There are so many different aspects that play into our well-being. When learning that this month’s theme for Ampersand’s blog posts was going to be “mental health & well-being” I felt excited to write about this topic. This past year has been quite a roller coaster as I navigated the everchanging waters of pregnancy.
Long before I became pregnant, I was on a mission to feel more connected to my feminine body. Due to certain traumas I’ve experienced in the past, I lacked confidence and sometimes would feel uncomfortable in my own body. I ached to feel comfortable embracing my femininity. I wanted to allow the tenacious, empowered, goddess version of myself to shine through. Yet first I had to remove the blockages. I had to heal the parts of my wounded feminine self before I could return to the person I knew I really was.
Connecting to the Body
Yoga and meditation have been of tremendous help in establishing a deeper connection to myself and the body I’ve been given. I’ve learned to utilize the breath to surrender into each yoga pose. Breathing deeply into my body and moving slowly, I focus my awareness on the areas in my body where I feel discomfort or where I may be holding tension and grief. I learn to be curious and explore, and allow whatever emotions come to the surface to pour through me. And when I work with clients, these are things I gently encourage them to explore as well.
I teach my yoga students (and I also practice this myself) to release resistance. I believe this work never ends… hence why we call it yoga + meditation PRACTICE. In these moments, I trust that the energy and emotion I feel moving through me is exactly what I need to feel in order to release limiting beliefs and patterns that are no longer serving me. Healing is extremely uncomfortable, yet when you start to shed away layers of who you thought you were and come home to who you actually are, you feel lighter and lighter. Some may even use the word liberating.
I have known for years now the miraculous breakthroughs I can experience through an intentional yoga and meditation practice. Yet during my pregnancy and postpartum period, when my hormones were fluctuating and my emotions were high, it felt very challenging and almost impossible for me to show up for the things I knew would make me feel better. I’m sure others reading this may have shared similar experiences at some point in their life. You know the things that make your spirit dance, that bring you back to a state of joy. Yet when you are in the deep dark hole of BIG emotions, it feels like you have bricks on your feet trying to move forward. It can be hard to show up.
Doing what feels right
So, when a deep meditation practice, yoga practice, spiritual ceremony, or your own version of healing practices and anything in between seems very far away, there are other things you can do first to tend to your mental health. I share these very simple yet powerful acts in hopes that if you put this into practice and allow yourself to first release in whatever way DOES feel good in that moment, you can then bring yourself to show up for the activities that can fill you back up.
When you’re feeling very BIG emotions try…
- Cry it out. Let it flow, whether its deep sadness, anger, overwhelm, whatever it is… try not to suppress the emotion. Allow yourself to FEEL it… this alone will help the energy move through your body quicker.
- Move your body. Shake it out. Jump around throwing your arms in the air, shaking your head, even if you look a little crazy I promise you will feel better. If you are a runner, go for a run until you feel some of the resistance leaving your body.
- Take deep breaths. In and out through the nose, really focus on expanding your belly as you inhale.
- Reach out to someone that is a good listener, who you know will be able to hold space for what you have to share. Sometimes just talking through things makes a huge difference. You might feel your body start to relax as your mind begins to integrate the experience you’re having.
Listen… really listen.
In sharing this, my biggest piece of advice is listen to your body. The body holds so much wisdom. If something doesn’t feel right, you get that gut feeling or that ball in your throat, these are messages! Listen to the emotions, don’t necessarily always act upon them. Show up in the ways that feel right to you in each moment, not in the ways the mind says you should. Have grace with yourself. Everyone goes through periods in their life where it is easier to get triggered into a high emotional state. The holiday season is certainly no exception to this.
If you or anyone you know needs support in feeling more empowered in the choices they make or would like to strengthen the connection to the body, email email@example.com . Sending lots of love to each one of you. I honor the light within you. May your spirit dance as you liberate the mind and body… <3