Many of my clients resonate with a caregiver vibe. Wives, mothers, teachers, doctors, nurses. We know what it’s like to sacrifice for our children, our parents, our spouse. We nurture, support, encourage, and serve. We enjoy helping others, love to see them reach their potential, live out their dreams, achieve their goals and desires, grow to be strong, happy, and confident.
I have used the oxygen mask metaphor with dozens of clients and friends. You know how the flight attendant always tells you that in case of emergency, you should put your own oxygen mask on first and then help anyone who may require your assistance? I try to impart the importance of that to my clients. Of course it makes sense. We can’t help anyone if we can’t breathe, right?
I remember when one of my clients protested that example, insisting she would assist those in her care before herself. When I asked how helpful she might be if she didn’t have oxygen, she insisted she would hold her breath and care for others before tending to her own needs. She went on to say that she’d rather die than put her own needs above her children’s. She’s certainly not alone, it’s quite common for parents to feel that way. But how helpful is it?
*As helpful as giving mouth to mouth resuscitation while only exhaling and not inhaling.
*As helpful as your cell phone when you don’t plug it in.
*As helpful as pouring from a water pitcher you forgot to fill.
If we forget to fill up inside, what on earth have we got to give anyone?
And where on earth did we get the idea that anyone is more worthy of our energy and oxygen than we are?
My client is NOT alone. I have engaged in this energy-drain over a good portion of my own life and a surprising number of my clients have echoed similar sentiments when it comes to meeting the needs of others vs our own needs. Many of my friends and relations are givers and fixers as well. Myriad humans believe it is either selfish or greedy to put their own needs first. Different cultures and religions have different variants of the idea that to honor others above the self is somehow noble or even sustainable.
I cry bullshit.
Yes, I thrive when helping others. Everyone, but especially my kids and my clients. Yet when I make sure my own needs are being met, I am so much more effective at connecting with and supporting others, and I have an increased ability to affect positive, sustainable change.
It’s true for me. It’s true for many of my clients.
How true is it for you?
Are you allowing yourself to breathe? Are you denying yourself air because of some limiting belief you heard and internalized many years ago? How frequently are your own needs being met? What are you putting off that would truly make your heart sing? What is the thought/belief holding you back from meeting your own needs? How willing are you to start letting go of those limiting beliefs?
Allow yourself to take a DEEP cleansing breath, reminding yourself how very worthy you are.
And as you exhale, release the old belief that doesn’t serve your health.
Inhale worthiness into your blood and bones. Exhale old beliefs that do not serve.
Repeat multiple times daily until energy shifts and you are closer to believing the new thought than the old one
The last six months have been challenging for all of us.
COVID 19 Quarantine Trapped indoors by smoky skies and raging fires Travel restrictions Canceled vacations Weddings postponed or socially distanced Reduced financial resources People we know sick, or dying Increasing tech stress ‘Homeschooling’ our kids The utter LACK of hugs in this world!
Not to mention any personal challenges your may be facing like sick pets, vehicle breakdowns, relationships ending, or health issues – other than pandemic viruses – that force you to expose yourself to situations that could allow you to come in contact with the virus.
Normally, I am a beacon of buoyant energy. One of my superpowers is seeing the opportunities in the challenges, knowing there IS purpose to the apparent madness, and keeping my balance despite what’s going on in the world or my life.
However recently I have been feeling the heaviness of it all. “Golden Fucking Opportunities” (GFOs) for growth have been raining down around me. I have a travel addiction. Travel opportunities feed my soul. So far this year we have canceled nights in Monterey, Yosemite, and Burney Falls, and weeks in Colorado and Arches National Park. It helped me to know that I am NOT the only one who had to cancel travel plans. I am not alone in this. We are all canceling plans, and adjusting to our own set of GFOs. But then I found out that we have to postpone our trip to Hawaii (booked since February) and don’t have any way to know when we will get to go. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Suddenly it was ALL just too fucking much. Hawaii had been my carrot through all the other challenges, so when they took that from me too, I hit the wall.
In the past
In the past when I hit a wall emotionally, my world would go black and I would crawl under my blankets for days or weeks. I would beat myself up telling myself I didn’t deserve fun, travel, happiness, or even love. I would open the dark umbrella thought of “who cares?!” which lead me repeatedly to eat damaging foods, stop working out, and to thinking even more emotionally draining thoughts! In the past I would lie there wondering WHY I felt so shitty, and why the world hated me and was being so mean to me.
And who could blame me? Given that set of circumstances, anyone could want to react that way.
But now I know better.
Therapy and coaching have helped me discover how energy draining that old behavior is, how depleting, stress-inducing and disease causing.
So last week when I hit the wall, I asked myself, “Cyndi, what do you need to feel better right NOW?”
