You don’t want to work with somebody who drinks, does drugs, and doesn’t take their work seriously.  A careless practitioner can do a lot of damage — especially for a highly sensitive — so be sure that you get treatments from those who do their work well.

#7 – Eat clean

What I mean by this is eliminate (or at least minimize) processed foods and eat organic as much as you can to reduce consuming any pesticide residues.  I also encourage you to experiment to see what kind of diet works best for you and your body.  Maybe you feel best going vegan or vegetarian.  Or maybe you feel best going gluten free.  Or maybe you feel at your best cutting out grains all together with a paleo diet. 

No “one size fits all” for everyone all the time.  So experiment and try things out to see what gives you the most energy.

#8 – Journal at the end of the day

The reason many of us can feel so stressed out and overwhelmed with things is because we never really give ourselves time to process.  We never really let it all out in some way.

While talk therapy is beneficial, it is not the only way to do this.  Another way to help process all the stuff that’s going on in your life is to journal.  The simple act of just getting it all out on paper can be extremely therapeutic. 

A great practice to do put away some time in the eventing to just journal about your day.  If you’re not one to write, another option could be to draw or paint whatever you are feeling.

#9 – Breathe!

Did somebody just cut you off driving down the highway?  Breathe!  Someone come into the office all angry and stressed?  Breathe!  Can’t find your car keys?  Breathe!

When we bring it back to the breath, we are able to let it all go.

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Click to Tweet: When we bring it back to the breath, we are able to let it all go. via @jenilyn8705

#10 – Spend time at the beach

If you’re remotely near a coast, take advantage of going to the beach.  The sand exfoliates your feet and gives you a little foot massage, the air is infused with uber-healthy ions and the sound of the ways is soothes the soul.  It’s the perfect combination to fully relax and recharge.

Take action now!

Out of the list above, which of the self-care methods are you going to plan on doing this week?  Share it in the comments below!

Finding Blessings When Everything Comes Crashing Down

About mid-way through the year last year, I felt like my life was suddenly crashing down.

It started off with being notified that I needed to find a new place to live after I had just moved 3 months prior.  This followed with bad news about a chronic health issue that I had been dealing with.  In addition, when it came around to be “that time of the month” my PMS was at the absolute worst that it had ever been in my entire life.  All I wanted to do was lay around curled up in a ball for an entire week.  This all then concluded with a notice that I had been let go by my part-time job.

Needless to say, I panicked.  I freaked out. I was overwhelmed with anger that all these things had to be happening to me all at once. I had a complete emotional and mental breakdown.

I felt like my body was breaking down.  I felt like my entire being was breaking down.  The only thing I could do — or even have the physical energy to do — was to cry.

… and that’s what I did.  I cried.  I cried a freaking lot.  And I did something else too — I stopped trying.

I stopped looking on craigslist for apartments and jobs.  I stopped debating on what actions to take.  I stopped pushing myself to do all these things in hopes to find a solution to all my problems.

Instead, I just did what I could.  I let go and decided to go with the flow.  I stopped trying and pushing myself and decided to surrender and take care of myself.

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Click to Tweet: When your stressed cause everything is falling apart, stop pushing yourself to “figure it out” and just let go. via @jenilyn8705

It was then that I allowed myself to really relax and enjoy all of the incredible blessings that I had experienced around that same time, such as:

… having an astounding result to a TinyBuddha article of mine that I never would have expected!

… making new friends who are also life coaches or entrepreneurs.

… celebrating my amazing boyfriend’s birthday.

… moving forward in my relationship by both of us exchanging our first “I love yous” 🙂

… finding out that my parents were coming to visit me the next month.

… a childhood friend finally having her baby.

… having the time (and living in an area) where I had the opportunity attend group meetings for extra support.

… and so much more!

Often times when we find ourselves in a period of our lives where everything seems to have been uprooted and we have everything but security, we find ourselves all stressed out and caught up with feelings of anxiety and anger over what happened to us.  We find ourselves so caught up in these emotions that we completely overlook all the wonderful little blessings that are going on around us at the same exact time.  We can find ourselves so incredibly focused on all the “bad” that is happening that we cut ourselves off from seeing the “good”.

So what should we do during these moments of high-stress when it feels like everything in our lives is crashing down?

Breathe.

Often times when we are super stressed out, we completely forget about the most essential thing that keeps us alive and healthy: Breathe.  So stop and take a moment to take some deep breaths.  Take a very deep inhale and allow your exhale to be longer than your inhale.

