Pink flower colleen fletcher

Self care to get you back onto your peaceful path.

First off, let me say that these are my experiences from my personal, and my professional life. I have seen some dark days, in myself and others.  

When my brother and I were about 8 and 10 we had a conversation about how our lives were going to be. He said that I would be the one that would make it in life. He knew that he did not have what it would take to make it in his life. At the time, I knew exactly what he meant. We both knew that I had the internal fortitude of self care, mindfulness and internal wisdom. What I did not know so much, was that he would become so disconnected with life, and himself that he would turn to drugs, both prescription and illegal. He has now been dead for 20 years due to an overdose.

There have always, and will always, be ups and downs of life. This information is intended to get you through those times. To grow through them.   

I do know that there are many people that have actual, severe chemical imbalances and that is not my area of expertise. Those cases aside, I also know that oftentimes someone feeling down, or having a hard time in the ups and downs of life, is labeled as depression. Some folks are just given drugs rather than tools or techniques to help ease their issues. These tools and techniques are not always easy nor pretty, but they are far more effective with more long-lasting results, as I can personally attest.

So this is what I have done, what I have suggested to my lovely clients for the past 26 years, and what I am happily going to share with you! These are the tools that I still use in my personal and professional life.


Gotta do the work first

Use your strong, powerful, overactive brain to do good for your wellbeing. Anxiety and depression are far more centered in the ‘mind’ aspect of wellbeing. So, that’s where we will start, then we will pull in some of the physical and metaphysical ways to help too.


Connect with your thoughts

What do you think about? Really, is your mind always on one subject? Is that subject positive or negative? How do you speak to yourself in your brain? Is it supportive or hurtful? Are your thoughts and reactions generally bright and happy, or are they dark and negative?


Now, I know that to always be happy can be a coverup for some deep negativity that we don’t want to delve into within ourselves. However, do you really want to ALWAYS be negative? Find equilibrium in the highs and lows. Live in mental homeostasis.


Here are a couple ways to shift 

  • Find a word or phrase that you often say - One’s I’ve heard (and thought myself) would be something like “that’s not fair” “that sucks” “I don’t do anything right” “no one cares” 
  • What do you think about during the day - That certain situation where someone lied about you, that person you can’t stand at work, how bad you’re sleeping


Once you have found a recurring phrase, thought or subject - catch yourself! Whenever you think about that situation, or that phrase - jump right into one the actions or affirmations from below. Start to retrain your thoughts.  


Connect with your emotions

Oooh, one of the bigger aspects of self care. And often a difficult one!

  • How do you feel? Like, what emotions come up for you? Is it anger, fear, hurt?
  • Where do you feel those feelings in your body? Maybe it hurts in your stomach, or that tension in your chest?


Try to figure out what it is and where it is. Acknowledge it, sit with it for a moment, then let it go. Ask for help. I am here to guide you if needed.


Connect with your body

Get your body moving. Within your own body’s ranges, do what works best. What pushes you a little bit while remaining uninjured. Here are a few ideas:

  • Walk or run
  • Hike
  • Ride a bike
  • Yoga
  • T’ai Chi
  • Stretch
  • Surf
  • Kayak

If these are too much for you - focus on a physical action you can do. Maybe for you it is a matter of moving one arm, one leg. Doing one yoga pose. Whether you can walk on two solid legs or roll in your chair, it is the movement of the body that makes a deeper connection in your own physicality. Feel, deep within your physical body. Notice your muscles, touch your skin. Nudge the envelope of your physical expression. Maybe by being more in touch with your body, you will more easily note where you hold emotions deep within.


Connect with your mind

Find what gives you joy - not just momentary happiness (OMG I’m so happy!!!), but that deep-down, soul-fulfilling joy. Here are a few ideas to explore: 

  • Exercise can really focus your mind and help with serotonin/dopamine...all those hormones that contribute to your mental state.
  • Photography is a wonderful way to engage your mind while connecting with your surroundings.
  • Take a course on writing.
  • Take a course on anything that interests you really.


Connect with your spirit

And perhaps the most important one...your spirit! Your essence. Your soul. Some ideas on how to do this:

  • You got it...MEDITATION!
  • If you enjoy church, then now is a good time to head on back.
  • Be like John Muir. Find solitude with nature. “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” 
  • Take 3-5 breaths deep into your belly and low back. This will continue to ease your body while fully engaging and reflecting.
  • Take a bath. Water purifies. And try adding some Stress Reduction Oil for more soothing. 
  • Smile. Even if you don’t want to in that moment, just do it. 
  • Do you have a muse? This would be a time to connect with yours.


And now...TRUST

You have connected deeply to all aspects of yourself. You have identified thought patterns and will continue to change them into positive aspects in your life. You have found something uplifting and fulfilling to do. And if nothing else, you have made yourself a priority and continue to improve. Practice those. And trust, using the ideas and affirmations listed below.

  • Plant mental seeds of promoting self trust (like using the affirmations below).
  • Trust in seeing the changes coming from your new mindset.
  • Trust in the harvest of the seeds you have planted for yourself.
  • Know that the thoughts you have now are the seeds for your tomorrow.
  • Make your plans for change actionable.
  • Write down a short list of goals so they are easier to obtain.

"I am trusting of myself. I trust that the thoughts I plant now are in my best interest. I continue to move forward in my life with trust and love."

 "I am safe."

"I trust in myself and the gentle embrace of the unknown."

"I face my fears with love and confidence."

"I wrap my arms around the unknown, knowing I am guided by love."


I love this quote by Lao Tzu:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.”


And, keep this in mind. Worry and anxiety are the arrogant assumptions that you know more today than you will tomorrow.


Live in this moment. Plan for the future. Then allow your self created life to naturally arrive, today and every day. Know that you are loved and you are doing better than you think!


Here is a video to enjoy as well. Filled with a meditation and tangible affirmations to bring about change into reduced stress.



Much love,

TTFN

Colleen



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