1- Knowing what I need has made a huge difference in my life. 2- Allowing myself to do what I need is THEE difference in my life.
Ever since I learned that what I was doing was NOT working for me, I have been on a quest to become aware of what DOES work for me.
Some of the things I have learned are: Having something to look forward to is CRUCIAL to my state of mind. Talking to my coach ALWAYS lifts my energy exponentially. Getting a massage ALWAYS releases stress.
Rather than spiral into darkness like I would have in the past: 1 – I texted my fabulous coach, Jill Lebeau, and moved up my session. 2 – I scheduled a massage for my day off. 3 – I decided that I would schedule some travel or go stark raving mad.
Despite travel restrictions and the great inability to determine what the fuck the pandemic or politics will bring next, I have been planning my next trip to Croatia for almost a year now. I couldn’t know when it might happen, I was just having fun dreaming of all the places we will visit when it DOES happen. I’ve been watching ticket prices for months and they have been pretty steadily priced around $1,300. That’s less than the last time we flew to Europe, but I was convinced I could get a better price than that!
Monday morning I decided that I didn’t care WHAT bargain rate I might get later. I knew without doubt that if I had airline tickets for my dream vacation in hand, I would feel buoyant again, and all my challenges would morph back into opportunities. I decided that I would just PAY the $1,300 fare. We have been saving for this trip, so we already had enough saved for the two tickets.
It would be worth paying full price just to feel better!
The instant I had that thought, my spirit lightened immensely!
I pulled up searches of all my favorite airlines, checked different cities to fly into, tried different hubs to fly through, looking for the best deal available and the most AMAZING thing happened. I found a fare on a reputable airline, with reasonable travel times for less than $800 round trip for each of us. YES! I checked all the details a second time, then booked the tickets.
Then I had a dance party in my living room.
I was SO right! My energy popped back up like a cork I had been holding under water. Suddenly my energy was vibrant and flowing. At my coaching session, instead of my coach helping me out of a dark place where I had gotten stuck (as would have happened in the past), I was telling her about the miraculous return of my energy, and increased capacity to support others through the MANY golden fucking opportunities that are happening all around us! I knew without a doubt what my soul needed to shine, and I didn’t hesitate to give it to myself. Some might think it selfish, but that bit of self-care was crucial to my emotional wellbeing, and paid off tenfold!
My coach wisely pointed out that deciding to spend the full price because I deserved to feel better embodied an abundance mindset, and that vibration of abundance allowed me to attract the super low fare on a high-quality airline.
And now, I feel INCREDIBLE, nearly invincible! I am manifesting what I truly desire by trusting my KNOWING about what I need, and allowing that to outweigh the financial consideration. I feel far more able to focus on my life and my clients.
Did all my challenges/opportunities just go away? Hell no!
But the things that frustrated the crap outta me a couple days ago seem like nothing more than minor irritants now. They seem far more like opportunities than challenges.
And burdens that had felt unbearable – the unexpected death of a beloved pet, a best friend facing months of chemotherapy – became at least manageable, and I am able to remember that, in time, even these burdens will reveal gifts for us.
Am I saying that if you are struggling with GFOs you should plan a trip to Croatia? Maybe. If that’s what turns YOU on. Heavens no, if you don’t enjoy travel.
What I am saying is that when the world seems to be crumbling around us it’s extremely beneficial to know what it is YOU need.
Then allow yourself that. ALL of that.
What works for you? What person, place, thing lifts your spirits no matter what? How can you allow yourself more of that? What’s holding you back from allowing more of that in your life? What will change for you when you allow yourself more of what feeds your soul?
I used to think it was NORMAL to put on 5-10 pounds during the holidays. I told myself it was no big deal, everyone does it, I’ll drop the weight later.
Sometimes I did. More often I gave up. I grew heavier as years passed.
Two years after I got sober I was using food like a drug and weighed over 220 pounds. I would eat like I could NEVER get full, even when I was full, then restrict my calories ridiculously, and try to lose the weight as fast as possible.
I beat myself up for the extra weight I was carrying, scolding myself, causing increased stress, which caused me to eat more and gain weight, for which I scolded myself. I felt ashamed for being so WEAK that I turned to food for comfort. That caused MORE stress and MORE eating to numb those feelings.
That was my pattern for over a decade.
My chiropractor told me that my debilitating pain was caused by inflammation in my lumbar spine, and that inflammation was caused by inflammatory foods. He did not say what foods were inflammatory, but I cleaned up my act and stopped eating so much sugar, at least for a little while. As soon as my back felt better, I went back to eating whatever I like. Then I woke up one morning with half my face paralyzed. The medical doctors had a name: Bell’s palsy, but no idea what caused it or what to do for it. They told me the symptoms could last for as little as three weeks, or be permanent. They had no way to know.