This technique of breathing where we do a longer exhale than our inhale is a great technique to help calm down the body and help us relax.  I have personally used it on the nights where I’m having trouble sleeping to help me dose off peacefully and it has worked wonders.

Take time for yourself.

When we’re super stressed because all of our plans seem to not be working out, we tend to get so focused on fixing all of our problems and life challenges that we have forgotten the most essential aspect for our growth and progress: Our own personal well-being.

So give yourself a 1 or 2 hour break to simply do “nothing”.  For for a walk.  Take a warm bath.  Read a book simply for the joy of it.  Cry… cry a lot.  Eat and really savor a nutritious meal.  Watch reruns of your favorite TV comedy.  Focus on you and what you truly need for the health and well-being of your own mind, body, and spirit.

Reflect on your blessings.

Moments before you go to bed, get out a journal and make a list of all of the blessings in your life.  Is it a blessing that you have a certain amount of money in your checking account?  Is it a blessing that you have a friend or partner to support you during this difficult time?  Is it a blessing that you have made new friends recently?

Write down a list of all the blessings that come to you.  After you finish writing them down, go through each one and say out loud to yourself, “I am grateful for _______” in order to really acknowledge to yourself and to the universe that you are thankful for all these current blessings in your life.

Take action now!

What are some of the blessings in your life?  Share them in the comments below!

5 Easy Ways to De-Stress FAST!

It’s Monday morning and you’re late for work.  In hopes to be on time, you take an alternative route to work but still find the traffic pretty crazy.  People are honking their cars in frustration and impatience and all you want to do is get out of all this craziness ASAP.

When you finally get out of traffic and get to work (where you are just barely on time), your boss tells you a change in plans for the day and you end up having to do work that you have had remotely no training for and nobody is there to help you.

By the time you get home, you come to realize that the salad you had planned on having for dinner had gone bad in the fridge and that you now have to make another trip to the grocery store.

After you’ve had dinner, you now have some time to relax but the only thing you seem to have the energy to do is watch some TV in hopes that it will relax you a bit.  But, ironically, it doesn’t — because come bed time, you find yourself unable to wind down enough to fall asleep.

When our lives are all filled with all kinds of hustle and bustle it’s easy for us to get all stressed out.  We can find ourselves experiencing all kinds of fun symptoms of stress like insomnia, low energy, headaches, an upset stomach, acne, muscle aches and pains, or constantly having some kind of cold, flu or sickness.

We can all certainly agree that none of those symptoms are good or fun to have.  We definitely don’t want to find ourselves tired and sick all day every day for weeks or months on end.  However, unfortunately, this is how many of us are living our lives.  We ignore our body’s signs to slow down and take care of ourselves and continue to focus on all the “go-go-go” and “do-do-do” all the things that we apparently “need” to do.

It’s a self-defeating cycle that many of us habitually fall into without really even knowing it until we have a headache and can’t sleep.  We get caught up in our self-defeating cycle of stress and we’re not sure what to do to get out of it.

Fortunately, there are little tools that we can add to our daily routine to help us avoid falling into this self-defeating cycle of stress.  Here are 5 ways to de-stress fast and quickly:

Take a breather.

Our breath is extremely powerful and important.  When we are stressed, we often respond by taking faster and more shallow breaths.  To throughout your day, stop and take a few really big deep breaths while focusing heavily on dragging out the exhale.  It will get you relaxed in no-time — trust me!

Meditate.

Take some time to meditate at least once a day, but, preferably, twice a day with one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.  You don’t have to do any particular kind of meditation in order to reap the benefits.  If you want to do a mantra by saying to yourself something like “so hum” to each inhale and exhale, then go for it.  If you like to do visualizations then go do that.  If you want to focus on counting each of your exhales, then do that.  If you simply just want to focus on your breath — then go for it!

The truth is, meditate in any way that you feel works best for you because either way meditation is still going to be a very powerful tool at combating stress in your life.

Exercise.

When we’re stressed out taking some time to simply move our bodies can certainly help us become better managers of stress.  Doing some kind of exercise allows us to release any tensions that we are holding in our bodies and help us clear our minds.

This may be a walk during your lunch break, an early morning yoga session, or a mile long run after work.  Whatever type of exercise it is — it is still going to help you!

Put good things in your body.

When we’re stressed, we often find ourselves wanting two things: We want our food and drinks fast and we want something that’s going to give us a “pick me up”.  For many of us, this could look like a quick trip through a drive thru for a burger and a french vanilla cappuccino.

