Filtering by Tag: relaxation

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to take care of others.”

Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to take care of others.
— Bryant McGill

Last weekend and this weekend, I have had the great opportunity to lead workshops as part of a Ladies Getaway Retreat in VT. This is my second year being part of the retreat. There are many things I love about these weekends. First, it is all women. With the occasional male workshop leader or resort worker, everyone there is female. That may not seem like a huge deal, but it does give a different energy. Second, there are women of varying ages. I love being able to sit back and observe how different generations interact with each other. Many of the participants are family members, whether they are mother/daughter, sisters, or cousins. Third, some of these women have been coming back for 15 years. You can tell they prepare for the weekend with their elaborate snack set up and matching group shirts. Last and most importantly, each woman is there to take time for themselves, whether that means engaging in goal setting workshops or taking a yoga class or learning more about wine through a tasting session. As the participants are leaving, they are always talking about how refreshed they feel, how they have learned at least one thing they can implement into their lives, and how much fun they had relaxing and enjoying their friends.

In general as a society, but even more specifically for women, we forget how important it is to take time for ourselves. If we don’t fill our own “tank” up, we won’t have enough of the proper energy to be there for the other people in our lives. So many times, we give all our energy out to others and then we are left with nothing for ourselves. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling drained the littlest things can set you off? That is because you have let your own energy tank get too low. One of the themes I talked about in all my workshops this past weekend was that life isn’t about eliminating annoyances, it is about maintaining your inner peace and not allowing the annoyances to get the best of you. This philosophy can be used in all aspects of your life. In your relationship with a significant other when your tank gets too low, you may become more needy or get irritated more easily. While at work, relationships with colleagues can become tenser when your own inner peace is comprised.

So the question is how do we keep our tank full? Giving yourself the gift of going away on a retreat is a perfect way, but we don’t always have that opportunity. Each of us will have a different way to fill our tank, but some common ways are meditating, exercising regularly, reading, being creative, allowing yourself to veg out and watch your favorite show, etc. If we don’t take the time and energy we deserve to help ourselves, we won’t be able to effectively be there for the people that are so important in our lives.

 

Aside: The story of how I got connected with this retreat is an interesting one. I had decided about 2 years ago that I wanted to lead more group workshops at retreats, but didn’t know how to actually go about doing that. About a year and a half ago, I was attending The Big E (the New England version of a state fair) with my family as I have for many years of my life. We were walking through the VT building and I happened to pick up a paper for “Ladies Weekend Getaway.” When I asked the woman behind the counter for more information, I learned that she was the event programmer for the weekend. We got to talking and a month later I was booked to teach 10 workshops over 2 weekends. This just proves that when you get clear about your goals and intentions, the Universe will answer. It may not be quite on your timetable, but if you stay open and say YES (even with the doubts and fears in the background) you will always be provided for.

 

Do you need help maintaining your inner peace and keeping a full tank? I would love to guide you and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.”

Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.

Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is officially underway. The next few weeks will be filled with decorations, Christmas songs, holiday parties, family and friends, shopping, acts of kindness, and love. Though it is a wonderful season, it can also be overwhelming and stressful at times. It is important to take care of ourselves first so that we can then take care of those around us. Using our visualization practice for relaxation can help to calm the mind and release the tension our body is holding. 

To begin this type of visualization, I like to start with the breath followed by a body scan. My favorite breath technique for relaxation is Yogi Breath, also known as 3 Part Breath. Laying on your back or sitting in a chair with a long spine, close your eyes and begin to observe your natural breath. Once you have settled, start to lengthen your inhales and exhales. Begin by inhaling through your nose and filling up your belly, then, ribs, then chest. Pause for a moment and then exhale through your nose chest, ribs, and belly. Continue this for at least five cycles. With every inhale you breathe in health, happiness, and harmony; with every exhale you breathe out tension, toxins, and troubles.

