Thursday, February 7, 2019

Day 3396 - Self-Care and the art of breathing

Take a deep breath ...


Due to the loss of our beautiful Chelsea, I've been finding it difficult to move forward with many areas of my life.  The sadness can be overwhelming and the new normal difficult to come to terms with.  But we must all continue to breathe.

I recently sought help from a professional to help guide me through this challenging time.  Someone to help me gather my thoughts, talk through my grief and know how to assist my family as we all navigate this new world.

One of the things she stressed was the absolute need for self-care; in particular, the self-care breath.

By all accounts our ability to control our breathing is by far the most powerful self-care tool we possess.  By consciously breathing in deeply through the nose, filling our lungs, and blowing out through our mouth slowly, we are able to engage our lungs in a way that opens our minds and hearts to the best sort of self-care.

A breathing exercise such as this allows us to be present, open, connected, calm, resilient and more conscious.

The best way to breath for self-care is to sit in a comfortable position with our chests open and spine long.  Relax the jaw, eyes and scalp as you breath to fill the belly, ribs and chest to capacity, then exhale as the chest sinks, the ribs soften and the core remains engaged.  

Taking control of our breathing in this way can happen anywhere.  In the shower of a morning, at our desk while we await our computer to turn on, at a stop light on the way to work, in line at the supermarket, while waiting in a parked car at school pick up, while the kettle boils or during an ad on TV.

We don't have to be in distress or questioning our lot in life for this type of exercise to be of benefit.  It's something we can all do to help us age positively.

Do you deep breathe?

What other moments can you suggest we engage in this self-care technique?

What self-care tips do you have?

This post is part of the Fabulous and Fitness series I'll be rolling out over the next 18 months as I celebrate 50.

Fabulous, Inspiration, Fitness, Travel, Youthfulness (FIFTY)

We're linking here today as part of the Lovin' Life Linky! Join us.


Inlinkz Link Party

13 comments :

  1. When I was having a particularly tough time, I would sing very loudly to Galatis Smile in the car. Belt it out (interestingly, to sing loudly you need to breathe properly so it's probably related) and I'd always feel much better after doing it. Interestingly now, if I try to sing along, it will sometimes produce tears, even tho all is well. I've wrapped up so much negative emotions in that song and packed them away that it's now a pavlovian trigger. I'm glad you're getting guidance. It's such a terrible thing. Alas there is no 'fix'. There will always be a hole. But as Augusten Burroughs says 'The holes will never leave or be filled with anything at all. But holes can be interesting things'(This is How - in the chapter on losing someone you love)

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    1. Singing loudly in the car was/is one of my best strategies for reducing my inner anxiety when I was setting off for Westmead/Chris OBrien Lifehouse driving solo (prefer it) and once I was about 10 mins into the journey - the time between our place and the M1, I could switch to my audiobook. That book by Augusten Burroughs is so good and I think of you & your kind recommendation each time I see the book. Thanks Lydia. xx

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  2. I have thought of you so often and am so glad you’re doing something for yourself. Grief is literally the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, and it never fully leaves so we need to find a way to make room for it. To sit with it and to let it pass while knowing it will be back. Breathing helps, so can talking and so does laughter. Let yourself find those bright spots xx

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  3. I'm glad you're getting professional guidance. I hope it helps you move forward. I do deep breathing daily, usually before I start my meditation in the morning and before bed time. I also do it in my twice-a-week yoga classes. It's an easy yet powerful stress management and relaxation tool that we can use any time anywhere.

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  4. Breathing has saved my inner soul as it stressed itself from all my issues post-house move and so on. Dealing with cancer too of course. I am so pleased (f you excuse the word) that you have sought some help. Literally telling the story to another who is not a family member or friend is such a good thing. BUT...as Amy said, grief doesn't leave but it sure does eventually find a more "comfy" place. The book by Megan Devine called It's OK not to be OK is her first hand account of sudden death of a loved one and her career changed course with her own experience of grief. She has an on-line course called Writing About Grief...google her and you will see that her words are likely to be gifts to you. There are no rules around grief Everyone "thinks" there are stages of grief but Elizabeth Kubler Ross (the one who coined them) said before she died that there is no linear approach to grief. Sending one or three of my biggest hugs to you. Denyse x

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  5. I'm thinking of you and wondering how you're going all the time Leanne. I'm so glad you've seen a professional. I hope that is helping. I know my grief and loss is a very different kettle of fish to yours but 1.2 years down the track I still have my struggles. I'm awake at 4 to 4:30am every day and have to get up or my thoughts go to places that result in tears. I don't cry as often during my days but I still have those heart stabbing moments that come out of nowhere. Focussing on our breath and breathing deeply and properly is a very good thing. It helps slow down all the thoughts in our minds and bring us into the present moment. Self care is a must at all times but especially when grieving. Thank you for linking up with my very first #ZTT link-up. Keep up that self care! xo

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  6. I reckon this is the hardest part of grief. After the initial shock and business of organising a funeral, telling everyone, reuniting with loved ones - come the dark days when life is meant to go back to "normal". And - as "breathe" was my word of the year in 2018 - couldn't agree with this more, and I'd love to add my 2c! Make sure you don't let your shoulders bunch up when you breathe in. AND I heard this yesterday: another one for inhaling (breath) is inspiration. Isn't that amazing?! So by breathing in, we are literally inspiring ourselves!!! Hugs to you Leanne x

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  7. I can't even imagine what you guys are going through.

    I do some breathing exercises as I listen to meditation recordings when I lie down / try to sleep, but I'd prefer to do a meditation exercise each morning to ground me.... for some reason I'm too lazy or tired or in a hurry so not yet achieved this!

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  8. I've thought of you so often and wondered how you are getting through this difficult time. From the internet world it would have appeared that you were coping and getting back to normal, but somehow I doubted that everything was absolutely rosy. Glad that you are fitting in some self help, both professionally and with breathing. Who am I to talk. I faint at the sight of blood despite all my best intentions to 'breathe'. Have serious work to do. I hope it's helping you in your continuous recovery and acceptance of grief xx

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  9. Sharing. It can't be easy like you just did, yet I always wonder how strong it must be to do that. It tears me up just to come to your site right now...but I always want to support and offer my love and hugs (be they virtual).
    When my BFF died, I could only think about my grief, yet her mom was going through exactly this. I still hear from her mom even though it's been 10 years. She says she thinks of her still every day. How could you not?
    Sending love, always. Giving prayers, always. Supporting as much as I know how, always.
    XOXO
    Jodie

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  10. I'm reading this as I'm stressed to the max after a day of...actually the last couple of weeks of...pure brown stuff. Giving this a shot now. Right now.

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  11. I needed this post today, Leanne! Deep, deep breaths....


    SSG xxx

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  12. Sending you prayers and positive thouoghts. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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