{Nurture} Be Calm

First of all, thank you for all the kind words of support about our first issue.  Camilla and I are beyond grateful.  Truly.

With the magazine's launch, I can say with absolutely certainty that we both were feeling some stress.  It is in times like this that is SUPER important to remember to relax.  Stress does all sorts of nasty things to your body (like cause headaches, upset stomach, and sleeping problems). Beginning to feel stressed can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, so here are a few tips that I find help reduce (and even stop) stress and its effects:

1. When I feel stressed, all of the muscles in my body go into full-tension-lock-down mode.  It is a terrible feeling that ends up making me feel more stressed.  And it is at these moments that I find a quiet spot, close the door, and do at least 3 Sun Salutations (just like chocolates, one is never enough when it comes to Sun Salutations).  If you've never done yoga before, don't worry.  A Sun Salutation is basically 12 fancy stretching poses.  Here is a great diagram from The Yoga Site to help you through (there are also a myriad of videos online):

1. Mountain

Begin by standing in Mountain pose, feet about hip width apart, hands either by your sides or in prayer position. Take several deep breaths.

2. Hands up

On your next inhale, in one sweeping movement, raise your arms up overhead and gently arch back as far as feels comfortable and safe.

3. Head to knees


As you exhale, bend forward, bending the knees if necessary, and bring your hands to rest beside your feet.

4. Lunge

Inhale and step the right leg back

5. Plank

Exhale and step the left leg back into plank position. Hold the position and inhale.

6. Stick

Exhale and lower yourself as if coming down from a pushup. Only your hands and feet should touch the floor.

7. Upward Dog

Inhale and stretch forward and up, bending at the waist. Use your arms to lift your torso, but only bend back as far as feels comfortable and safe. Lift your legs up so that only the tops of your feet and your ahnds touch the floor. It's okay to keep your arms bent at the elbow.

8. Downward dog

Exhale, lift from the hips and push back and up.

9. Lunge

Inhale and step the right foot

10. Head to knees

Exhale, bring the left foot forward and step into head-to-knee position.

11. Hands up

Inhale and rise slowly while keeping arms extended .

12. Mountain

Exhale, and in a slow, sweeping motion, lower your arms to the sides. End by bringing your hands up into prayer position. Repeat the sequence, stepping with the left leg.

2. Breathe.  Stress causes the body to take shallow breaths, bringing less oxygen to your blood, causing the body to work slower.  Taking slow, deep breaths is an automatic signal to your body to calm down.  Start by inhaling (through your nose) for 4 counts.  Hold your breath for 4 counts and then exhale (through your mouth) for 4 counts.  Repeat.  As you become more relaxed, extend the length of time you hold and exhale the breath.  6 counts, then 8 counts, then 16 counts.  Not only will the breathing deeply relax you, focusing on counting each breath will help refocus your brain away from the things that are stressing you out.

3. Think positive.  This can be one of the most annoying things anyone can say to you when you are feeling stressed, so be sure to either do the breathing or the sun salutations (or both) before you move to step 3.  Once you are feeling a little more calm, take a moment and make a list of 3 things you are grateful for.  This can be a mental list or a physical one and it can be full of big or small gratitudes, like being grateful for beautiful weather, or the love of your significant other.  Really acknowledge these three things and thank the universe for them.

Now, notice: are you feeling a little better?  Somedays when you are feeling overwhelmed, little changes in how you feel are Everest sized victories.  Celebrate these, you'll be feeling more balanced in no time.