Surviving the “silly season”

With the end of the year almost here – can you believe it?! – it is so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of everything and forget to look after ourselves – and this is usually on top of a very hectic past twelve months.
Because we are (mostly) always on the go – and, therefore, in a heightened state (cue the fight or flight stress response), we “shallow breathe”. Shallow breathing doesn’t allow for the full expansion and contraction of the lungs, and so we limit the amount of oxygen that can get in to nourish our bodies (most importantly, the brain), and, consequently, we don’t remove as much carbon dioxide, our metabolism’s waste product. At this very fundamental level, we cannot operate effectively or efficiently because we are starving our cells of their most precious resource and, at the same time, allowing them to swim in a waste product; we are not in homeostasis.
For those of you retreating with me, we will dive in to this more deeply next year, but in the meantime, one of the easiest ways to take the pressure off, for a few minutes every day, is a very gentle breathing meditation where you simply place your right hand on your belly and “belly breathe” – meaning, when you inhale through your nose, push your belly out as far as is comfortable, then when you exhale all the way out through your nose, release the belly all the way back in.
Do this for one minute as soon as you wake up each morning, and, if you think of it, repeat as many times as you can during the day; set a reminder on your desktop or phone if necessary. Find a spot you can sit quietly in, or go for a walk and find a view…Your brain will love you for it!

Remember – you can only give the best version of you to others when you give to yourself first – that is, you take time out to nurture you. Slow, deep belly breathing is the way to go!

2 thoughts on “Surviving the “silly season”

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