What to do when sh*t hits the fan
If you follow me on social media, you'll see I just posted about injuring my back. I won't go into full details about the 'how' right now (it wasn't yoga related) but I will shed a light on how I've been coping.
You know all those mindfulness exercises, self-care tips I share and try to practice on a daily basis? Well that's when they REALLY COUNT.
It's when shit hits the fan that these practices matter THE MOST.
It's how we deal and how we approach these curveballs life throws at us. Because we certainly can't change the circumstances when something doesn't go our way. We'll frustrated and powerless, naturally. But it's our attitude and our approach that makes a huge difference. Now, I'm not saying these tips will suddenly solve everything and make it all better but they are a good start hopefully! 💖
1) Let it out
“There's no lemon so sour that you can't make something resembling lemonade.” — This is Us
I felt the pops in my lower back and then excruciating pain trickling through. I was on the floor terrified, frustrated, annoyed...I was having such a great day and looking forward to the weekend! But isn't life funny this way, it's never dull. Full of challenges and surprises.
And I realize my thought pattern was automatically going into all the things I could've/should've done to prevent this from happening. And we tend to do that, either it's getting sick, saying the wrong thing, getting hurt, missing an appointment, not getting that promotion...etc.
Look, venting is important.
But there's a difference between complaining and venting. When you're complaining, you're the victim and you put yourself in a helpless position. Although you may feel this way you are not.
When you're venting, you're processing, letting that energy out so you can move on.
So get your frustration and pain out. Don't push them down. Talk to someone you trust or a professional, write it down...whatever you're comfortable with, you need to release that energy. Feel all the emotions, when you're ready. So you can properly process your grievances. Otherwise it just gets locked inside of you, slowly anchoring you down and eventually it will burst. It always does
2) Be proactive and not reactive
"Nothing will work unless you do."—Maya Angelou
Focusing on why it happened doesn't change the fact that it happened.
So instead of being reactive, trying to blame anyone or even myself, I switched into care mode. What can I do right now that will help the healing process?
So that's what I'm doing. I made a couple of calls, talked to specialists I trusted and for now I can only rest. Sit back and give my body space and time to heal. Icing it here and there and trusting my body to do the right thing. In the midst of feeling powerless, I was trying to do as much as possible to speed the recovery up but the only thing I can do right, under these circumstances is to rest.
And boy is it hard. I guess that's the part of letting go. In trusting my body, trusting things will be ok (whatever the outcome)
3) Move with ease, be at ease
"How you practice is how you are" — Strala Yoga
It's not just about doing yoga with ease, it's also living with ease. I could let the anxiety and worry consume me and tense up my entire body. But that won't help with the healing AT ALL.
Our bodies need to be relaxed to heal.
When we are stressed out, our body is in fight or flight mode.
Our stress hormone 'cortisol' starts building up. Look, that's great when we're trying to run away from a lion. That boost of energy is what we need to survive, but sometimes our bodies can't differentiate between the stress of a work deadline vs. running away from a predator. So what happens when there's too much cortisol in your body? Here's an excerpt from the hearty soul:
- Redirects circulation to muscles and the heart (run, Forest, run), and away from digestive and detoxification organs
- Proteolysis, or breakdown of muscle (burning muscle for energy)
- Counteracts insulin, causing insulin dysregulation and increased abdominal fat storage (storing energy to run from the next lion)
- Suppresses the immune system (who cares about bacteria when a lion is chasing you?)
- Reduces bone and collagen formation (developing osteoporosis and looking young isn’t as important as getting away!)
- Damages brain cells responsible for learning and retrieval of memories (although short term emotional memories are enhanced to remind you to avoid the lion pit in the future)
- Prevents deep, restful sleep
Terrifying right? That's why when we're constantly in a state of stress our bodies can't heal.
This is where being at ease is SUPER important.
Being at ease is a state of mind, a state of being. Where you're no longer pushing but flowing
It's certainly easier said then done. But it's recognizing what we can do in this specific scenario and accepting it (even if it sucks)
Look, I've been bed bound for a couple of days and can barely move without excruciating pain. But I do know that I'm getting better, slowly.
I'm surrendering, making the best of this unexpected detour to slow down. Treat myself with kindness and appreciate my body's healing ability.
And this whole slowing down and being easy leads to my next learning:
4) Focus on the present
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Teresa
Oh yes, this one is all about 'carpe diem, seizing the day'. Being grateful and mindful for what you have.
I'm often driven by the 'bigger picture' that I can easily lose myself from the present. Because I keep projecting to my next goals. We often overlook the things that are going well and get easily fixated on the things that aren't. That's why mindfulness practices are so important.
Now more than ever.
Why? Well because in this day and age, the world is filled with distractions and everything is screaming for our attention. It's crucial that in order to hear ourselves (our desires, wants and needs) we stay connected to ourselves
And that connection happens when we learn to tune out the external noises. When we learn to appreciate the little things and BE in the moment.
There are many ways to bring mindfulness to your days. Here are some I've been practicing:
- My desire map journal by Danielle Laporte helps ground me at the beginning of my day and as I end my day.
- Breathing exercises where I can do anywhere at anytime helps me sync into my breath and be here now.
- Putting my phone away was a bit nerve-racking at first (cause FOMO and cellphone addiction) but the more I do it, the more space I make for my mind. That is the goal, to remove the noise and just be with our thoughts whatever they are. To tune in with our body and check in with what it needs, how it's feeling.
- I also wrote on how to successfully unplug here and why I needed a break from my phone on Mind Body Green
This is where self-care begins, from the inside out.
Dear reader, I am so grateful for you and I hope all this helps you to stop pushing and be kinder to yourself. And a little bit more equipped with what to do when life throws you a curveball. It's not about avoiding them (because that's impossible), but learning the best approach to deal and recognize moments of opportunity.