Where do I begin! I generally touch on time-for-oneself around the Winter holiday season when we are pulled in all directions – family gatherings, hosting and attending parties, thinking of gifts, finding those gifts, in addition to the regular daily routine. We are all feeling the additional stresses in this time of economic and social change, so it feels aptly appropriate to discuss me-time at present. I am reaching out in different directions and feel on the precipice of change. I am constantly mentally aware of all signs and opportunities, bringing into focus anything in the periphery, turning these over in my brain for their meaning to my current state. Really? This means my energy is all on the surface and I am really not present at all.
I recently asked for a sign and received a dream of a tornado. In reality I have only witnessed three tornadoes. Directly in its path, one hopped over the house; one gained momentum through a field of crops as I rode along side on a motorcycle; and the other raged in the opposite direction in the distance. In the past, dream tornadoes elicited fear in me, either the funnel passed in front of me or I woke before it approached. This time, wider than my vision, it whirled toward the building. I calmly though quickly sought shelter but was turned away, I clung to the steel stair in the hallway as I was pulled into the funnel, eyes shut, aware of the tension in my arms, only to observe as the dream ended I now clung to the wing of a jet safely landing on the tarmac.
A tornado is considered "the finger of God", so I think He personally provided me with the sign. Unfortunately I wanted clear direction when I requested a sign, but I only asked for the sign not the clarity. Tornado, a combination of wind and water, can be likened to a combination of change and emotion. Yes, I am experiencing that! Feng shui – a technique of harmonizing external/environmental qi – translates to wind and water. So I need to change my environment, but does this mean finding the new apartment I am in pursuit of, a new position, or take a jet to a new location. I don't know! All dreams are a service to our health and wholeness, provide opportunities for self-knowledge and evolution. All I know is I need to chill out because this is chaotic.
Now comes the me-time. Studies show that even a few minutes to relax and unwind can decrease stress and increase productivity. I have plenty of time on my hands, but it is busied with simultaneously walking down all the avenues unlike the ordered path of a tornado! So here is what I have to do and what we all should do. First catch the chaos before it is out of control. Prevention is key. Just like any mode of transportation needs tune-ups, so do we. I am well aware that calming the mind, giving the autonomic nervous system a break, mindfully exercising the body will provide clarity or at least a little added insight. Once I stop the energetic and mental chatter, I will 1. Learn more from that dream, 2. Gain clarity for my direction, 3. Boldly move with the change.
Taking some time each day to focus on your needs allows you to:
Have the energy you need to continue caring for everyone and everything else in your life
Become a healthy role model to those around you.
Experience less stress
If you are committed and have the time, take a yoga class or practice daily meditation. Don't sabotage yourself if you don't have the time; just follow these easy suggestions that only take minutes of your day.
Start your day with a morning walk. 10 minutes up and down the street will do. This is NOT the hurried dash to the train but a calm walk.
Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. This takes about 1 minute. If you are having a particularly stressful day, set your alarm for the top of each hour and breath in renewed energy and exhale the old .
Take a lunch time stretch break. First TAKE a lunch break! Reaching your arms up over your head or a few neck rolls are a good place to start. 1 to 2 minutes.
End your day quietly snuggled up with loved ones, reading a good book, listening to soft music or indulging in a warm bath. Do this one as long as you like. Keep the TV off as long as possible, it depletes energy.
Practice gratitude by taking some time to be thankful for the new day you've been given and for the people around you to love and care for. Gratitude helps keep life in perspective. Do this one for a lifetime.
Allowing yourself these minutes of me-time will lessen the effects of stress, and calm will emerge.