Hi friends! Wow. I am writing this on Monday morning, the day before the Election and 2020 has yet to "release its foot off our necks," so to speak. The feeling in DC is intense. We have been through a lot this year, no? My city is being boarded up again, anticipating unrest and riots. I hope you have already voted, and if not, I hope you're reading this while you're waiting to vote.
So instead of my traditional Well•Being Wednesday, my offering to you is a special Well•Being Wellness Guide: 6 Self Care Tips for Election Day! If you need additional distractions, take an epsom salt bath, turn off the news for at least a little bit, maybe even treat yo' self by baking cookies or making a fancy fall cocktail. It's okay, you deserve it. We all deserve it right now.
Self-care tip #1: Your Election Mantra
Trust me, I understand your anxiety. Never in my 34 years on Earth have I seen our country so divided. No matter your political views, we are all experiencing a lot right now and this election can swing us into one extreme or the other. The mantra, "this, too, shall pass," is a great reminder of impermanence. Yes, the anxiety of the unknown is scary, and for some people life is unbearably difficult right now. But use this mantra when you need it. This feeling will pass. We will get through this.
Self-care tip #2: Set an Intention for the Election
In yoga, we encourage you to set an intention for your practice. Why did you show up to your mat? Sometimes, it is to create space, to let go, to be present. Other times, showing up to our mat is the best way for us to show up for others, as a channel for peace and loving kindness.
Set an intention for yourself for the election, just like you would for your yoga practice. If your views are divisive with someone you love and care about, maybe an intention to respond rather than react. If you are attending a protest, an intention to be a channel for peace. Use this as a reminder every time you feel challenged today, and going forward.
Self-care tip #3: Remember to Breath
You would think something so unconsciously automatic would be easy to do! But under moments of stress, pressure, anxiety or pain, what do you find yourself doing? Holding your breath! I know there is some psychology to this phenomenon that I personally am unable to explain.
But I can talk about your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "rest and digest mode" of your nervous system. Diaphragmatic breathing is directly involved in helping you calm down.
So if you're having trouble calming down, do a breathing exercise. I like this simple box breathing method, shown above. Feel free to screenshot the image and use it anytime you need!
Self-care tip #4: Give Yourself a Massage
As the name implies, our little friends the levator scapulae elevate the shoulder blades. A
majority of people I work with have trigger points and pain here, including myself 🤨. Because what happens when you are stressed out or hunched forward all day? Those upper back muscles are working harder than my heater on a cold Minnesota night.
A comprehensive step-by-step to this and other tension relief self massage tips can be found here.
**Please be careful here, near your cervical spine. Start slowly and palpate lightly the first day, 1 minute max, to see how it feels. A lot of receptors are located in this area. If you have any neck issues or concerns whatsoever, please skip this and work with a professional in person**
Self-care tip #5: Move Your Body!
As a firm believer in somatic psychology - the theory that body manifests mind - I hope you can make it to a yoga class today! There are so many options online these days, and while I am not teaching Tuesday, check out the schedule at Be Free Live Fully. If you don't have time to take a full class, below is a little stress-relief sequence you can do, or sign up for my newsletter to get a free 6 minute full body practice!
The original post for this sequence can be found here with more detailed descriptions
Self-care tip #6: Be Grateful
Rumi reminds us, "Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life." Take one moment to fill this out. Reminding ourselves to be grateful for the roof over our heads, the meal we ate, the support groups we have will keep things in perspective when we get stuck in our heads.
Remember, there are some things a president can never take away from you, including (but not limited to): your purpose, your passions, your potential, your priorities and your progress (taken from @glographics).
Now take good and gentle care of yourselves today and the rest of the week! Be safe, be healthy, and live with joy + peace.