Posted in Meditation, Stress Reduction

How to Make Relaxation a Priority Starting TODAY!

Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.    ~Norman Vincent Peale

Some of us have more anxious tendencies, it’s just a part of our genetic makeup. I’ve lived with anxiety for many years and disorder but over the last few years. I have slowly taught myself to incorporate relaxation and self-care into my daily life. You don’t have to be stuck in stressed-out mode constantly; you too can change your outlook and attitude to truly master the art of relaxation.

For some of us, relaxing is easy, while for others, it has to be learned. My personal experience was definitely that I had to make the conscious decision to let things go and focus on staying calm. The joy of relaxing is that if you do not know how automatically, then you can learn quite easily. It will take some trial and error to determine the right tools and techniques,  but I assure you that it’s a learnable skill.

With TIME and PRACTICE you, too, can incorporate some calm into your daily life.

Once you’ve decided to incorporate relaxation into your life, the next step is to take ACTION! A great way to learn how to relax is to start with a meditation-related activity you enjoy. There are several forms of meditation and any library can get you started.

Next, you can incorporate the TOOLS you need to learn to relax:

  1. Learning

Books, DVDs, and Podcasts are always available to begin your learning journey. A quick Amazon search or visit to your local bookstore can open up an array of possibilities!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska
  1. Doing

If yoga is your top choice for relaxation, then find a colorful yoga mat and DVD, or buy the DVD for your gaming system. Why not go all out and treat yourself a new yoga outfit to be inspired to move even more! 

Photo by Burst
  1. Experiencing

One of the most rewarding tips for learning to relax is to grab a friend and incorporate them into the equation, that way you have a partner that will keep you accountable, encourage you to participate, and that you can share the experience. When you only have yourself to answer to, it is too easy to make excuses. A good friend, however, will not let you get away with that!

Photo by Cottonbro
  1. Time

Schedule your relaxation session and let everyone know that you are not to be disturbed. If your family wants a happy you, then they need to respect that space. If staying home and trying to relax proves pointless, join a yoga class or meditation group. You can also meditate while walking or find a local park to sit under a tree, or sway back and forth on a swing.

It’s important to create a TIME, SPACE, and PLACE for your relaxation activities. This action of making a plan will speak volumes to you, as it will allow you to commit to the art and act of relaxation.

Learning to relax is something that is very doable if you just put in a little time and effort.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Holidays, Stress Reduction

How to Say No at Christmas

The oldest, shortest words – “yes” and “no” are those that require the most thought. – Phythagoras

From the toy aisle to the dinner table, the holiday season is full of “no’s.” It’s important to be able to say no when it comes to things that you can’t do, do have time for or even don’t want to d at all. Unfortunately, expectations run high during the holiday season which makes saying no to friends, family, or even complete strangers very challenging. After all, everyone knows that Christmas is all about giving and thinking of others before ourselves. Don’t be afraid of coming across like a Grinch because its important to take care of your mental and physical health too. I’ve put together some tips to help you say no – even at Christmas time.

Stay Positive

Even if you need to say no, you can still state your case in a positive way. If someone is asking you to organize a holiday party, bake or to set up decorations, try to highlight the benefits of doing things a different way rather than the negative aspects of their plan. You could suggest a girls day to tackle the tasks together. Like John Heywood said “many hands make light work.” You can also propose getting the kids involved in baking, decorating and meal prep.

Be Confident

People can often tell when you’re feeling unsure of yourself and this can make them less willing to take no for an answer. If you want people to take you seriously, it’s important that you project confidence and speak assertively. When you need to tell someone no, say it with clearly without wavering so they can see that you’re serious. This doesn’t mean that you need to be aggressive or rude. Just be firm and concise, and stand up for yourself.

Find a Better Solution

If you’re telling someone no about something but you don’t have an alternative to suggest, the person you’re talking to isn’t likely to come up with a new plan. Instead, they will probably try to find a way to make their initial suggestion seem more logical to you. While a compromise may be better in some situations, you’ll still end up doing something that you didn’t want to. Instead, try to come up with an alternative plan for the person to consider. They just may go along with it, and that way you can avoid their request without actually saying no.

