When do YOU feel most safe, welcome and loved?
It might sound like an indulgent question to ask yourself but we’re literally wired to NEED this in order to thrive.
Am horrified by what’s going on in the world and how lucky we are here and how so many people (a very vocal minority) are being so hateful and unwelcoming to refugees who need as much support as possible in order to begin to heal and to feel safe, welcome and loved, having to leave all they’ve known behind and then dealing with horrifying displays by people amped… am not going to give that any more energy here but we all KNOW that if we were fleeing for our lives, if we and/or loved ones were in danger, we would do ANYthing to protect them.
Even when we move or travel and it’s much wanted, it’s still ungrounding. I felt discombobulated for two years before and after my move from the east of England to west coast of Ireland in 2019!
Think about a typical and atypical day… walk yourself through it all from waking up to going back to bed… How might you amp up your environments and schedule to ensure you have a good amount of feeling safe, loved and welcome (especially important if you have aspects of your life or work that feel confrontational).
Journal and embodied journal prompt
Grab your journal and make some notes for yourself so you create a conscious repertoire of ways to help yourself amp up that sense of safety, being loved and welcome as much as possible.
You can also embodied journal it and talk it out in front of a mirror or record yourself – observe your tone of voice, skin tone, posture and general lighting up or heaviness as you say different things. Your body has an enormous amount of wisdom for you.
Even when life is challenging, there are things we can do to support our nervous system
Resting after exertion helps improve heart rate variability which isn’t just good for the heart but for mental and emotional resilience too. This might be relaxing on the sofa after vacuuming, pausing in Savasana after some Sun Salutations or simply lying or sitting down after push ups or a run.
I’ve been teaching students, groups and clients how to work with the Vagus nerve (the 10th cranial nerve that sends 80% of its signals UP from body to brain so we know from Polyvagal Theory and other modern neuroscientific discoveries that it’s far more effective to move or breathe in ways that support how we want to feel (be that calm, confident or energised) than to TELL ourselves (often in a stern way that triggers more Stress Response) to calm down etc.
You can choose from a range of yoga poses and breath practices to experiment with different moods and needs. HERE ARE SOME BOOK BONUS VIDEOS TO GET YOU STARTED
Simple calming breath practice
Notice whatever’s happening with the breath naturally and then, if it feels comfortable, deepen the breath as if breathing from the belly.
Lengthen the exhalation so it’s slightly longer than the inhalation and that, with practice, will balance the nervous system in the longer term (as opposed to an evenly balanced inhale and exhale balancing it in the moment) on account of our society being so productivity focused and 24/7.
We all have to remind ourselves to rest
While I’ve been teaching these practices and included so many in the book for so many years, last year was an advanced practice for me in reminding me to rest more.
I realised that, having stopped drinking alcohol in 2001, I simply replaced one addiction with another and the various trainings I did on top of full time work (with a chronic pain condition) and then being self employed with a chronic pain condition meant that for the times I wasn’t on the floor with endometriosis pain, I would work around the clock.
For almost 20 years!
Perimenopause and now menopause changed the rest the PAIN had forced me to build into my schedule (blocking a few days a month as lightly scheduled as possible because I knew that trying to do too much would lead to pain.
I decided to use the lunar cycle and Dark New Moon to block off lighter days for more sleep, napping, journalling, meditation etc each month but without the fear of pain, it was often just as busy a time as the rest of the month.
Then 2023 hit and I was forced to change my ways.
I’m now even more of a rest evangelist (I was ALWAYS in favour of everyone ELSE resting just had to do deeper work including trauma recovery work about my own ability and right to rest and relax).
Naps. Weekends off. (I’d gone from August to December without having a full weekend off and that first one and my first ever proper Christmas break since my undergrad days in the ‘90s were underlined by my body’s distrust of me keeping my word and being so ill I HAD to rest).
So many things. Listening to a CD in the bath instead of a podcast. More time with loved ones. More FUN.
More PLEASURE (my transpersonal quality or ‘word’ of the year – I’m even exploring ways in which I can make bookkeeping more pleasurable! We’ll be exploring financial self care next week as it’s another big part of sending love to our base chakras)
Which quality or qualities are you ready to embody more now?
Listen or watch for more on Polyvagal Theory and neurodiversity.
We’re exploring ways to work with the nervous system to feel safer in your own body and world in today’s live calls. You can become Extra Embodied to access a rich archive of recordings and attend future sessions.