Unfortunately, though, neither of these things are really giving us what our body truly wants: water and some fruits and vegetables.  So be sure to pack a bottle of water and an apple instead of just sipping on your coffee and munching on a nutri-grain bar.  Give yourself some real food.  If you really pay attention to your body when you eat something natural, real, and whole you will definitely notice a shift the second you do!

Be alone with yourself.

When we’re busy with doing this and that and we’re around all kinds of people, it’s easy to not only be stressed out over our own stuff but be caught up in their own stress and frustrations as well!

For this reason, it’s incredibly important and very beneficial to take some time every day to simply just be alone with yourself to give yourself the opportunity to get re-centered over what it is that you feel and what you are experiencing throughout your day.

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Take action now!

From the list above, choose at least one of the ways to de-stress and go do it right now!  After you’ve done the task, share in the comments below your experience.  How has doing this benefited you?  How do you feel now that you’ve done it?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

4 Steps to Diffuse an Argument Before it Even Starts

A few weeks ago on a Friday evening I wasn’t feeling the greatest.  I was really busy, stressed, and, to top all that off, sick with a head cold.

That evening, my boyfriend and I had gone out to get some takeout.  During the trip I began sharing some of my recent thoughts and frustrations.  One thing led to another and pretty soon I found him getting angry and us nearly getting into a full-fledged argument.

The key here is that I said nearly got into an argument.  It was weird because we didn’t really end up actually arguing.  Him getting a bit angry was as far as things went.  In fact, things diffused so quickly that by the time we got home we were hugging and exchanging “I love yous”.

How did I do it?  Well here are steps to follow to help you diffuse any argument before it actually starts:

Step 1:  Remain calm.

Whenever the conversation starts to get a bit heated and different views and opinions are conflicting, we tend to get very angry.  As a result, we can end up saying things that we didn’t really want to say or saying things that we later regret. When this happens, we are caught up in our ego (aka our fear-based mind) rather than our true love-based selves.

When in this ego-driven mode of being, we can tend to really hurt other people and, most importantly, ourselves.  So one way to get out of our fixation on our ego is to get calm.  Bring your focus back to your body and to your breath.  Take deep breaths and check-in on how your feel in your body and overall being — both physically and emotionally.

Simply making the effort to get and be calm alone can be an incredibly powerful tool, as it prevents us from saying anything that we don’t really mean or anything that we will regret later on.

Step 2: Let go of need to be “right” or heard.

The second thing that we often do when we find ourselves getting into an argument is that we experience this strong need to be heard and to be “right”.  This need to be “right” is also an ego-driven response.

Though seems completely contradictory, the reality is that when we let go of the desire to be “right”, it gives us more strength and power.

So let go of any drive or desire to be heard or right in the argument and allow things to simply be as it is.  To simply let it be, is to choose love rather than fear.

Step 3: Listen.

Whenever there is some kind of conflict or problem, many of us start feeling like we need to say something in order to make things better.  However, I must say that the older and older I get the more I realize that the opposite is true.

Let me be clear: We don’t always need to verbally talk about things to “clear the air” and make things better.  Many times, all that needs to happen is for someone to really truly listen.  When someone is really truly heard and another person really truly listens, this is where true healing can actually take place.

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But Jen, whenever I do that I feel like a doormat! Oh trust me — I totally feel you there!  That was like the story of my life for several years, but here’s the thing: We will only feel like a doormat when our underlying motivation is fear rather than love.  We will never feel like a doormat whenever we are in a place of inner strength and love.

So if you ever do feel like a “doormat” then sit back and ask yourself: Am I calm?  Have I fully let go of a need to be “right”?  If not, then take the time to do so.

It is when we truly wish to serve that we come from a place of absolute inner strength and love.  It is in those moments when we have truly disengaged from our ego and have chosen love instead.

Step 4: Wait patiently.

Once you have made the conscious decision for yourself in the previous steps to choose love over fear, now the only thing left to do is wait.  Simply allow things to be and allow the other person to process whatever they need to process.

During this time continue to hold this space of love and strength for yourself.  Also, if you did happen to say some words that you regret in anyway, then you may feel that now is a good time to apologize.

Remember to be open and receptive.  Don’t necessarily expect an apology or a reconciliation right away, as that will take you out of a place of love and back into ego.  But simply remember to be open and ready to receive so that if it does happen naturally then you are ready to receive it.

Take action now!

Think of an argument that you have been in recently.  How have these steps may have changed the outcome?  Is there any step that you feel may be more difficult for you to do rather than the others?  How will you handle your next potential argument?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!