COBRA POSE – “I RISE JOYFULLY”

BHUJANGASANA:Cobra Pose

MANTRA: “I rise joyfully to meet each new opportunity.”

Benefits:

*Helps you feel relaxed and reduces anxiety *Stabilizes digestion *Stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdominals *Lifts your mood *Tones the arms *Decreases stiffness in low back *Invigorates the heart

Cobra Pose

HOW TO PERFORM COBRA POSE:

  • Lie face-down on the floor with your legs together and your hands palms-down under your shoulders. Rest your forehead on the floor.

  • Inhaling, push off with your hands, and lift your head and chest off the ground, tilting your head back.

  • Hold for two or three deep breaths, and then exhale and slowly come down.

  • Repeat two to five times.

KEY POINTS: Keep legs zippered together as if you have on cobra tail; Keep tailbone tuck to feel a gentle compression of the lumbar spine; Keep feet planted into the ground; Keep chest and heart open; Keep elbows in tight: ENJOY 🙂 

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From Go, go, go to Slow, slow, slow…

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It seems that at least every other client I work with shares that their primary health concern is adrenal fatigue… which we all know by now comes from chronic stress. What’s ironic is that this IS one of the conditions that we have some control over. It really begins with our mindset. In present day society we tend to think “go, go, go”, if we could retrain our brains to focus on “slow, slow, slow” our body and soul would reap a ton of physiological benefits. Better yet, chances are we would get even more done each day without that exhausted feeling. 

So how do we do this? It is simple. Literally say to yourself when you feel like you are running around a mile a minute: “Slow, slow, slow”. Even while getting tasks done, we can mindfully create a slowness within, as opposed to sending our bodies into a state of rushed stress. One of my favorite tools is to use the breath. We have this tool 24/7 and can use it immediately. Taking 3 slow breaths (inhale through the nose for 6 counts, exhale through the mouth for 6 slow counts) makes all the difference if you feel your body moving toward fight or flight mode.

If you need a little extra something to calm the nervous system, add in a neck stretch with your 3 breaths:

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As for those adrenals – here is a fun and easy recipe:

THE ADRENAL COCKTAIL

Chock full of vitamins and minerals, this healthy cocktail will support those stressed out adrenals. There are many variations of the recipe, but the foundational ingredients are the three below:

  • 6 oz. orange juice (fresh squeezed or cold pressed like Evolution brand)  (for Vitamin C)

  • 2 Tbsp. organic raw cream or coconut cream (for potassium)

  •  1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of Sea Salt (for sodium)                                                                                                BLEND AND ENJOY

 

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MASTER YOUR TIME

hourglass tattoo ideas and hourglass meaning

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

-Mark Twain

It seems as though some people get everything done effortlessly while others feel that time constantly eludes them.  The key to successful time management isn’t about working more hours, it’s about making your hours work for you. Once we learn how to prioritize the important things, we use our time more efficiently and are more effective.  We work smarter, not harder.

Some of us are natural organizers and get tasks out of the way before we relax, while others of us choose to play first and then work. Whichever way suits you, it is important to make sure the style is allowing you to live the life you truly want.  Are you organized at work, but feel out of sorts when you get home? Or are you a pro at leisure, but lacking drive at work? Feeling unfulfilled when it comes to life goals and dreams?

Wherever you fall, rather than labeling yourself or beating yourself up, I would encourage you to recognize that time management is a skill that you can attain and strengthen. Like a muscle, it takes practice and repetition to make it stronger. Below are a few steps to help you get started.  Pick the two that appeal to you the most and go for it.

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TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS

♦ Set aside time  for planning and  organizing frequently

♦ Create  to-­do lists  that are realistic,  not intimidating. Use only  one to-­do list

♦ “Under”schedule  your time: leave  time for the unexpected  and for interruptions. When  you estimate how long something  will take, add on 1/3 of that time.

♦ Schedule your time in  a way that reduces interruptions  which lower your productivity

♦ In the morning, check work email before social email.  Complete one task before checking your social email.

♦ Consider the Art of “Intelligent Neglect”: eliminate trivial tasks

♦ Take the time to Prioritize your to do list.

♦ Know your prime  time: at what time  of day do you work best?  Plan to do your most important work at that time.

♦ If you find yourself saying yes to everything and feel overwhelmed, recognize it is MORE THAN OK to say “NO”!  And try it!

♦ Ask for  help and delegate.  It is helpful to have several friends and co-workers that you can rely on in different areas of your life.  Take the time to create a team of people you can really count on.

