What soothes you? What nutures you ? I often ask my adoptive parents this question and encourage them to seek out relaxing time alone and time with other people. What helps you to stay regulated emotionally and physically ? On Sunday, I taught a class for therapists on the topic of Traumatic Stress.
When other people - as with clients, my child and other loved ones, rely on my clarity of thinking and calm grounded presence to help guide them through times of inner chaos and distress, it is important to really know what keeps my nervous system and brain in balance in order to respond and not react. And it is not always easy to do! However, building up a tool box of 'abilities to relax' and applying them on a daily bases helps us through the most challenging times. When I first adopted my daughter we also made a list of fun things we like to do together and put it on the wall. The days we still loved eachother but did not particularly like eachother we referred to this list!!!
As I drove home in the wind and rain from the workshop I noticed I was relaxed - and I began to think. You know how they say 5 cups of fruit and vegetables a day keep you healthy? Well the lesson for me was learning how essential, it is for my nervous system to have 5 cups of kindness and compassion each day - like 5 moments of breathing in and out in a focused way;a daily meditation; time to exercise; moments for rest or cat naps; eating lunch and just that; playing and connecting with my daughter each day in a meaningful way; laughing together, making dinner some nights and getting a take out on others; to write and create and work near to home; commute less and sing and play music more. Yes I know we have all heard these lists before. So I encourage you to make your own list as a reminder on a daily basis to be kind to yourself and give a dose of relaxation! What sooths and nurtures you? Life is too short and precious to not create your own prescription for relaxation and then follow it as best you can.