Nature spirals in and out through the seasons … so do we. Have you noticed the whorls and circles in the trunk of a cut tree, how a cat will curl up and around itself to sleep within a tucked up ball, the spirals of sea shells, plant leaves, wave patterns in the sand left by the ocean’s waves…
It may seem in Autumn and Winter that nature doesn't continue the spiraling process but it does. The leaves on a tree begin to dry and curl until a wind blows through the branches and the tree opens and releases the leaves to the ground. Snowflakes have circular patterns as they fall to the ground. Cats spend more time curled up to stay warm but they do get up to stretch luxuriously. Nature spirals in but also opens up and releases.
The human body spirals….our dna spirals within, we have linings (fascia) around our cells, muscles, our organs, even our skin acts as a lining that holds us together. Our mind spirals with emotions that wind us up or loosen and relax us. During the Fall and Winter months we are more likely to curve inwards to protect against the colder breezes, we're more likely to cocoon indoors and wrap ourselves up, curl our posture around that hot cup of cocoa.
As living beings we can run into problems when we don’t take the time to loosen and open our physical and emotional inward spirals. We often allow life’s continual and stressful grinds to wind us tighter…ever tighter. We can begin to feel like a tightly wound spring ready to “boing” in uncontrolled patterns, as we knock against those things around us and then lie in the place we land, still coiled and tight. This is never more true than as we navigate our way through Covid19 and staying within our space, bubble and home.
Holistic sessions encourage the body and the mind to unwind and open up with ease ... spiral out, for just a short time. It's interesting to note how many times a client will release a deep breath or sigh as their body and mind begin to release. Relaxation Massage opens and stretches muscles and tendons, Craniosacral Therapy encourages the linings (fascia) encasing muscles, organs and joints to unwind, to loosen the tightness and just be, Reiki encourages mind and body to move into balance and harmony with the cold of winter being warmed and thawed through the heat of the energy within.
You've heard me suggest drinking extra water after your session, but do you know why your body needs Hydration?
I may make an extra suggestion during your session that your body (usually the skin) is telling me you’re not hydrated enough? Keeping hydrated is a major keynote in getting your body to give you it’s best! Especially while venturing into the great outdoors through the summer months.
Back to work for post Covid19 closure, for a little less than 2 weeks, and feeling grateful and thankful to those I have the honour to provide sessions to. I am very lucky! Each of you have been thoughtful and patient as together we navigate the required changes in safety and sanitation. It's made all of it so much easier.
For Calgary clients
For Fraser Valley clients
Phase 3 in the Journey - Maintenance and Moving Foward (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Discovering Balance During Covid19 - 6)
OK, so you’ve done the work, peeled back layers of your life, like an onion, to discover at least one thing that is no longer working for you. That something is up for change as you create holistic balance in your life. You’ve explored the ways that work for you and hopefully found 2 or 3 that work and you’re in the process of integrating those changes. Now what?
For many it feels like forever since we've seen our friends, family, clients and colleagues, but with staying home and keeping everyone safe, we're now seeing a light at the end of this tunnel.
The idea of businesses re-opening can be both exciting and scary. With regards to Booking your Massage Therapy or Holistic Sessions, I want to put your mind at ease.
Phase 2 in the Journey - Acceptance and Investigation (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 5)
At this point in our journey it's accepted that you have embraced the idea that the health of mind, body and spirit are all integral to our holistic well-being, and that it's totally ok to have any and all emotions during changes in your life that affect all parts of you. If you're not at this point yet then move backwards through the previous blog posts...this next part of the journey is interesting, playful and enlightening.
Phase 1 in the Journey - Emotions (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 4)
I think that one of the downsides to people feeling safe to share their journey towards holistic balance is Toxic Positivity. Ourselves or others can often feel uncomfortable with emotion, and so will downplay it in others, or we stuff it down in ourselves. Neither are healthy and that is not what this journey will be about. It's time to get honest with how you're feeling.
Allowing your feelings is healthy. Emotions are energy and in order to eventually be released, energy has to be allowed to move. Same thing with emotions, and yes, it can be super uncomfortable to allow our own emotions and to witness those of others.
Radical Self-Care during Phase 1 of Your Holistic Journey
Some of the following suggestions may seem like band-aid solutions to the emotions you're feeling about the changes you're experiencing due to Covid19. They are band-aid solutions for now. During this first phase in creating holistic balance your creating space for emotions and looking after yourself through that phase. (You're also teaching your loved ones that it's ok to have the emotions and to explore self-care techniques that work for them)
Ways to Safely Express Emotion
Don't suppress them or tamp them down! Allow the energy of the emotions to move through you and if they get too much go ahead and scream in the car, cry, stamp your feet. Journaling through writing or art, breath work, laughter and physical movement are all great ways to safely express emotions.
My favourite way is to put on the music and dance with abandon. As I move the emotional energy moves as well. I encourage you to explore and discover new ways that feel good to you.
Nurturing Yourself Through the Tough Days
This can be a really interesting way to find out just what radical self-care looks like for you as you explore different methods.
I'ts ok to sit in this phase of discovering Holistic Balance for a period of time as you explore what works for you. But we're not going to wallow or set up camp in this phase for too long. That being said, there is no timeline. As I said in a previous post, you will work through this journey as it works for you and there is no right or wrong way. Get comfortable with self-care and emotional expression as best you can. Perhaps the weekly calendar guide below can help with that.