The palsy symptoms have slowly improved over time, but have never gone away completely. Several months after the onset, I read a book that suggested that palsy symptoms might be due to inflammation. That got me to thinking about inflammatory foods again.
I knew that some of the foods I was eating were damaging my health, and that the medical community was of no help. I decided to start looking for a naturopath hoping that she might be able to help me.
I searched for a naturopath for months before finding one completely by accident. In early October, I was driving home from the beach and pulled over to stretch my legs. When I got out and walked around the sidewalk there was her sign. I should have made an appointment right then, but I took a picture of her sign with her contact information and filed it away.
I really wanted to talk to someone about those lingering palsy symptoms, but I knew without a doubt from the center of my being that she was going to tell me to change the way that I was eating.
I made a conscious decision that I was not willing to give up sugar and treats until after the holidays, so that I could eat whatever I liked and enjoy myself without feeling restricted or left out.
I put it on my agenda to make an appointment with the naturopath early in the new year.
That holiday season I ate like a fiend. Everyone knows if you’ve got a diet coming up you double down on calories, right?
Between Halloween and Christmas that year, I gained 20 lb. When January came I was miserable. My energy was depressed. I wasn’t working out. I had night sweats that soaked my sheets. I was ashamed of the way I looked. I didn’t like the way I felt. I was nauseous most mornings. I was hungry all the time, and I was heavy with shame.
Of course I forgot about calling the naturopath right away, and in early February, I awoke one morning with pain in my intestines that I was certain would kill me. I was really sick. And I was scared. I had a panic attack, and my blood pressure rose off the charts.
I went to the hospital, and got no answers, and no warm fuzzy feeling the answers were coming. Then I remembered that I was going to call that naturopath. So I did.
At our first appointment she told me that she suspected food allergies. She did a blood test, and put me on an Elimination Diet that excluded all the foods known to be troublemakers for two weeks while we waited for the results. I had no problems whatsoever sticking to the eating plan because the pain was an all-too-real indication that there was something seriously wrong with me and I needed to make some changes. Digesting HURT, and I didn’t’t eat anything but produce for nearly two weeks.
When the food allergy test came back, it told me something I had long suspected. Dairy is not my friend. In fact, the food allergy test showed that I am allergic to dairy, sugar, and wheat.
I thought my life was over.
The idea of living without dairy and wheat seemed impossible, restrictive, and heinous. As far as I was concerned the perfect diet was bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch and pizza for dinner. Everyone knows the perfect hiking food is a big hero sandwich loaded with cold cuts and cheese. This is the reason I hadn’t gone to see her in October!
But, I knew that my health was in serious trouble. My body was giving me very clear messages about that. It needed to make changes in what I was eating.
So I stopped eating dairy, wheat and sugar.
And guess what? Not only did I feel better right away, and start to see improvements in the symptoms I had been experiencing within a week, I started to see improvements in things I had not related to food. My skin cleared up. The Eczema on my ankles and elbows went away. The night sweats vanished. My energy level increased tremendously. I started sleeping better, and my libido returned.
By the time my birthday arrived in June, I had dropped 50 lb without doing a single workout. The only change I made was to lose the dairy, wheat, and sugar. It was like a miracle. I had been trying to drop excess weight my entire life.
Sugar In The Wound
Despite my triumph, when stress began to increase, or I was pressed for time, I headed back down that well worn path to the comfort of food, and the ease of wheat and dairy foods.
I mean salads, REALLY, who has time for all that chopping?! Am I right?
Just two weeks before my first vacation to Europe, I was SICK again. I put myself on the elimination diet and called my naturopath. This time I got a diagnosis of SIBO. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is no joke. I was sick at least part of nearly every day of my European vacation. I lost 10 pounds the first 5 days we were there. Horrible, miserable intestinal symptoms. We still had a fabulous time, we simply had a lot of challenges along with the fun.
It was after that trip that I realized that dairy and sugar had become my new booze. At the time, I actually had many thoughts about being powerless over sugar. I told myself things like: “I can’t pass up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, I can’t resist free candy, Halloween is my favorite holiday, I can’t leave any cookies for later, If it’s in the house I have to eat it.” And I knew with every cell in my body I didn’t have the power to pass up cheese on a buffet table.
That kind of conviction will override healthy intentions every time! I had these mantras in my head that blocked my success despite my overwhelming desire to regain my health. I felt like I must be crazy!
Even though I lived through evidence in my own life that proved this eating pattern makes me sick, miserable, and unable to enjoy my life, I returned to it again and again when I was feeling stressed or lonely!
