Let's Try This Again...
Hello! After a few frustrating days of tech problems and disappointing customer service, SK Health & Wellness is back up and running! Unfortunately, I lost some content in the process as well as all of the amazing comments and feedback I received, but I am pretty excited about this new look and format. You can now SUBSCRIBE to SK Health & Wellness (pretty exciting I know) so be sure to do so!! If you notice any content missing that you’d love to see up again, please reach out and I’ll do my best to get it back up!
I feel as though I’ve learned so much since I began blogging two months ago, both about myself and about the world of health and wellness (and clearly technology). Reading, listening to podcasts, doing research, and learning from inspiring individuals that I work with, I have so much that I am so excited to share in the next few weeks – so stay tuned! On that note, if there is something you’d love to see- whether it be a recipe, fitness tip or trend, or nutrition or wellness topic, shoot me a message and I’d love to develop something!
One of the posts I lost in this transfer was the first one I wrote; introducing myself and how I got where I am now, and how to stay grounded in times of change. Since I just started my new job, and these first two weeks have very much been a time of transition, I’d love to share with you all my tips for staying grounded once again.
The term “grounded” may not mean much to many of you, so I’ll explain a little bit about what I mean by the term in my own context. I have had chronic anxiety and depression for most of my life, and feeling “un-grounded” is one of the primary feelings I get when I’m “off”; “off” meaning very anxious, stressed, down, etc. When I feel un-grounded, I feel as through my mind and body are slightly separated, my eyes feel set back further into my head, I am easily over-stimulated, over-think, get worked up about different ideas or obstacles, have a hard time interacting with people…it’s always slightly different.
Some of these feelings may sound familiar, whether you’ve had an overwhelming week, just moved, are stressed about a project or relationship – the trigger could be anything, and we all feel and experience grounding differently.
The primary indicator for me that I know I’m feeling “off” and un-grounded, is that physical feeling of mind-body separation. So focusing on re-connecting the mind and the body, and intentionally slowing down physically and mentally has been the most effective for me. So in these practices for returning to a state of feeling grounded, I focus on mindfulness. As you read through these processes, you will notice that I focus on a few concepts: mindfulness, mind-body connection, and grounding.
Often when we are stressed or anxious, the mind moves very quickly. If you just try to ignore or push-out those feelings of stress and anxiety, they will only last longer and get worse. It is imperative to take a moment, and slow your thoughts down. Recognize that they are there, recognize the speed, just take it all in. This is being mindful. Now that you’ve acknowledged your thoughts and how they feel, you can begin working on slowing them down. With grounding and working on re-connecting the mind and body, I like to imagine the brain is running away, and the body is struggling to catch-up. The only way for the two to re-connect, is for the brain to slow down.
As you work to slow down your thoughts, breathe. Breathe intentionally and deeply. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, they’d call them “belly breaths”. This physical practice helps the mind to “notice” the body, slow down, and re-connect.
Recognize your feelings.
Recognize your feelings- are you feeling anxious? Are you stressed? Are you obsessing over something in particular? You don’t need to explain “why”, just acknowledge those feelings. Again, ignoring and pushing aside does not help. Recognizing your feelings head-on is similar to confronting or “calling out” a fear. Once they are out in the open and named, they can be confronted. Again, this is just a mindfulness practice. We don’t need to analyze or explain, just be aware.
Recognize your body.
How does your body feel? When I am un-grounded, I feel separated from my body, so taking the time to really notice how my body physically feels, is a powerful practice to spark that re-connection. Where do you feel your feelings? I usually feel them in my shoulders, neck, chest, and stomach. Some people may feel heavy, one woman even told me she feels her anxieties in her left ankle. This is different for everybody. Like recognizing your feelings, don’t try to explain or “figure out” these feelings, just recognize that they exist.
These first four practices are all about mindfulness- just noticing what is going on. By this time, there is a good chance that you are already feeling more grounded and less overwhelmed. It is amazing what simply noticing can do. This mindfulness practice forces us to re-connect the mind and body to some extent, without even realizing. The next four steps are more physical practices to help recover and strengthen the feeling of being grounded, and really fuse that mind-body connection.
Just write. Whatever you are thinking, whatever thoughts that are racing through your head, get them down on paper. This practice helps to clear some mind space, reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, and physically transforms the mind onto paper.
Exercising is physically demanding and requires both the mind and body to be involved. Your body is doing the work, but your mind is also highly engaged. Again, we are strengthening that mind-body connection. Exercise also requires a lot of energy. Physically tiring our bodies out can be an easy and effective way to slow the mind and re-connect. When exercising, don’t zone out- notice your breathing, the sensation of your muscles working, your cardiovascular system tiring, your body sweating and fatiguing, the rush of adrenaline…acknowledge and notice it all. Physiologically, exercise induces neural growth and reduces inflammation in the brain, releases endorphins, and is just a fantastic distraction. New research also suggests that exercise helps the brain to create new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. When it comes to anxiety and stress, exercise relieves tension and boots physical and positive mental energy.
Hydrate, Nourish, & Sleep.
Anxiety and stress are insanely exhausting and really take a toll on our bodies. It is especially important to take care of your body in these moments to help it physically recover, and help you to feel your best. It is easy to under-eat, over-eat, forget to hydrate, and make choices we normally wouldn’t make in these moments, but by incorporating the above practices to re-connect the mind and body, and be mindful while doing so, many of these obstacles can be overcome. Eat food that you love that is also good for your body, drink enough water, and allow yourself the time for extra sleep. All of these practices reduce cortisol in the body, which will fuel your re-connection and grounding, and help to prevent future flares of anxiety and stress. Stress in the body often shows itself in the form of inflammation, so focus on eating foods high in anti-inflammatories, such as cinnamon, turmeric, tomatoes, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, ginger, lemon, leafy green vegetables, green tea, dark chocolate, etc.
Connect and Repeat.
As we go through the process of grounding and connecting the mind and body, we focus on taking two “separate” entities, and bringing them together as one. This list may seem a little long and overwhelming, but incorporating these mindfulness habits, taking a little extra time to acknowledge and address instead of plowing forward, and focusing on taking care of your body, really pays off. It not only addresses the current instance, but helps us to prepare for future instances. For anyone who has chronic anxiety or has had experiences with anxiety or stress in the past, knows that there is no worse feeling than the disconnect and un-grounding that it causes. I truly hope that these tips and processes are helpful. This topic is so broad and unique to the individual, I’ve only recently been able to put a name to my feelings of being un-grounded. So if you have any questions at all, need clarifications, or want to know more about my experiences, please comment, shoot me a message on the “about” page, send an email, or connect through Facebook or Instagram!