What Does It Mean to Take A Holistic Approach (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 2)
The Mind Body Spirit Connection & Dealing with Change (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Discovering Balance During Covid19 - 3)
The basis of a holistic approach to health, to life and to change, is acknowledging the mind, body and the spirit connection, and nurturing that connection.
What affects the mind has an influence on the body and visa versa. Anything affecting either or both, mind and body, impacts upon our spirit.
Let's take stress as an example. When we're feeling stressed about a situation we can feel it in our body. Some feel is as stomach upset, some as shoulder pain from tightened muscles, others experience headaches. Often, and at the same time, stress can cause a loss of hope, thus affecting the spirit.
Unexpected change is often uncomfortable and can create stress. Despite change being an ongoing occurrence in life it is one we can't seem to embrace. The drastic changes that COVID19 has brought to our lives is hard to navigate and it is no wonder that many balk at embracing it. But, what are our choices?
I am hearing a whole range of emotions from clients, family and friends as the life changes imposed by COVID19 unroll. Anger, fear, depression, anxiety, frustration, sorrow, shock,, grief... are just a few.
Many feel changes "forced" upon them are impossible to steer through. There are many of us that have had to slow down or stop work due to social distancing or loss of business, parents are being asked to work at home while also home-schooling their children and at the same time keep them indoors and away from playgrounds and friends, those deemed essential are busy and stressed as they are daily put at risk of infection, as humans we are social beings and we are not able to spend time with our friends, or family members that live elsewhere... I cannot think of any emotions that would be inappropriate, but there are ways to navigate through them, grow from them and thrive, holistically.
The first step in taking a holistic approach to the changes of COVID 19 is to acknowledge every single emotion experienced as valid, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Secondly, is to understand that those emotions are having an impact on your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Take some time over the next few days to allow your feelings, write them down or express them through art. If you meditate, try to check into where you're feeling those emotions in your body and what they feel like. Don't try to tamp them down as emotions are energy and energy needs to move to be released.
Upcoming posts, as we travel this journey together will address ways to not only deal with the mental, physical and spiritual impact of COVID19, but ways to grow holistically. Tips that will assist you in addressing change throughout life, often making it something easier to embrace.
You may want to work through the steps as they are presented or may find yourself jumping back and forth. There is no right or wrong way to work through these steps, your way must work for you in realizing the benefits of a holistic approach.
What Does It Mean to Take A Holistic Approach (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 2)
A holistic approach means taking care of something in all aspects. When we talk about holistic living, it means a complete and whole approach to the well-being of our body, mind and spirit. We are not just our bodies nor just our minds or spirit, if one is off balance the others are likely affected … and both should be addressed as we journey towards maintaining wellness.
In our normal busy states of being, people often tend to be very much in their "heads". The mind is busy thinking, planning, remembering, engaging. For most occupations we have to be, however, what is going on with the body during this busy time?
Two things that I notice when clients are in for a session, especially Massage Therapy; They often don't realize just how many sore muscles the have in their body until I begin to work on them, and I can often feel the muscles begin to relax as people talk on the table about the issues keeping them busy. It's as though air is finally being released from an overfilled air mattress, the muscles become softer and more fluid.
This is often my reasoning to asking questions before a session starts. How are you doing, on all levels, that day? Your answers give me some insight into how you're connecting with all aspects of your holistic well-being.
When you plan an activity is it purely physical? Or do you also account for how it will feel on a mental/emotional level and how it feeds (or not) you on a spiritual level?
An example of what I mean by the question above. Some years ago when looking for a workout I needed to find something that I would stick to. While I played a lot of team sports and did competitive swimming in high school, my life just didn't have a space of time for that as a business owner and single mother.
I thought back through the things I had tried during my growing up and pre-mum years for what I had really enjoyed doing. Here was the list I came up with:
My workouts became: Taking Belly Dance classes and moving on to also teach (moving the body freely with music is so energizing!), yoga because I loved it and it really goes hand in hand with taking care of dance muscles and joints and walking or hiking in nature. This holistic approach to my well-being fed me on all levels, mind, body and spirit.
I take this same approach to other activities, and to my work. I love the work I do and the interactions that I have with clients. My work doesn't feel like a job but instead is a passion that I get to take part in every day. While I've been a secretary and interior designer in past careers and did find some satisfaction in that, they don't feed my soul in the same way as providing Massage and Holistic Therapies does.
The holistic approach to well-being is not just about the body. It also takes into account your mental state, how you're feeling about your day to day activities, and if they feed you on a spiritual level as well.
With the changes life has brought us during the Covid19 pandemic I encourage you to take some time to take a look at your daily activities and ask yourself if they bring a holistic balance to your well-being or do they need to be tuned-up, changed or dropped completely. Once you begin to take a holistic approach to one or two activities, you'll find it begins to change your approach to others.
Note: This is not a space for you to be self-judgemental or look for blame, it's simply having an honest look at ways to make positive changes for your whole healthy being.
I hope that you'll share your experiences.
Join me during the month of April for A Journey into Taking a Holistic Approach to Covid19