Even though I suspected long before my naturopath told me that I was allergic to cheese because of the way I craved it – just like alcohol – I returned to it whenever I was upset, AND whenever I felt like celebrating. It was truly a deadly double edged sword.
Even though I had experienced hangovers from overeating just like I did from over drinking, if I was stressed or upset when I walked into an event with free food, I was almost guaranteed to overeat even when I told myself I wasn’t going to do it.
But after Europe, I was finally ready to admit that I needed to make changes. I wanted to feel energized and healthy.
I knew I had to make changes, but in my experience, I could not eat a little or I would end up eating a lot. I had learned that with my addictive foods, it was ALL of it, or none of it, so I restricted myself completely. That year at Christmas, I ate ZERO goodies. I avoided parties and gatherings as much as possible so I wouldn’t screw up. I didn’t make my usual holiday candies or cheeseballs. The entire family complained. I didn’t buy candy to put into stockings. I shot resentful looks at people enjoying holiday goodies. I was miserable, resentful and I felt left out, but by golly, I had my food addiction under control.
How many of you think that lasted? By Halloween that year, I was sick again.
Turned out that being aware that I needed to change was a great start, but I still didn’t have the whole picture. I was trying to resist the food cravings with willpower alone, and my willpower eventually ran out.
I was so tired of the weight roller coaster, the night sweats, the inflammation, the achey joints, that powerless feeling I got around chocolate. I was sick of it all.
Worse than that, I was tired of letting myself down! I felt trapped in an vicious cycle of wanting healthy change, planning to make those changes, and then not following through. It left me full of self-doubt and lacking self-confidence!
I felt like I was spinning out of control, like I was powerless over food, like I would never figure it out. And right in the middle of my turmoil, my normally helpful and supportive partner brought home a couple of bricks of cheese from the grocery store.
Why would he do this? He knows I can’t eat dairy! He knows I am sick! He obviously knows I can’t resist it. He knows this will end up on my burger and he doesn’t care! I wanted to eat ALL of it because – who cares?
I clearly heard the voice in my head say, “I care.” Who cares what he brings home? He’s not forcing me to eat it.
And like a ton of bricks it hit me.
Esther Hicks and Abraham tell a wonderful story about getting tabasco in your pie. Just because the tabasco is in the kitchen does NOT mean it will get in your pie. The only way the tabasco gets in your pie is if YOU put it in your pie.
SAME with the cheese, Cyndi! The only way the cheese gets in your pie hole is if you put the cheese in your pie hole!
I had NOT been taking responsibility for what I was eating.
I had been refusing to take responsibility for what I was eating by pretending to be powerless over certain foods. I was giving away my power by clinging to the belief that if certain foods were available, I HAD to eat them. I was pretending that I could not control myself around sugar and dairy, when in fact, I am the ONLY one who can choose my actions. I was simply choosing to give in to temptation and pretend it wasn’t my fault, that it wasn’t my choice, that in fact – I was powerless to change the foods I was eating.
EVERYTHING changed for me with that simple realization.
I took the steps I needed to take to STOP overeating, and stop eating foods I am allergic to, foods that cause harm, inflammation, and all kinds of health problems.
I’ve learned to navigate the holidays without spiraling into stress and overeating, and I’ve developed a process to help clients do the same!
Is your body ready for some healthy changes?
Join me for my first masterclass to explore these key questions:
● Why do I overindulge even when I tell myself I won’t? ● What’s kept me from achieving my health goals in the past? ● Why do I backslide into old behaviors when I’m stressed? ● How can I reduce holiday stress that leads to stress eating? ● Is it possible for me to avoid weight gain during the holidays? ● How can I stay motivated during the holidays? ● BONUS – How can I indulge a little bit without overindulging?
Does self-care seem indulgent or selfish right now?
Do you feel like you can’t take a break, ask yourself what you need, and then give that to yourself? Does thinking of your own needs NOW make you a bad person? No! No it does not.
Most of us are feeling rage, or fear, or sadness, or shock or all of the above about the events happening in our world. These emotions are catabolic and drain our energy. They increase our stress levels, release cortisol that depletes our adrenals, and exhaust our physical apparatus. How much good can we do if we show up to protest feeling hungry, tired, or overwhelmed?
Self-care is NOT indulgent. Self care is CRUCIAL if you expect to help, uplift, or protect anyone – especially yourself!
The world NEEDS all of it’s warrior spirits right now!
The time is here to stand up for what you believe in – which is altogether DIFFERENT than pushing against what you do not want – and you cannot stand for something if you are too exhausted to stand!
PLEASE do whatever you feel called to do, whatever you feel capable of doing to support our brothers and sisters of color, but please remember to take care of you first. You will be a far more effective ally if your energy is fully engaged.
You are as deserving of love and care as the people you want to support and uplift. And you will be a far more effective advocate for change if you feel positive and powerful instead of drug-out or depleted.
