WHERE TO START
Believe me I KNOW this is not as easy as it sounds on paper and takes a lot of courage, grace and gentleness with yourself.
I have written many IG posts on not being able to be in the moment because the moment of grief was too overwhelming and I felt like I was going to drown. That’s why I started smoking in my 30’s because the moments of grief during my process of divorce were too overwhelming and I needed to numb the pain.
Sometimes it takes intervention, from friends or medication or professional help, but know it IS POSSIBLE to be alone with yourself laying naked on the grass and looking up at the sky and being completely at peace.
But ironically it takes a lot of practice at being patient, practice at giving yourself grace, and practice to come home to yourself. It has taken me over a decade of training + practicing a multi-therapeutic approach to implementing different layers of tools in different seasons.
But giving another anecdotal experience, I had gained so many tools with riding the waves of grief and pain that during my panic attacks after my mom died I was able to use my breath in sync to my brother's heart beat to calm me down instead of cigarettes…(which might seem crazy thinking of smoking when both my parents died of cancer…but it was a tool for me to get through my initial anxiety attacks during my divorce).
With each new experience in life I gain tools, strength and peace with the uncertainty, practicing controlling what I can control and truly letting the rest be.
Starting with these free tools….
No matter what season you’re in, your health journey should always start at the beginning, with mindset, movement, and connection with humans and nature.
Creating forward momentum on your health journey doesn’t need to be overwhelming. It’s about creating harmony and bringing yourself back to nature and back to your true self.
With personal connection…
With finding joy…
With self care…
You don’t need the latest health gadget to experience an improvement in your mental and physical health.
Before you invest in anything, start with these FREE tools.
These tools are foundational and foster a connection with yourself, nature and with others.
We all start in different places.
When Arlynd and I are at our darkest, we start in different places…
I start with movement..
Arlynd starts with mindset…
No matter where you start, the key is to just START.
Start with movement…
• Walking - Go for a walk, preferably barefoot so you can soak up the free electrons but even in shoes, breathe in the fresh air, fill your body with oxygen, close your eyes for a moment and face the sun. Walking outdoors enhances mood and gives you an instant boost in energy.
• Stretching - Calm the nervous system with gentle movement if you are in a stressful season. Do not engage in high intensity exercise if it doesn’t feel good to your body. Start to become mindful of what relaxes you and what stresses your system.
• Exercise - Running is my preferred choice for movement in this season; do any exercise that you enjoy to keep your energy levels high and release physical and emotional stress.
• Hiking - Hiking is a wonderful way to enjoy nature and strengthen your body and mind. There is also normally the reward of a beautiful view once you reach the top.
Start by connecting with Nature…
• Go outside - you don’t need to do anything, just walk outside right now and take some deep calming breaths.
• Grounding - Placing your feet (or entire body) on the ground can shift your nervous system to the parasympathetic state, reduce stress and even improve your sleep. Use the Earth’s electric charge to bring your body back into balance.
• Sunlight - Exposing your face and body to unfiltered sunlight can elevate your mood, counteract inflammation and allow for vitamin D absorption. Morning sunlight can reset the body’s circadian rhythm and provide a feeling of calm for the remainder of the day.
• Open windows - Let the fresh air in! Opening your windows lets in the beautiful sounds and smells of nature. Natural ventilation is free and can vastly improve the air quality in your house.
• Clean up your flower beds and garden - Tending to the landscaping you have and clipping dead branches gives way to new life and promotes healthy growth. Take pride in the land that surrounds your home.
Start by connecting with others…
• Community - Share experiences with other like-minded individuals and make a point of getting together often.
• Laughter - Laughing relieves stress, increases positivity and fosters that connection with another person or group of people.
• Personal touch - Hugging friends and/or kissing your partner can relieve anxiety and increase oxytocin production (the “love” hormone).
• Skin to skin contact - This is another oxytocin-producing tool that isn’t only beneficial to infants. Skin to skin contact as an adult exponentially increases the bond between partners.
• Talk to a friend - Call a friend while you are on a walk or a drive. Make an extra effort to reach out to those in your life that you may not talk to regularly.
• Make eye contact - Connect with others by meeting their gaze and smiling while on a walk or running errands.
Start by minimizing and simplifying…
• Build self awareness - This can be an uncomfortable process, but one that will allow you to evolve beyond measure. Consider your thoughts, actions, and reactions in certain instances and how you can improve upon them over time.
• What brings you stress?
• Make a list, What brings you joy?
• Make a list, What gives you energy?
• Make a list, Now do more of the last 2, and less of the first 1.
• Declutter - This can be as simple as cleaning out a space in your home– or can include clearing your calendar when you feel over-scheduled.
• Minimalizing - Reduce the ‘things” in your life to a minimum. Focus on what is meaningful and necessary in this season.
• Set boundaries - Be mindful of the news you consume, communicate your needs to others and carefully choose the people that surround you. If necessary, distance yourself from a friend/loved one who brings unnecessary negativity into your life often.
Start with self care...
• Hydration - Infusing your body with clean water throughout the day reduces stress and allows your body to flush out any elements that your body may be holding on to.
• Stillness - Taking a moment of stillness during your day can allow various emotions to surface. Feel them, work through them, then let them go.
• Meditation - Meditation is essential in our busy world and can increase patience, improve memory and foster creativity within the mind.
• Breathwork - There are many free trials on breathwork apps and videos online to guide you through this practice. Breathwork has the ability to calm the mind, release trauma and increase alertness.
