Sometimes, (okay a lot of the time) life is overwhelming, it leaves us feeling stressed out, burnt out and frankly, in need of an escape. More often than not, it’s not always possible or practical to just hop on a plane (she says, finding herself in Sydney after just spending the best part of 30 hours on a plane).
Sure, Frou. Sure.
So what can we do when life gets a little ‘too’ much and it leaves us feeling like we need to get away or even, run away?
Here are my top 5 tips to help you to go on a mental mindful retreat, that you can take wherever you are, and as often as you like or need. These points are designed to help bring you back into the moment, to help you feel less stressed AF and generally go from boiling point, I’m going to throw a chair at someone to hey this isn’t so bad after all.
1. That old thing called breathing - she’s a bit of a beauty. Maybe you’ve tried it? Try taking a few slow, deep breaths just to calm yourself and quite literally, catch your breath. If you can focus on the rhythm of your breathing, then even better. Everything starts with our breathing.
2. You’ve heard of that expression, “her tummy was in knots,” right? When we’re stressed out, we send our bodies into that fight or flight response, and chances are, you’re not currently running away from a dinosaur who wants to make a tasty meal out of you, so it’s important to let your mind and your body know that the stress you’re feeling from that unpleasant meeting, being stuck on the tube or the rude customer service you just received, is not actually a life or death situation. You can do this by simply slowing down your breath and mentally telling yourself everything is okay. That you’re safe. Giving yourself permission to relax. It’s often the simple things that are the most effective.
As you’re taking your deep breaths, try to imagine that you are breathing into your tummy (or solar plexus as the spiritually inclined might say), physically holding a hand, or both hands, if it feels comfortable to do so, to your tummy, can assist with the visualisations - this exercise in itself is really soothing and calming.
3. If time and space allows - probably not going to be possible if you’re at your desk, but serious hats off to you (and I want photos) if you do - create a little sacred environment for yourself. Fill this space with things that make you smile and light you up. Almost like a little altar, made up of all of the wonderful things of you.
Things like, photos of your favourite people and pets, lighting candles, flowers, playing music in the background, why not sing into your hairbrush, you could even go all out ‘woo-woo’ and throw in some crystals and oracle cards if that’s your jam, heck, you could even get the sage burning! I like to throw a cup of tea into the mix, (I’m talking a good old fashioned English breakfast with a more to milky pantone. None of this green tea imported from the hidden jungles of a once lost city).
The idea here is ignite all your senses. Bring your mind and body to a state of calm. Creating an environment that makes you feel good is so important as it really helps to relax you, bring you back to an equilibrium, to shake off the stress, regroup and be ready to go again in this big old world of ours.
4. I use this exercise a lot to ensure my energy doesn’t leak too much or leave me feeling depleted (as a natural born people pleaser, not giving away all my energy is something I’m still learning and navigating).
Wherever you find yourself, imagine yourself cocooned and protected in a bubble (you can choose whatever colour you like for your bubble - I’m generous like that). Colours like orange, peach, yellow and gold are all warming colours that make you feel safe and protected. Blue is quite a cold colour so I’d suggest staying away from that in this instance, and also red, which could be considered a danger signal to your mind and body.
When you feel those familiar feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, stress and wanting to run away; imagine yourself in the bubble that you created for yourself. Your bubble keeps you safe, relaxed and protected from the negative energies of other people, situations and factors beyond your control.
5. And hey, if all else fails, a glass of wine in the bath, bubbles and some chocolate whilst mentally blocking out the rest of the world or even a mental FU, for 5 minutes should do the trick! ;)
Would love to hear what you get up to on your mental retreat or retreats. Be sure to post your answers and don’t forget to post pictures of your sacred space tagging me @frouwilliams or using the #deathbylycra hashtag so I can find you. (And yes, especially those office sacred spaces!)