▪ Learn to say “no.” ▪ Develop a relaxing evening ritual. ▪ Allow yourself to feel and express all of your emotions ▪ Bring you into the present moment. ▪ Create art as a form of anxiety and/or stress release. ▪ Remind yourself of the good stuff in life by writing a gratitude list. ▪ Stop being your harshest critic. Allow yourself to make mistakes. ▪ Do some stretching exercises. ▪ Take a walk. ▪ Drink more water. ▪ Go out and spend 10 minutes under the sun. ▪ Go for a bike ride to nowhere in particular. ▪ Spend time in nature. ▪ Go to bed early. ▪ Avoid toxic people. ▪ Ask for help. Let people know you need some help. ▪ Call a trusted friend or family member and talk things out. ▪ Schedule a date night with yourself. ▪ Limit the time you spend on news/social media. ▪ Make time for meditation. ▪ Do a body scan, and check in with each part of your body. ▪ Do something nice for someone in secret. ▪ Donate money to a charity of your choosing. ▪ Spend time intentionally raising your vibration.
Pick ones that appeal to you. Support & strengthen yourself first. Then get out there and do whatever your spirit is being called to do!
I am offering two free coaching sessions to anyone wanting coaching right now! Coaching is what I am good at, and it’s what I can do to help after I recharge my own batteries! Please email me if you would like some help being at your best during challenging times!
Has shoulding yourself into action EVER been effective?
Honestly? Most people find that feeling we “should” do something drains our energy, so it’s demotivating rather than motivating. Should-dos and must-dos weigh heavily on the shoulders and mind.
Should is “could” with shame attached, and shame is the very lowest vibration. No wonder “should” is so heavy!
Could means we are at choice. We could do something if we chose to do it. It’s a choice, an option, completely voluntary. Should suggests that we are somehow less-than if we choose not to do whatever we are shoulding ourselves to do.
When we have choices, we feel more empowered!
Should means we don’t have a choice, and nothing makes us feel more powerless. Simply shifting our thought from, “I should wash the dishes,” to “I want to wash the dishes so the kitchen will be tidy,” can be immensely energizing.
I’m not talking rainbows and lollypops. I’m talking about creating new thought pathways that cause less stress in our lives. Less stress means less cortisol and less disease, so it’s worth the effort! And finding ways to reframe your thoughts can be fun, and creative.
Catching your ‘shoulds’ is the first step. Listen for them when you speak and think. When you catch yourself, stop and ask:
Why do I believe I should? What is the worst that will happen if I don’t? Can I live with that? How can I reframe it so that I am choosing to do this? What’s the most positive aspect about choosing to do this? How can I make this fun?
having trouble reframing a ‘should’ statement? drop it in the comments and I’ll help you brainstorm some ideas, so you can take back your power!
I have been receiving massage on a regular basis for the last decade and a half. Once a week I give my body a break from EVERYTHING. I put myself face down on some lucky therapist’s table and I just release every bit of tension I can release. It’s like a rebirth for my energy. Blood, oxygen, and chi all begin to flow where they may have been stuck.
I learned a long time ago that not only do I release the tension my muscles are holding during massage, but my muscles remember how to release, so they actually accumulate less stress between massages.
But here in pandemic world, LOTS of perceived stress to go around and NO massages! So what can we do to release stress?
Give yourself a fucking break!
Often we are so busy that massage time is the ONLY time we allow ourselves to relax. Maybe you look forward to some down time during your regular pedicure. I remember being so busy when my kids were little, that I looked forward to doctors appointments because I usually got a solid 10 or 15 minutes in the wait room where I could just sit!
If you can’t schedule a massage, a pedi, or spend 15 minutes just waiting in a doctor’s office, when are you scheduling rest breaks? Most of us just aren’t!
It’s like we think we have to “do” something on order to relax. What if we just relaxed? What if when we’re tired, we just lay down and take a nap?
Does going with the flow seem too radical?
Write a rest break right into your schedule.
It’s as important if not MORE important than anything else on your schedule.
I KNOW! You’re working from home, learning new tech, teaching your kids, walking the dog, and trying not to lose your mind. But if we were NOT sheltering at home and socially distancing, you would schedule that massage or that pedi, or that yoga class, right?
Set that hour aside for rest!
Pencil it right in where the massage or the pedi would go. Let anyone you live with know that you have an appointment to keep and then use that time to be quiet. Close your eyes and just rest. In bed is fine, or on a yoga mat. Put a bolster or pillow under your knees, and a slightly rolled towel under head and neck to support your relaxation.
Savasana is the “corpse pose” done at the end of a yoga class.
