By Kelli Sroka
The daylight hours slowly begin to fade, the leaves on the trees burst full with bright colors, and we know we’re entering a time of transition. We say goodbye to summer and turn our attention onto welcoming fall.
But, this time of transition can be overwhelming, whether our journeys take us away from the beach and the barbeques back to school, to longer hours in the office, or maybe even the start of a new project.
Whatever changes you face in your own life, it’s imperative to create a plan and support system to keep yourself happy, healthy, and vibrant so you can able to apply yourself to your mission ahead.
Going into any endeavor with clear intention is critical to be effective. But, intention is not enough on its own. We must cultivate a daily practice that allows us to flow in a healthy state of body, mind, and soul.
We need to formulate habits, discipline, and support systems, which we can use as tools when life throws us challenges. Stress often immobilizes us, makes us ineffective, and sometimes even makes us sick. Let’s not get stuck in dark and ugly places, or suffer from analysis paralysis.
Rather, let’s create healthy habits now so as the seasons change we can make great change out in the world and within ourselves. With the change of each season, I invite you to integrate the following seven approaches in order to bring balance and manage stress:
Summer is full of unhealthy habits. Whether you spent too many days on patios having drinks with friends or eating not-so-good-for-you foods, it’s vital to give the liver a break from the toxins.
Summer and the Christmas holiday season are the two times we overdo consumption. So, in making a change t’s important to find what works for you. Maybe it looks like drinking more water and eating cleaner food for a week, or maybe you decide to go all out and try a three day fast to focus on cleaning out your liver and rebuilding your immune system.
Simple, fun, effective. Again, this looks different for every person. You may prefer a gentle Yin Yoga practice, while others will feel called to crush it at CrossFit. Whatever excites you and ignites you, commit yourself to it fully. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins.
This is easier for some than others. Make this a daily habit. Sometimes it is hard for us to talk about our feelings, and to dig down deep when we are triggered by something to find its root cause. Your journal is your safe and personal space to release stress and frustration. It will never judge you. Morning pages are a great way to start your day, and to set an intention. Hold yourself accountable, because the results compound.
4. Float (use the promo code 'recovery' to save 20% on a single float)
Experience NOTHING. Have you ever spent time in a sensory deprivation tank? It’s the most effective way to manage your stress as a busy professional. As a species, we spend most of our time operating in alpha and beta brain wave cycles. Our heads are filled with mindless chatter. We do work, chores, and experience emotional insecurities.
These types of thought patterns don’t let us enter a healing state, and stress begins to build. This negatively affects our mental and physical health. When we isolate ourselves from activating our senses, we’re able to tap into a deeper state of being and experience theta and delta brain wave cycles.
Our parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, and this is when the deep healing begins. It’s easy to distract ourselves with things like social media, food, alcohol, marijuana, or even sex when we get stressed. These are ways of avoiding the discomfort of dealing with the root cause. I invite you to allow yourself the space to reflect, release, restore, and reset the mind, body, and soul.
Meditation is known as the great medicine. When we bring awareness to our inner world, we can heal most things. Many think mediation means clearing all thoughts from the mind.
That sounds beautiful in theory, but it’s much more difficult in practice and isn’t the point of meditating. As we sit with our thoughts, we simply observe. Watch and see what comes up, and begin to release the thoughts that don’t serve you. Bring awareness into your life.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Start with a ten to fifteen minute practice. Imagine arriving to work fifteen minutes early and meditating in your car before heading into the office. Those fifteen minutes will bring you clarity, insight, and a certain type of calmness that will have a positive impact on your daily stress levels.
6. Find Balance
This one is especially tricky. It’s so easy to immerse ourselves in the things we do. Sometimes we get wrapped up in our work, and we unconsciously start to neglect the other aspects of our lives, leaving our friends, family, health, and even our own personal pleasures in the dark. If you find that there just isn’t enough time in the day, the issue is not with time itself, but simply with the way you’re using your time. Remember, your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world.
7. Tap Into Your Creative Energy
Find your flow. When we become tired, overworked, and busy, we fall out of flow state. Operating from this space hurts our soul because we naturally go into an automatic, masculine state, and we cannot access our creative process.
Try an activity twice a week that allows your inner child to come out and play. Paint, sing, dance, use your hands to make or cook something you’ve never made before. Find an outlet for at least thirty minutes and get out of your analytical mind. The key component to this exercise is to find something you enjoy, then just enjoy it.
As I observe the effectiveness and happiness of the game changers, the hard-working professionals, and the entrepreneurs I notice that the major contributing factor to reducing stress is finding balance.
Follow The Lunar Cycle
A great way to measure where you’re at with these things is to use the moon cycle as a guideline, or indicator. Use the new moon to set your intentions and to plant seeds for the upcoming cycle.
Be clear in what you ask for. Begin your cleanse or a new activity, use this time to dive in deep. As the moon cycle progresses, check in with yourself. How do you feel? Is something working? Is there something you can let go of that’s not serving you, that’s preventing you from achieving your goals?
Once the moon is full, that’s the time we harvest what we’ve planted. This is the time to celebrate abundance. How is your connection to your mind, body, and soul? How is your breath?
It’s not stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it. Keep these tools in your toolbox this fall so when something comes up, you can move through it and return to a place of balance.