Today’s Self-care Challenge: Take a deep breath or 100.
A lot of folks, myself included, unconsciously react to stress by taking shallower breaths, tightening up the muscles in our torsos, and curling ourselves in a protective but lung-inhibiting manner. Take a few moments to drop your shoulders, loosen up any tight places, and expand your ribcage for several deep breaths: if air were water, you’d be downing the whole glass – slowly, not chugging. Let us not extend that analogy to the outbreath. If it seems helpful, as you do this, tell yourself that it is going to be okay, no matter what it is. Some people do not find the “que sera sera” attitude to be helpful. I like to think of it this way, which may sound a little fatalistic, but has been immensely comforting to me in times of stress: I can only do as much as is in my power (and that varies day-to-day depending on my mental and physical health), so I’ll do that, and after that what happens will happen. I will likely survive, and will probably face an array of choices I cannot possibly imagine now, so why waste my time fantasizing about what they might be? Better to unknot and square up to the present challenge as oxygenated and energetic as possible, right?
Today at work I seriously thought one of the people I work with might collapse, and I might have to carry her, and I got super-stressed. I carried that tension home with me, and not until I sat here and took a deep breath did I realize how shallow my breathing has been all day. As soon as I done at the computer, I’m going to do some meditative breathing and then go to sleep, lungs expanded. Good night!