Make yourself as comfy as possible and just let it all go! Let go of the “have too” and the “must-dos” and all the rest of it, and just relax for 30 minutes.
If it’s possible to fall asleep, and you need to be up and doing something in the next segment of your day, set an alarm on your phone. Choose one that’s gentle, like birds chirping so it doesn’t jar you from the resting place, but rather invites you to open your eyes.
Humans rarely allow themselves time to become fully rested and most of us are often deprived of the right amount of sleep. But rest is essential to body, mind and spirit!
If you are hearing stories in your head that tell you that you don’t have time to rest, or you don’t deserve adequate relaxation, or self-care, coaching might be able to help!
In the most basic of terms, what I do as an energy coach is help clients remember how to release worry, anxiety, self-doubt, low energy and overwhelm.
If you or anyone you know is interested in uncovering what’s holding you back, and moving beyond where you’ve been able to grow before, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free phone session to see if coaching is right for you.
Bear with me! I realize how askew that sounds, so let me be clear.
I believe whole heartedly that everything has a purpose. Not just the stuff I like. Not just the positive experiences. Everything.
Since this is True, even Trump has a purpose, but if anyone is thinking his purpose is to course-correct the country, I would have to challenge that assumption. The current resident of the White House has proven he has neither the capability, nor the interest in doing so.
In my opinion, his role is to shine awareness on how broken our systems are, and I have to hand it to him for doing a bang up job in that department! The political system, the education system, the health care system, the financial system are all collapsing under the weight of this pandemic. (So much winning.)
So who plays the role that fixes this fucking mess?
Anyone who genuinely cares. (See why it can’t be trump?)
It’s our role to accept what is, and use the assets available to us to overcome limitations and consciously choose a better path forward, together.
It’s up to you and me to do what we can, where we can to improve what we can and help each other through this crisis.
It’s up to us to create new systems that support well being and quality of life for everyone.
It’s up to us to dream up systems where those who wield power do so for the highest good of all involved.
It’s up to us to imagine ways to make the world a better place to live for our children than it has ever been before.
DON’T ask yourself to solve what seem like the most enormous issues (unless you are one of the researchers who already has momentum in that arena). If we ask “Why is this happening to us?” or “Who can we blame?” we get very different answers than if we ask, “What can we learn from this?” or “How can we use this knowledge to grow forward?”
If we ask questions like these we feel powerless: How long will this last? Where will the answer come from? Who will die? Why doesn’t EVERYONE take this seriously? Why didn’t they tell us sooner? Why weren’t we prepared?
Ask yourself questions you already have answers for!
What emotions am I experiencing? What can I do today for my health? What helps me feel more connected while socially distancing myself? What can I do to boost my immune system today? What steps are within my control? What steps can I take to protect myself and my family? Name one time today that you felt ok. How can you do more of that? What brings you joy? What can you do to soothe yourself? What can you do to help your neighbors or family?
So, while the current resident in the White House has most likely played a role in increasing the death rate of this pandemic – a role in adding to the confusion & overwhelm, a role in the exponential spread of the virus despite his incapacity to understand the term “exponential growth,” a major role in making the problem way worse than it had to be – it is not going to be his role to fix the thing.
That’s going to fall to those of us who care.
If you need space to process your emotions and talk through what’s going on for you, contact me for a chat!
Humans love delicious food to celebrate the good times, and we use food to soothe ourselves during challenging times.
Self-soothing with food is something to which most of us relate, though I’ve heard people say they don’t like the term ‘self-soothing’ or that self-soothing is for wussies. But if you are stress-eating, or using food to deal with anxiety, push away discomfort, or buffer uncomfortable emotions, you are self-soothing with food. What’s your favorite comfort food? Pizza? Mac & cheese? Chicken soup? Sugary sweets? Sometimes it doesn’t matter what the food is, it’s the act of eating that soothes us simply by causing a momentary distraction.
One drawback to using food to soothe is that it tends to result in overeating and excess weight. Comfort foods rarely include vegetables, and almost always include either high fat or processed sugar. While neither of those is detrimental in small doses, if we are overeating them on a regular basis, they can cause physical discomfort, increased health risks, chemical imbalances, confusion, emotional fluctuations, and spiritual stress (due to being out of alignment with personal wellbeing goals).
Used repeatedly as an anesthetic, soothing with food sets up the craving/reward cycle.
Cravings and Rewards
A bigger problem with using food to sooth discomfort is that we train ourselves into a cycle of craving and reward. When we experience an emotion that is uncomfortable, then reach for food to dull our discomfort, we are rewarded with a little hit of dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical signal from our brain that we have done something that sustains life. Our body regularly produces dopamine when we are warm, when we eat, when we have sex – because these things are necessary for survival. The dopamine REWARDS us by making us feel good for a minute.