A body scan allows us to go even deeper in relaxation. I like to start at the crown of the head, the 7th chakra, and imagine a white light radiating above me. Invite this white light into your body and visualize it flowing, swirling, and filling up every nook and cranny. As this peaceful white light travels through your body, it gently massages and releases the tension and any negative emotions that do not serve you anymore. Once the white light has reached your toes, do one more quick scan and send your breath to the parts of your body needing a little extra attention.

For some people, this may be enough to relax your mind, body, and rejuvenate yourself. For others, you may want to go even further and begin to visualize a place that brings you peace and comfort. For example, walking on a beach at sunset, feeling the sand in between your toes, hearing the soothing sounds of the waves, smelling the cooling salt water, and seeing the beautiful colors of the sky as the sun goes to sleep. Continue to be vivid with your images and control outside and negative thoughts. Experiment with the perspective you are using and continue to use your breath as your foundation. The more you engage in this practice the stronger the impact the images will have on your mind and body. You can begin to use the words like beach, sand, or waves as trigger words for those times when life gets overbearing. A reminder that trigger words can be a single word or phrase that initiate a process or course of action. In this situation, the word “beach” initiates the feelings of relaxation, peace, and balance because of your visualization practice.

This week continue to keep your visualization log, but this time focus on relaxation. Begin with your breath and body scan. Then experiment with imagery. Try to maintain the 3 min a day or challenge yourself with longer sessions. This will increase your ability to focus and concentrate. At the end of the week, observe how you feel. Do you feel more grounded? Maybe more able to manage the stresses in your life? Maybe you can make it a habit to take at least 5-10 min a day to step away from the chaos and connect back to yourself.

 

Are you ready to manifest the changes you want in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.”

Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.
— Bo Bennett

As a child, I used to pass the time during church or when I was bored in class mentally running through the various dances I was learning at my studio or rehearsing for a show. Sometimes, I would even fantasize what my life would look like living in NYC and being immersed in the hustle and bustle of the musical theatre world. In high school, when I was stressed or overwhelmed and had trouble falling asleep I would close my eyes and imagine each muscle of my body relax starting at my head and ending at my toes. Little did I know at the time, but what I was doing in each of these situations was building a foundation for a practice that continues to change my life on a daily basis.

Last week, I talked about making a plan using proper goal setting techniques in order to make the changes we want in our lives. This week I would like to offer a very powerful technique to help throughout the process, visualization. Visualization is a cognitive process where one uses mental imagery to simulate or recreate visual perception. Visualization can help improve self-confidence, manage pain and stress, acquire new skills, and manifest changes in our lives. Like everything else, visualization is a practice. It may come easier to some than others, but the good thing is that through repetition we can become more skilled in it.  

When teaching visualization, the first thing I talk about is being able to close your eyes and practice seeing vivid and clear images. Think of the five senses (see, hear, touch, taste, and smell) as a starting point. Be as detailed as you can when visualizing the images or the scenario. Next, implement your mental and emotional feelings into the visualization. This allows the visualization to penetrate and connect the body, mind, and spirit. Finally, make sure that you are controlling your mind by not allowing outside thoughts to distract you or negative thoughts to creep in.

For the next week, try to visualize once a day. Set a timer for 3 minutes and close your eyes. Start by noticing your breath and lengthening your inhales and exhales. Then, begin to imagine a place you know well, your bedroom, office, etc. See that place in as much detail as you can using the five senses as your guide. It may be difficult at first to complete the 3 minutes without outside thoughts coming in, but go until the timer goes off. If you find 3 minutes is becoming easy, extend the time and start to zoom into specific areas of the room so you can get even more detailed in the picture you are creating. Keeping a visualization log reflecting on each session will be helpful in observing your progress. In the log, write down if outside or negative thoughts crept into the mind, whether you were able to access all five senses, and how specific you could get when zooming in.

Once we have the foundational skills for a strong visualization practice, we can use it in all areas of our life. Next week, I will go into more specific ways to use visualization. For example: how to use visualization when preparing for an audition, interview, or big presentation; and how visualization can be combined with trigger words to help with stress and anxiety.

 

Are you ready to manifest the changes you want in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

 

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