♦ Make your ‘to do list’ every evening for the following day, so it will be out of your brain and on a piece of paper.  That way you will be able to go to bed with a clear head and wake up prepared, ready to go. Remember, chance favors the prepared mind.  Be sure to leave work with a clean desk.

♦ Acknowledge  yourself daily  for what you have  accomplished. Write down 1 or 2 of these things.

 

WHAT MIGHT BE STOPPING YOU FROM MANAGING YOUR TIME WELL!

Keep in mind these two major roadblocks that impede us from using our time effectively: procrastination and lack of purpose

We usually procrastinate  when a task seems too daunting,  too large, or too complex that we feel  we won’t be able to handle it. Try breaking the larger task in smaller, manageable actions steps, and start with the first one.  Stay focused on just that ONE step until it is complete.

When we aren’t connected to the purpose of task, often it won’t even get started. Recognize whether or not the task is essential to getting done. There are times when a ‘to do’ must get done as a means to an end.  In this case set aside a time (I suggest during a “peak energy” time block) to accomplish the task and allow yourself a small reward upon completion. Commit to seeing the task through.   Other times we may need to have a serious gut check and ask ourselves what our intention is behind getting the current task done. If it is not in alignment with our purpose or greater goals perhaps we need to redirect our time and energy.  Being bored, unengaged or uninspired are red flags. It is OK to pause and ask yourself the important questions. “Am I doing what I love to do? Am I doing something that has meaning to me?” Time management should never feel like a chore, rather it should feel like a tool to hone in on what you value, to get organized and to get closer to living the life you came here for.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.   ~Benjamin Franklin

 

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Mindful Eating

MINDFUL EATING

So often we eat mindlessly. We stuff food in while working on our computer, watching TV, or on the run. The pleasure of eating lies in slowing down and fully experiencing all elements of food. Take some time to explore each of the following during your next meal:

Sight: In many cultures, the aesthetics is just as important as the taste. Take a moment to recognize the art in food.

Smell: Bring the food up to your nose. Without naming the scent, experience smelling the food, then describe what you smell.

Physiological reaction: Now focus on what is going on in your mouth. Begin to notice that saliva happens, even though you haven’t put the food in your mouth. You’re noticing a mind/body phenomenon the senses responding to the anticipation that something’s going to be eaten.

Touch: Now explore how the food feels. Without naming the feeling, just experience touching your food.

Motion and movement:  How is it that your hand actually knows how to get the food to the lips, without going past the face altogether? As you bring the food up to your lips, notice what happens next. The mouth receives the food. Nothing goes into the mouth without it being received. And who or what is doing the receiving? The tongue. Now watch what the tongue does with it. How does it get the food between the teeth? It’s amazing that the tongue is so skilled, such a remarkable muscle that it can actually receive food and then keep it between the teeth.

Taste: After becoming aware of the food in your mouth, start biting into it, very slowly. Then begin to chew. Notice that the tongue decides which side of the mouth it’s going to chew on. Give all your attention to your mouth and take a few bites. Then stop to experience what’s happening. And what’s happening is invariably an explosion of hundreds of words that describe the experience called tasting.

Texture: As you continue to chew, the taste changes. And so does the consistency. At a certain point you will become aware of the texture of the food because the taste has mostly passed. The texture becomes a bit aversive and you may want to swallow it.

Swallowing: Don’t swallow it yet. Stay with the aversion, as well as the impatience and the inborn impulse to swallow. Do not swallow until you detect the impulse to do so. And then observe what is involved in actually getting the food over to the place where it’s going to be swallowed. When you detect the impulse to swallow, follow it down into the stomach, feel your whole body and acknowledge that your body is now exactly one bite heavier.

Breath: Next, after a pause for a moment or two, see if you can taste your breath in a similar way. Bring the same quality of attention that you gave to seeing the food, feeling the food, smelling the food, tasting the food to the breath.

Silence: Then, drop into silence. By this point, you understand something of what meditation is. It’s doing what we do all the time, except we’re doing it with attention: directed, moment-to-moment, non-judgmental attention.

The main thing is to have fun, learn something and understand yourself better.  Here is a check list that will help get you going:

Mindful Eating Checklist

*Make eating an act all by itself.

*Be aware of the types of conversation you are having with others while you eat.

*Do not eat when upset.

*Eat while you are sitting down, this does not mean sitting in a car and driving.

*Check in and see how hungry you are before starting.

*Sit in silence a minute before you begin eating.

*Imagine the food you are going to eat before you eat and see how it feels in your body.

*Do not gulp down your food savor each mouthful and chew well before you swallow.

*Do not eat until you are overly full. Leave some room in your stomach to enhance digestion.