We experience discomfort. We soothe with food. We receive a chemical reward of dopamine. We experience discomfort, soothe with food, receive a reward. Experience discomfort, soothe, receive reward. Discomfort, soothe, reward. Discomfort, soothe, reward.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Our lizard brain now believes that the foods with which we soothe are necessary for survival. When you try NOT to soothe with food, your mind will try to convince you that you will DIE if you do not indulge.
Have you ever experienced a time when you felt you HAD to have something? Where you felt you couldn’t NOT eat (smoke, drink, do) something, like you will DIE if you don’t? That’s what that was about! Your lizard brain actually thinks it will die without that dopamine reward. Processed sugar produces a highly concentrated hit of dopamine, much higher than the amount we are normally rewarded for engaging in life-sustaining behaviors, so if you are self-soothing with sugary treats, the craving/reward cycle becomes much more powerful.
Despite what our lizard brain thinks, we will not DIE if we don’t get that sugary treat. Imagine a six-year old throwing a tantrum because you won’t give her a candy bar. She can scream and cry and throw the biggest fit full of snot and tears, but you know she’ll be fine. She won’t die because you don’t give her the candy, right?
Compromised Immune System
Another issue with using food as comfort is that it causes an overload of toxins that our body systems must deal with. While the body is focused on removing toxins from less-than-healthy food choices, it has less energy to keep the immune system strong to protect us from illness. And isn’t THAT what we’re all craving right now? Safety. Protection from harm. Food can’t give us that, but a strong immune system can. Protecting our immune system might be the number one reason at this time to avoid using food to soothe our challenging emotions.
Food is fuel. It’s meant to efficiently power our physical body. When we eat to soothe or comfort ourselves, we actually cause discomfort. We experience physical discomfort or mental/emotional discomfort, even spiritual discomfort from misuse and overuse of food.
Food is NOT a healthful coping mechanism.
Things are feeling really stressful for a LOT of people right now. No one will blame you if you overeat or if you eat foods you normally don’t eat, and you certainly won’t be the only one. But if you want to comfort yourself in a healthy way, or soothe any anxiety you may be feeling, there are many ways to do that without using food.
Some effective ways to soothe without food include:
Physically place your hand on your heart and pet it. This is an amazingly effective technique for comfort!
Wrap your arms across your chest and around your own shoulders and give your self a long hug.
Write yourself a letter and say every comforting thing you wish someone else were saying to you right now, or that you would say right now to a child whom you love with all your heart.
Get outdoors every day.
If you can’t get outdoors, google gorgeous landscape photography and imagine yourself in the photograph! Your imagination is a powerful tool.
Take a walk, even if it’s indoors.
Go for a run.
Put on your favorite song and dance around your living room.
Call a good friend for a long chat.
Journal about your emotions or about the circumstances you experience and what you are thinking about them.
Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. Have a full conversation about how you understand how hard this is, that you’re sorry you’re going through this, and remind yourself that you will get through this, that everything will work out again, whatever you would tell a close friend in this circumstance, tell it to YOU out loud so you hear it in your own voice.
Please list your favorite HEALTHY ways to cope or soothe in the comments! I love hearing from my readers!
I am a fairly fearless person, and I have been feeling an undercurrent of fear in my community strong enough to pull me under – and I do NOT watch TV news shows. Feeling that fear is completely understandable, especially for those of us sensitive to energy. Over the last few days I have had several times where I simply felt like something is off.
Like a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
Yesterday I had a panic attack. The panic wasn’t my own, it was seeping in from the general atmosphere of fear surrounding the globe. It didn’t last long, but it sapped my energy JUST enough to make me wonder if I might be coming down with something. There are multitudes of people panicking right now, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
If we watch the whole thing unfold on news programs, more of us will die from stress than from virus!
It makes sense to keep informed from reliable sources of news, but if we are living on a steady diet of ‘what’s happening in the world’ without digesting some kind of counterpoint as well, it depletes not only our energy, but our immunity.
Don’t do that to yourself!
First of all, reduce your exposure to the news. Don’t let it saturate your waking hours with fear and anxiety!
Counterpoint can be anything that lifts your spirits.
Watch a feel-good movie or TV show. Get out in nature! Move your body. Try a new meditation app Research something that interests you. Have a long conversation on the phone with someone you love. Read uplifting books and blogs. Listen to something uplifting on YouTube. – One of my FAVORITES: Everything is Always Working Out for Me Here are links that frame the virus in a different perspective – What if the Virus is Medicine? From Heartward Sanctuary – What if… by Gurpreet Gill
Choose whatever counterpoint you like, as long as you LIKE it.