Avoid an Argument

Any disagreement can turn into an argument at any moment, especially during the stress-filled holiday season. With tensions running so high, even the smallest issue can turn into a Christmas confrontation. If saying no causes an argument, ask if you can discuss the subject once things have calmed down. Arguing isn’t likely to lead to an agreeable solution, and can also cause feelings to be hurt unintetionally.

Stick to Your Guns

Stick to your guns, no matter how hard someone tries to sway your decision. Remember that you don’t need to feel guilty about saying no. There’s no reason to be upset about it either. The majority of the time, it really is in everyone’s best interest. Simply explain that you’re not saying “no” to be mean or difficult. Reiterate the reason or reasons why you’re saying no, as gently as you can.

Yes, believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to say “no” at Christmas. Armed with all of the tips listed above, the task is probably easier than you think.

Inhale. Exhale

Violet Buddha

Posted in Meditation, Stress Reduction, Yoga

Can Yoga Help you Sleep?

“Sleep is the best meditation.“

Dalai Lama
Take action to create a sleep routine!

Many people believe that yoga is all about experiencing alignment of mind, body, and soul. The majority of yoga teachers would agree that apart from providing relaxation and serenity.  Yoga is about the limitless ability of a person to control and unite with their inner self. With this in mind, more and more people with high-stress levels, mental health challenges, and insomnia are turning to yoga in order to alleviate some if not all of their symptoms.  Most yogis believe that in one way or another, the ancient discipline makes it possible for the breath, the mind, and the senses to merge in creating balance.

The Yoga/Sleep Connection

More and more people are practicing yoga so that they can get better sleep. Other reasons why many people practice yoga is because they can explore the limitless possibilities of yoga types to find the right. They can also explore yoga into its depths as a meditative practice, as a spiritual discipline or use its philosophies as an exercise to be fit and healthy.

Yogis agree that the potential benefits of yoga may include the increase of strength and flexibility, creation of balance as well as the improvement of breathing and overall posture. On the spiritual aspect, yoga can serve as an exercise that can help you soothe your nerves, calm your mind while increasing your focal and concentration skills.

Before starting your yoga practice, please schedule an appointment with your Doctor. A check-up is important for you to discuss with your physician the advantages and disadvantages of yoga in your overall health and well being.

If you are aiming to get better sleep through your yoga practice, please make sure they listen to your needs, discuss your physical and emotional limitations, and guide you to the best type of yoga for you to practice. Ensure that you begin with the basic yoga poses then slowly advance to the more challenging positions. Now go get some gear: clothes, a colorful mat, foam blocks, and a yoga pillow so you can catch some much needed ZZZ’s!

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Self Care, Stress Reduction

8 Self Care Tips for Dealing with Everyday Stress

I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out, that’s when I’ve really learned. – Carol Burnett

Stress invades our lives all the time, even on a daily basis for most people. Life gets hard and it can be challenging to juggle all the things that the universe seems to be throwing our way. It’s important that we get our stress levels under control because constant high levels of stress are actually toxic to our body and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Stress also has a negative effect on our mental health and can appear as memory problems, confusion, brain fog or as an inability to concentrate.

Thankfully, it’s easier than you think to implement some strategies to help yourself decrease rising stress levels. 

Just follow these simple steps:

Reduce Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and do not decrease your levels of stress; they actually increase them. Alcohol is a depressant when consumed in large amounts and a stimulant in small amounts, making it bad for you to take as an option to relieve stress. Instead of reaching towards alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, grab some water or herbal tea. These are hydrating and will provide you with stress relief.

Physical Activity is your Friend

Try taking part in physical activity every day – a simple walk around the block on your lunch hour or 30 minutes at the gym will release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Releasing these hormones throughout the day can help your stress levels to go down.

Get your ZZZ’s

Get more sleep to allow your body and mind to recharge. Lack of sleep has a direct correlation to high-stress levels. However, stress sometimes prevents us from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Below are my go to activities to set myself up for sleep – pick one or two to try 30 minutes before your target bedtime.

  • Take a warm bath with Epsom salts, bubbles or essentials oils
  • Read a magazine or chapter of your favorite book
  • Go to bed at roughly the same time every night
  • Sound Bath with Tibetan bowls
  • Guided sleep meditations

Find Time to Relax

Try relaxation techniques. Every day, try a different stress-reducing technique. You can try self-hypnosis as this is very simple and easy to do anywhere. You could also attempt saying one word repeatedly to yourself that holds meaning for you. Don’t worry if these relaxation tips don’t work right off the bat. Relaxation is a skill that takes time to master.