*After you are done notice how the food you just ate is making your body feel.

~BON APPETIT ~

 

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YOUR MIND! OPT TO OBSERVE IT

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How often throughout our busy workday do we genuinely observe where our mind naturally wanders?  Does it take us into a state of fantasy? humor? stress? fear?  More importantly – do we like where we end up..  The beauty of pausing to recognize what emotional state our mind brings us into, is that we might also realize the choice is actually ours, not our minds.  The power of choice when it comes to our thoughts is just as (or perhaps more) important as where we choose to spend our time and with whom.  Once we can harness our minds as a true tool, we can free ourselves of emotional states that do not serve us.  

So today I invite you to take 5 minutes for observation.  Follow your mind, where does it lead you? Do you like what you see?  

NOT HAPPY WITH WHERE YOUR THOUGHTS TOOK YOU?  

Rather than our minds being the boss, we can start to master our own minds.  It is key to listen, get to know your thought tendencies, acknowledge the underlying messages, make peace with your thoughts and retrain where/when needed.  Remember to always maintain an attitude of compassion when approaching thought control, our minds have downloaded years of information from our environment and experiences.

Below are six tips that might help you land in a more desirable place:

TIP 1:  LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND

Our thoughts are just like people, they have a need to be listened to and understood.  Before we can shift our thoughts, we have to listen to and acknowledge them.  Once our minds know we are paying attention to them, they can relax and let us guide them in a different direction.  We might even initially thank our minds for reminding ourselves to not repeat mistakes from our past.

TIP 2: BE AT PEACE

No matter how negative, intense or off the wall you find your thoughts – learn to make peace with them.   If you were trying to avoid a fight with an aggressive person, would you run into their fist when they are  swinging?  Probably not.  Remember that pain usually lies underneath anger.  Once the thoughts simmer, become a detective and try to figure out what your thoughts are truly saying.

TIP 3: THOUGHTS ARE NOTHING BUT THOUGHTS. 

Because we cannot physically see our thoughts, it might be hard to step outside of them.  Hence it’s easy to accept them as they are rather than stop to consider how much they are influenced by our environment, physical state, relationships, what we read and what we see.  We can let ourselves fall prey to our mental habits or take the time to change the unhealthy ones into healthy thinking.  ,

TIP 4:  STOP AND OBSERVE

Meditation is simple – all you need to do is hit the pause button and shift from doer to observer.    Even just 1-5 minutes of mindfulness will go a long way.   What must precede knowledge?  Time.  We must take the time to get to know our minds and what thoughts they tend towards.  It’s just like any relationship – in oder to develop knowledge of and respect for – we must spend time with the other party.   Start checking in with your mind on a daly basis, otherwise it may have you “checking out” of life a bit too much 😉

TIP 5: REWIRE NEGATIVE PATTERNS

Most of us are familiar with the sayings “we are what we repeatedly do” and “we see what we believe”.  Our thinking literally becomes patterned in our brains through specific neural connections.  In essence, our minds can become stuck on autopilot.  Before we can get off of autopilot, we have to acknowledge the negative patterns we are stuck in and how they are biasing our perceptions.   We must refocus our mind on the PRESENT experience rather reacting in ways that belong to our past.

TIP 6:  EMBRACE THE MESSAGE WITH COMPASSION

We cannot change our gut reactions nor the thoughts they bring, but we can change how we react to them.  Some of us may have been taught to believe that negative thoughts are wrong.  Yet in actuality if we judge our feelings, we may be missing the signals they are trying to give us.  Instead of criticizing ourselves, we can support the needs that we may be neglecting.   When we manage our vulnerable thoughts properly we end up in a place of growth that leads to confidence and strength.  Take the time to navigate the difficult feelings while staying grounded in the present and seeing through the right perspective.  Focus on the message underlying the negative emotion, not the emotion itself.

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8 SIMPLE SELF-CARE TOOLS

  1. MEDITATION:  Believing that mediation requires an hour of silence in a zen-like atmosphere is a common misconception.  A mere THREE MINUTES! of stillness and focused breathing has proven to quell anxiety, ease depression and ignite a positive mental state.  Anywhere, anytime – one can “meditate”.

2.  LAUGHTER:  Let it be thy medicine.   Why? Well, first off it triggers the release of       endorphins (our bod’s natural feel-good chemicals) which in turn promotes an overall sense of wellbeing.  Secondly, laughing decreases stress hormones while it increases immune cells – keeping us more resistant to disease.   Here are two clean one liners should you need a dose:

one: Why don’t scientists trust atoms?  Because they make up everything!!

two: Knock knock. Who’s there? Smell mop. (finish this joke in your head)

3.  A PLEASURE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY:  Think about what activities you LOVE to do and relish in one of them everyday, however small.  Ten minute walk, coloring, sipping hot cocoa, writing, soaking in the bath tub, you name it.