If we eat a steady diet of fear, we become fear filled. If we balance that with counterpoint, we can become whatever we choose to look at. We can be inspired. We can be informed. We can be calm, prepared, steady, helpful, uplifting, fulfilled, joyous.
The choice is ours.
Purification Meditation ~
This exercise will communicate to your energy system (body) that you are willing to align with vibrant health, and willing to release any resistance to wellbeing you may have been holding.
Visualize yourself in a stream of light. Let it pour through you as if you are translucent.
Allow the light to cleanse and rejuvenate every cell in your body as it pours through you, warms you, strengthens you, and purifies you physically.
Then reverse the stream and allow the light to emanate from within you. Imagine it purifying all your cells as it streams out from you.
Please feel free to share YOUR favorite counterpoint activities in the comments!
Everyone is currently talking about the importance of a healthy immune system, and I could not agree MORE!
We’ve heard reminders about the importance of proper hydration, plenty of rest, washing our hands, eating healthy foods, – avoid crap food because if your body is already struggling with garbage and toxins, it has less strength to fight off viruses – drinking less alcohol, reducing smoking, washing our hands, staying active, taking probiotics, getting some sunshine every day, and then washing our hands again.
All of these things are GREAT to boost immunity, plus they help us feel healthier & more energized! One thing I have not heard mentioned in this torrent of common sense is to get engaged!
Human beings are energy systems.
We literally exist to flow energy. When our energy is not flowing it is stagnant, and our energy system feels depressed. Stuck energy causes physical dis-ease, and once we stop flowing energy, our Spirit disengages from our physical body and we have our ‘death’ experience. – According to Abraham, we never die. We are eternal beings and when we ‘die’ we still exist as non-physical energy that is 100% engaged in all the same subjects of interest we had while in physical form.
The only way to flow energy is to engage energy.
So get engaged! Find something that you are passionate about and focus on that. That’s what flows energy and sustains our Spirit. Boredom will kill us! Boredom stagnates our energy and energy needs to flow.
So besides following all of the wonderful common sense advice to eat right, get plenty of rest, and wash your hands repeatedly, get excited about your life! If we’re not feeling passionate about SOMETHING, we are an easy target for that energy transference known as ‘death’ that so many people fear.
If we are sleepwalking through life, going to work, surviving the mental clutter in our mind, emotionally drained, tolerating relationships, physically inactive, and spiritually unanchored, then we are NOT energetically engaged! Washing our hands a million times can’t boost our immune system enough to counteract this level of energy stagnation.
When we stop flowing energy in this physical body, when we stop being engaged in our current life, we are as likely to die in our sleep or in a freak accident as to be taken out by a viral pandemic.
More than one client this week has expressed a fear of dying, and anyone watching TV, or surfing the internet these days might resonate with that fear.
Fear of death might mean that we do not understand our eternal, infinite nature. But my intuition tells me that most people are afraid to die because there is something the heart longs to do that is yet undone. THAT is where passion lies! Focus on THAT because it will flow energy and feed your resilience, and expand your soul.
Many clients have told me they don’t know what THAT is for them, so they get discouraged. I say let that encourage you! If your fear of death is telling you there is MORE yet to be done, that your purpose is not yet fulfilled, then allow that knowing to fill you with HOPE! Not hope simply that death will not yet come for you, but hope that you have purpose and your purpose will again engage and flow energy through this life. And flowing energy is the purpose. Of all life.
So go get engaged! Find your passion and flow with it.
What do you enjoy? Find ways to incorporate it into your life as soon & as often as possible.
If you do not know what you enjoy, it’s very possible that until now, others have defined your life for you. If this is true for you, I encourage you not to be too hard on yourself, because it is true for MANY people. It’s quite common to let our parents, our spouse, our children, or our career define “who” we are. But when their version of who we ‘should be’ no longer inspires us, or when the outside influence goes away, we may not know what we truly want or where to flow our energy.
Try doing something differently than you normally do it. Do you enjoy that? Do it again! Not so much? Forget about that experiment and try something different.
Enjoy it? Keep it. Do it again. Not so much? Move on to experiment with a new experience.
The important thing is to get that energy flowing. You’ll figure it out as you go. You’ve GOT this.
Here are a few options to engage energy and get it flowing:
Physical activity to move or unstick physical energy. Journal to unstick mental/emotional energy & gain clarity. See a therapist to unstick old emotional energy. Hire a coach to help identify and remove energy blocks. Plan activities with friends or family to engage social energy. Reduce exposure to toxic people to move stuck energy. Be of service to others to engage social and spiritual energies. Take self-maintenance seriously to engage spiritual energy. Meditate or connect with nature to move spiritual energy. Read spiritually uplifting books or blogs. Clean home and office to move energy in your environment.
What’s YOUR favorite way to engage energy or get unstuck? Please share in the comments!