FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

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Rhythm and Flow

What one thing can you do to create or get back into your natural rhythm or flow?

This is a self care question I ask a client when they are feeling overwhelmed.  The “What” they need to do is sometimes clear, but they are feeling like things are too out of control for them to be able to engage in normal or routine activities, leaving less time for self care. In other words, the “What” and “How” are interfering with the “Who.”

Overwhelm often happens when we are out of our normal rhythmic flow. This can happen when we have too much on our plate, when caregiving begins or ends, or when we get sick. So we find ourselves needing two extra days that we lost somehow and feel like all is falling apart.

Or maybe you’ve felt as though you haven’t had a flow and process for awhile now. New moms sometimes feel this way for 15 years. J

Self care often changes in the summer because days are longer or children are out of school. Work responsibilities may shift because colleagues are taking vacations or relocating.

The first thing to do is to take some time to think about what might be missing and what might fill that gap.

  • What are you longing for right now?
  • What do you know you need right now?
  • What can you live with and what can you live without?
  • What kind of flow or routine do you want to create?

Next, think about things you might have done in the past that made you feel grounded or centered. How did you recover from a setback or shift in routine before? Maybe routine is too strict for you, but a type of work or life flow might help you feel more like yourself.

A recent conversation with a client revealed that she knows instinctively that what she needs is to be creative. In the past, she would take time to paint or draw once a week, but she had stopped when she began taking care of her father. Another friend revealed that she missed her regular bike rides that ceased when she had an ankle injury.

My client may not be able to immediately start painting again, but with a few questions, she realized she may be able to watch painting videos on her tablet while caring for dad. Or she can buy an adult coloring book and start there while waiting for him to come out of the doctor’s office.

My friend may not be able to ride a bike for a bit longer, but she can possibly stretch or do short chair yoga routines to keep her endorphins flowing and stay more connected to a moderately active lifestyle.

Our personal rhythms and flow are often affected by a change in seasons as well. When summer comes, days are longer and we might feel like we get more done. In winter, we may sleep more and feel less productive in general. But the start of a season can often throw us off for a bit until we adjust.

Only you know your seasonal and daily rhythms.

  • Do you stay up late and sleep in? Or are you an early riser who tackles projects first thing?
  • What is your morning, after school, after work, or evening flow and how does it serve you?
  • Do you want to do something more? How could this fit into your rhythm or routine?
  • What do you need to stay calm and implement more self care when routine is disrupted?

I challenge you starting now to check in with yourself now and then to consider your natural rhythms and routines, especially thinking about what your self care needs are in the moment. These check-ins will help you create and continually modify your self care. And we’ll talk soon in another post about how to cope when challenges or crises come up and you need to shift your self care plan completely.

Knowing yourself – your “Who” and what works for you is critical in developing and maintaining strong self care habits. Being flexible when rhythms and routines change is paramount as well.

Find your true self in your rhythm and flow.

 

I’m not going to write a whole lot about this video, because I want you to just take it in. I could explain how this relates to self care, but I think by now, you get it and there’s no need.

This is by far one of the most powerful self care tools I have used and shared with my clients and friends.  It’s also one of my favorite Ted Talks, because Amy not only shares the research, but she shares her own vulnerability in a profound way.

This summer’s blockbuster movie proved that Wonder Woman still has a wide appeal. She represents strength, survival and a desire to find the truths necessary to save mankind.

What if Wonder Woman could fight off the bad mojo that creeps into your life?

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to be going your way? It just seems like one thing after another piles on and makes you feel like whatever you do will turn to disaster.

These days, there are a lot of troubling things happening all over the world. It used to be that we got news from a couple of nightly news shows, magazines or the newspaper. But now, we see news throughout various social media platforms and apps, which also provide notifications of breaking stories throughout the day.

This constant exposure to real time, shocking or upsetting information can lead to feelings of anger, frustration or fear. And these emotions can cause anxiety and increase our levels of stress.

Yet in times of stress, many of us crave connection with others. After all, it is this connection that helps us to feel loved and cared for, right?

As adults, we get caught up in work and summer home repairs and chaperoning our children or grandchildren to camp or play dates. We may go on a vacation, but a lot goes into preparing to leave and acclimating back to work and routine when we return. Summer often loses the spontaneity of play we experience as children. 

How often do we say we’re sorry for things we’ve done that don’t require a sorry response? Has guilt become an automatic state of feeling for us?

We often say “Sorry” automatically without even thinking about it. “I’m sorry you’re sick.” “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job.” Neither of these things can be controlled by us, yet we often hear or give a ‘sorry pattern’ response.

Gratitude can change your life.

No kidding. A daily practice of writing down even three things you are grateful for will significantly change your life in many ways. In fact, research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel less anxiety, respond to stress more calmly, sleep better, are more compassionate and even have stronger immune systems. 

On day one, I shared my belief that when we’re in crisis or depleted of energy from our “busyness”, we tend to be reactive rather than responsive. When we create personal energetic reserves, they help us feel as though we are connected to a place of balance and control. And creating personal energetic reserves is the best way to practice self care. 

Your daily habits can be whatever you want them to be and you don’t absolutely have to do each one every day. In fact, at first, it may be hard to fit them all in. And these habits don’t have to be time consuming.

Here’s a gift of self care you can give yourself every week, month or for a few hours whenever you need it most. A Tech Free Day can be one of the slowest and most peaceful days you’ve spent in a long while.

Reading all day makes the day go by very slowly. And, even if you are an avid reader, when was the last time you read a book outside? We get busy and forget that joy of reading a good book or magazine by the lake, in the backyard under a tree, in a rocking chair on the front porch or….you get the hint.