Saturday morning I had plans to attend an outdoor yoga class but overcome with fatigue and feeling blue from a poor night’s sleep, I found myself inert on the couch, sipping tea and reading the paper under my cozy sherpa blanket. After a couple of hours, I thought, “Movement always helps me feel better (move a muscle, change a thought), I’ll just put on one of my pre-recorded dance classes from my teacher Deb Kern and lay here and watch it. That’s good enough.”
It was good enough. And, while there’s nothing wrong with rest and just being, after a few moments I found myself up and gently swaying and then full-out dancing, my mood slowly soaring and my body coming alive.
Years ago when I led Personal Renewal Groups for moms, I invited Dr. Shelley Imholte, a sexual health educator, to attend one of our self-renewal circles to talk to us about sex. I’ll never forget her saying, “You’re moms of young kids. You’ll always be tired. There will never be a perfect time for sex. Just get naked without any pressure to do anything … and see what happens.” We laughed but moms came back the next month, reporting how right on her advice was and how this action-motivation-action mindset impacted their desire for intimacy. (Read more.)
For the past 20 years I’ve been teaching and ardently practicing self-care and for the last 4 months, I’ve been studying and conducting informal research on which self-renewal practices are helping people the most during these trauma-filled times. Based on my observations, this week, I offer up three things to do to help you thrive:
Move your body. Every day. Even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes. Ideally first thing in the morning. The issues are in the tissues. Additionally, movement elevates our mood, shifts our perspective and raises our energy level.
Enter your day intentionally. Start by asking, “How do I want to feel today?” Every a.m. share with a friend or family member one thing you’re looking forward to today. Stay off your phone (the folks that are thriving during the pandemic all share they consciously limit daily news intake) until you’ve done this and if you have the energy, explore some of these mindfulness practices: 5 positive ways to start your day.
Get out in nature. The science behind how being in nature impacts our central nervous system, mood and overall well-being is staggering. Whether it’s lying in your backyard on a blanket on the ground, putting your feet in the nearest cool river or lake or planning weekly hikes for your family to new spots, take advantage of nature, the ultimate anti-depressant. Read more.
I’m a big advocate right now for staying with your familiar self-care practices and teachers (I hope I’m one of those for you). It’s very grounding to see the same teachers/students each week in your yoga classes or online communities. It calms and soothes our bodies, hearts and minds. That said, if you know you need more or new support, here are the things I do each week to help keep me emotionally regulated and thriving. Consider:
- Community = medicine. My good friend Dr. Deb Kern leads a wonderful global community of women called The Shakti Sisterhood. You can join free for a month and take part in her healing sessions, dance classes and more using the coupon at the top of the page. www.DrDebKern.com. I also recommend dance with my wonderful friend/expressive arts therapist Rachel of Dance Your Bliss. She also offers sliding scale fees.
- My dear friend and yoga/Let Your Yoga Dance teacher Jurian Hughes (senior faculty at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health) and the fabulous Jess Goulding (wonderful at introducing her yoga students to new ways of seeing and being) both offer sliding scale fees and weekly pearls of wisdom for making it through these times.
- Another secret? I’m keeping my spirits high by doing lots of singing! There is a global movement called “community singing” which utilizes song as a means of transformation and a way to elevate serotonin and overall well-being. Give it a try! www.SingWorldwide.org (search for events with my favorites Maggie Wheeler, Heather Houston, Josh Blaine and Lisa Littlebird).
- I am continuing my weekly family Support Calls via Zoom every Sunday (so nourishing to gather with my five siblings and support each other) and occasionally I also enjoy support from Adyashanti and Eckart Tolle, two authors/meditation teachers who focus on returning to our innate state of well-being.
Feeling resistant to self-care? “How bad to you want to feel good?” Maybe it’s time to do it differently and know that you deserve to feel good, regardless of how crazy things are around you. The world needs you functioning at your highest and best so you can go out there and do your work. Finally, be easy on yourself, take baby steps and remember: ask for help.
SEEKING SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR TEAM? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Consider hiring me to create a workshop to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, energized and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s an in-person workshop, keynote or via a Zoom session, I’d love to discuss how I can support your organization. Learn more here.
- Could you use a day-away focused on rest and renewal? Three spots open for SABBATH on July 17th (Austin, TX). I’m facilitating a one-day retreat for 10 women in a beautiful hill country setting (social distancing) 7/17. Want to join us? Email info at reneetrudeau dot com with the subject: “YES! Summer self-renewal retreats!” and I’ll reach out to let you know if there is still space. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by balanced living author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art and science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.