Reach out to your Tribe

Talk to someone you trust and who can help. Letting someone know how you feel is a great way to reduce your stress. Many people have said that it’s like a weight being lifted off their shoulders. Stress can cloud our minds and prevent us from thinking clearly. Talking through your situation with someone can help you figure out a solution to what you’re stressing about.

Keep a Journal or Diary

Keeping a diary and writing down your thoughts and emotions will help you become more aware of what you’re feeling. Write down the date and place the stressful event occurred. Also include what you were doing and how you felt, both emotionally and physically. Writing everything down will enable you to avoid another stressful situation and you’ll discover some new coping mechanisms.

Time Management is Key

Manage your time. Many people experience stress when they run out of time to do important things. With a schedule to follow you can ensure that you get all of your important tasks done in a timely manner. Having all your work done on time will help to decrease some stress.

Two-Letter Word – No!

Learn to say “No”. It’s easy to believe that you have all the time in the world and can juggle one more thing in your life. But sometimes you need to remember that you have so many other important things that need to be juggled. There’s only a certain amount of hours in a day, making it hard to get multiple things done.

Take care of yourself. Stress invades everyone’s lives but dealing with stress is manageable. Know that everything will get better and the thing that’s causing you so much stress won’t be a worry to you down the road.

Share what works for you below…

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety, Stress Reduction

3 Ways to Quiet Your Mind

A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear – Yvan Byejee

Find time to quiet your mind.

Nowadays, we are so overscheduled and our days are so packed full of activities that we barely have enough time to sleep. Consider yourself the exception and not the norm, if you have accomplished a sense of balance in this hectic society that we all share. For many reasons, we overextend, overachieve and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. Taking on too much can not only hurt our body but also stresses the mind. 

I realized my mind was hurting in the Fall of 2018.  It started slowly, headaches and insomnia crept into my life, I had aches and pains in my neck and shoulders and I was super jumpy.  I would overreact to regular everyday noises – the phone ringing, a door squeaking, even someone clapping their hands or laughing – would send me into a fight or flight response. I was overtired, unable to focus and my memory was failing.  For several weeks I made excuses for what was happening, I thought that if I could just get a good night’s sleep or make it to the weekend, my symptoms would disappear. It didn’t happen of course and what started out as seasonal depression evolved into a serious anxiety disorder that I could no longer deny.

I’m sharing these simple changes that can really have a positive impact on your mind and reducing the stress you encounter on a daily basis.

Its up to you!

Practicing Gratitude

It’s so easy to get frustrated when things don’t go your way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock the keys in the car, and forget our lunch on the kitchen counter, a spiral of negativity results in a downward tailspin. However, we have the choice to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate the rest of our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives that have gone as planned.

Have you ever noticed that when something great happens, we tend to smile briefly and then move onto the next moment like nothing happened?  However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen how bad things are. It’s in those exact moments of unhappiness that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and it is then and only then that we will pull ourselves out of the negative zone. 

Staying focused on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of what’s happening around you. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, enables your mind the break it needs from stressors to stay active and healthy.

Nothing is a Choice

Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a known fact. We all have created our schedules to overflow and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves to rest, recharge and reflect on the day. Take a good look at your day or week so you can see what you can remove and what you can delegate to someone else. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just like you care for your body. You need your mond, body and spirit to align in order to live your best life.

The best tip I can give you for quieting your mind is prioritize self care in schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do during the week. Make time for family and friends, a visit to the spa for a mani/pedi or massage and partake in activities you enjoy.  Take some deep breaths, find a calm place to meditate and be thankful for the blessings that occur all around you throughout the day.

Taking One Minute

Being in the moment has become a cliché; but if you really take the time and trouble to learn what that truly means for you, then you will learn how to quiet your mind in no time at all. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. 

In this way, you are focused on the moment at hand and not two days from now when something big might be happening. These are just three helpful tips for quieting your mind.

A great app to get you started is called One Moment Meditation.  You can download it from the Apple or Google Play

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha