Advanced Stress Management

There is nothing like relocating across the country to test the limits of a good self-care routine! In a leap-of-faith, I have decided to move from the California coast to the metropolis of Philadelphia to be with my family, which now includes a niece and nephew- twin newborns. On paper, it is a completely ridiculous decision as I love my life here and have no idea where I will live or work or well… anything. Viewed from a soul level, however, I am following the calling of my heart, and trust that, as always, all my needs will be met.

Today marks the beginning of the 30 day countdown, and I find a bit of stress sneaking through the cracks. I consider myself to be a stress management expert; I have been practicing a wide variety of self-care and relaxation techniques for the past 20 years, and practicing bodywork and Reiki for eleven years. I believe that creating health, peace, and joy is an inside job and that I am the only one responsible for my well-being. Yet as my to-do list increases, I have started to get sloppy and I am already feeling the difference in my body as well as in my mind. If ever there was a time to be 100% healthy and calm and full of vitality, it is now. So I’m going back to the basics and recommitting to myself.

I think we all know the importance of quality sleep, nutrition, movement, and mindfulness. Finding the time to pursue these virtues seems to be an issue for many of us. I’ve decided that now more than ever, these are my top priorities. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxious. Not acceptable! So tonight I am implementing a pre-sleep ritual of unwinding and perhaps some herbal tea to enhance rest. Ten minutes will most likely do the trick. I have been eating out more often lately, thinking it’s saving time. I’m not happy with the quality of food, however, and know how important it is to put only the purest ingredients into my body temple. I’ve realized that preparing simple, fresh, mostly raw meals (green smoothies with hemp seeds, salads, celery with almond butter, sour kraut, bliss balls (homemade nut/date/coconut treats!) are all super quick to make and energizing. I like to go for a walk along the coast at sunrise, which soothes my soul and invigorates my body, but haven’t found the time to make it to yoga class lately. This is unlikely to change, so I am committing to a daily home practice. I know even that short amount of time will do wonders for me on so many levels. My meditation practice has never wavered as I am clear that without it I am a complete mess. 15 minutes each morning sets me up for a much easier day.

As a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner and teacher, I value the healing arts immensely. I teach my students the benefits of daily self-treatment as well as the importance of receiving sessions. Lately it’s been easy for me to cut my Reiki self-care short because I am so concerned about the things I need to do. This was a big clue that I was way off track! All the things I need to do go way more easily after I’ve soaked myself in healing energy. 15-20 minutes before I get out of bed makes all the difference in the world. I have recommitted to this priority. I have also schedule myself to receive a treatment (either Reiki or bodywork) each week. I simply must find colleagues as soon as I arrive in my new home to continue this practice.

So with an investment of about 90 minutes each day, plus an extra 90 minutes once per week, I’m going to be in tiptop shape for my transition. This might seem like a lot of time to many people. I say, let’s consider the alternatives: fatigue, back pain, headaches, digestive upset, anxiety, lack of focus, and melancholy. Overall that makes me less productive and certainly less joyful and probably eats up way more time. I need to be functioning at peak performance and that means a commitment to my well-being in the form of self-care. I can think of no greater lesson to share with the babies I am moving heaven and earth to be with either. Stress happens, it’s up to each of us how we manage it.


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