4.  SUPPORT:  Join a group!  With access to the internet these days, finding the right group for you is but a google search away.  Other places to discover such groups are your local public library or community college.  Support, fresh ideas and camaraderie are so essential to our health.   Many folks who work from home struggle from depression and it has been linked to lack of face-face interaction.  Get out there!

5.  Say “NO” – We are bombarded with demands from others in our fast paced society – socially and professionally.  Remember, you are allowed to say no, you are allowed to turn your phone off and disconnect, set your boundaries!

6.  PURCHASE (or make!) A WEIGHTED BLANKET: These blankets are typically used for ADHD and anxiety, but can provide soothing relief for just about anyone who is experiencing being a human 😉  Drape it on yourself when you watch a movie or nap.

7.  EAT CLEAN: Yes, you’ll feel better about yourself, but (most importantly) feeding yourself well allows your body to function optimally.  We were designed to run on whole, not processed, foods!

8. MOVE:  Movement IS medicine.  Any kind of movement – gardening, dancing, weight lifting, stretching – get off that rear and into gear!

 

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Life Lessons From A Remote Medical Professional

I recently returned home from a month-long Wilderness First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician course in Leavenworth, Washington.

The course content was invaluable, but the icing on the cake was the people I interacted with daily.  Having served in the military I have crossed paths with many folks who dedicate their lives to the service of others.  I am always intrigued to learn more about what inspired them to step onto such a path. Two people stood out at me at the Remote Medical International training.  One of my instructors and one of my classmates.  I know that myself and the other 24 students learned a ton from them both during the four weeks we spent together, and I wanted to pay forward their lifestyle wisdom to as many people possible.  As they sure do make this world a better place.

This first interview is with Megan McCarthy, Remote EMT and Training Instructor

  1. How do you prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally for a trip?

“In general, I maintain a baseline fitness.  That means every day I expect myself to get in some sort of cardio and some strength work.  I’m very into yoga as well, it combines breathing and meditation which is huge for mental health.  Again, it’s all about maintenance.  Prior to going on a bigger trip, I start tweaking my training to the specific sport I’m going on.  For example, if it was a sea kayaking trip I would work more on upper body and core strength.   In between trips I never become so sedentary that I am out of shape.   I find that because of this I have stayed very healthy and have had very few overuse injuries.

  1. You are clearly leading a life of extreme service, a path that not every person takes.  What led you to this path and what keeps you on it?

“The generic answer is that I like helping people, but what I’ve found is that this is the way for me to reach the greatest amount of people – to have the biggest impact possible within my community.   What keeps me going is that I love the work and the community that surrounds me. “

  1. Who has been the most influential leader in your life and why?

“My patrol director, Sam Llobet.  He’s a good friend of mine first and foremost, but he is also my boss.   Yet if I were to introduce as my boss, he’d get really mad at me.  Sam prefers to be known as my friend.  He leads by building mutual respect, but he also has one of the soundest minds and makes crystal clear decisions.  I trust him wholeheartedly. “

  1. Given all your experience up until now I imagine you have seen things that have been quite challenging to process. If there were one piece of advice you could give your past self to keep her emotionally strong, what would it be?

“It’s OK to ask for help”

  1. As an emergency medical provider in remote settings you are putting yourself in precarious situations. Do you have a fear of death and, if so, how do you handle it?

“I absolutely do.  And the people I work with are my family so the fear that they may get hurt and die is also very prevalent.  It is a huge fear of mine.  So, I live in the present.  Each day is each day.

6.  You learn a lot in a short amount of time, how do you keep your brain sharp?

“Nutrition and exercise.  And coffee 😊.   When it comes to nutrition I’m a huge fan of eating when you’re hungry and keeping a well-balanced diet of proteins, veggies and a few carbs.  I also love probiotics, like yogurt and kombucha. I think there is a definite connection between mental health and gut health.

7.  Not everyone is forced to take a hard look at themselves in life. Has your career in the field shown you your biggest strength and weakness?

“Yes. It absolutely has shown me my strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s because it forces me to be vulnerable every day.  It does not allow me to live with an ego. “

 

Thank you, Megan, for your time and service.  Thank you for being passionate about what you do and for finding what makes you come alive.  Congratulations on your marriage to Ben come this August!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

 

 

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