• Self pleasure - Pleasuring one’s self can reduce sexual tension as well as release endorphins for stress reduction. It also increases self esteem and promotes a healthy body image.
• Hot baths - A hot bath is a relaxing way to unwind at the end of the day as you reflect on the day’s events and prepare your body for sleep. Add some epsom salt to improve relaxation and encourage detox.
Start with mindset...
• Train your brain - Engage in activities that sharpen the mind, such as learning a new skill. Training your mind can also include manifesting positive events for your future and watching them come to fruition.
• Cold therapy - Cold plunges in a body of water and ice baths not only provide physical benefits, but can also enable your mind and body to withstand discomfort, adapt to stressful situations and improve mental resilience.
• Prioritizing peace - Focus on the current moment, stay true to your values.
• Positive affirmations - Positive self-talk raises your self-esteem and increases your productivity because it controls negativity that may be trying to rise to the surface.
• Prayer - Connecting to something bigger than yourself, and believing that all things are possible if you have faith that this is true will carry you far in your healing journey.
• Brain dump journaling - Perform a brain dump each every day, getting out any concerns and feelings you have at that moment.
• Gratitude journaling - Finish each day with gratitude. Right before going to sleep, write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Try to make them different everyday!
Start with release...
• Crying controllably - Crying is such a phenomenal release for the body. It releases endorphins that are helpful for physical and emotional pain, and can be a great self-soothing mechanism for us all in times of stress. You also release stress hormones in your tears.
• Kickboxing - Kickboxing is a way to channel aggression in a healthy way. Release any anger and frustration during a session of punching the bag- and empowering yourself in the process.
• Screaming controllably - Screaming out loud into an open space (or into a pillow if you’re feeling timid) can release feelings of tension and relieve that notion of not being able to speak your truth. Let it all out :)
Start by cultivating joy...
• Create a list of the things in life that bring you joy - What REALLY makes you happy?! Write it down, and do it as much as possible. Write down each and every thing, big or small, so that you have a long list to choose from at any given time.
• Listen to music - This is up there on the list of activities to raise your vibration. Listen to your favorite type of music, whether it is rock or pop music to pump you up, or frequency sounds to relax your mind.
Start by giving back...
• Volunteering - Volunteering for an organization, especially one dear to your heart, is a wonderful way to have a sense of purpose, meet new people and enjoy a sense of community in a high-vibe setting.
• Donating goods - Purge your closet, or pare back your belongings. Someone who is not as fortunate may feel so very blessed to receive items that no longer serve you.
Start by disconnecting...
• Turn off your phone (or place it in airplane mode) - Our phones are one of our biggest distractions these days. Disconnect from the outside world so you can be more present with those who matter most. :)
• Disconnecting wifi - Unplugging your wireless router at night has many benefits. Giving your body a break from EMF exposure (after being exposed all day while out and about or in your home with the router on) can improve sleep quality. Additional benefits are reducing stress and feeling more energized during the day.
• Less artificial light - Turning off your devices 2 hours before bed eliminates your exposure to blue light, reducing eye strain and fosters more meaningful conversation with family members and friends.
Start with mindful activities...
• Gratitude journaling - There is now increasing amounts of research confirming that practicing gratitude can lower stress and anxiety and bring greater joy into our daily lives. Thoughts of gratitude help us to be more resilient, make us feel happier and improve our relationships.
• Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness can be an enjoyable part of your daily routine and can be practiced by coming back to your breath and not thinking about anything pressing on your to do list. Just listen and be open to receiving whatever enters your mind in the present moment.
• Wake earlier than usual - Waking up before everyone else in your house provides you with time to yourself that you may not have otherwise (mamas I am thinking of you in this busy season of life). Not only do you feel more energized during the day because you are more prepared for what the day brings, waking earlier also improves sleep quality.
• Meditation - One of the most powerful tools you can add to your toolkit. If you’re new to the practice, start slow, and build up. Use one of the countless free apps out there to guide you through it.
Start with family time and playing...
• Coloring - Coloring is a relaxing activity that can induce a feeling of calm and improve motor skills, all while giving you the satisfying result of a colorful image to look at afterwards. Coloring can be a time to turn inward and think as you scribble, or can be enjoyed as a family.
• Puzzling - Completing a puzzle can pose its challenges and also instill a sense of pride once you have persevered to figure out where each piece fits. It’s also a very relaxing exercise.
• Build a fort - Relive the excitement of being a child and creating a secret refuge indoors or outside. Do this with your children, or even enjoy a peaceful moment to yourself in a sacred space.
• Board games - Playing games as a group is a fun way to connect, laugh and even sharpen language skills and improve focus. Games challenge the adults and keep little minds engaged at the same time. Games can also teach goal setting, patience, and learning that we may not always win.
• Singing - Singing is such a fun and playful way to relieve stress, and can even improve your posture and boost confidence. Sing at the top of your lungs to your favorite song with the windows down, and notice how much more alive you feel afterwards.
Which of these tools can you work into your daily routine?
Don’t just think about it. Take action.
Get up from where you’re sitting right now, and walk outside. Feel the sun and fresh air on your skin. Take a deep breath, and reflect on the list you just read.
You just learned 51 FREE ways to get started on your health journey. Start implementing these healing tools and keeping yourself accountable. Then come back and take the next step on your healing journey.
We’ll be here!