We are all very aware of the significant events occurring in our world right now. Understandably there is a collective energy force of fear rapidly spreading too as a result. And although many of us know that fear itself weakens our immune system, it can feel very challenging not to be consumed by fear because it is a primal, survival response.
What we can do however is build and strengthen our inner resources to support us during such difficult times. So many people struggle without a core resilience for life’s great challenges. Through no fault of their own, their life and sense of self has been built upon a weak foundation. Therefore when a crises occurs either personal or global, they very quickly find themselves battered and overwhelmed by the storms of life and the related feelings of fear, anxiety and even panic can take over.
On The Bridge Retreat we work with the metaphor of a tent to highlight that if we don’t have the basic ‘tent pegs’ for our life firmly fixed into the ground, then we, just like an untethered tent, will either collapse or indeed blow away in the storm. Each tent peg represents a simple and yet essential basic requirement for building a firm foundation and developing strong inner resources to weather the storms of life.
Below we offer you the six tent pegs to support you in keeping your own tent firmly tethered! Stay safe and well.
TENT PEG ONE – SLEEP
Making sure you get enough rest and sleep is key to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Simple and yet so important. Creating a sleep preparation routine can be highly effective to enable your mind and body to switch off, relax and fall into deep restful sleep. The preparation includes turning off all gadgets at least half an hour before bedtime and keeping them out of the bedroom. Dimming the lights, a warm bath, listening to soothing music or guided meditations and regular bed and wake up times are all helpful. Magnesium is also a great supplement to help you sleep. Sweet dreams!
TENT PEG TWO – EXERCISE
No surprises here that exercise is such a key part of building our own strong foundations, especially in such sedentary times. Many of us spend hours in front of screens with sitting described as ‘the new smoking’ by The World Health Organisation. So get up, get active, get moving. Even if you simply put on some music and shake your body for five minutes, you will feel the difference in your energy levels. There are so many online gym and yoga classes now so no excuses! Dancing is also a great workout. Find what works for you and commit to it. Regular movement throughout the day is key. Set your watch to ensure you get up and stretch at least every hour. If possible schedule in daily walks or runs alongside your other exercise routine.
TENT PEG THREE – NUTRITION
A simple reminder of the importance of nutrition in helping to sustain a holistically healthy lifestyle. There is a lot of new research showing how depression and anxiety can stem in part from the gut. So if this is an area of your life you struggle with in terms of self care, do consider working with a nutritionist or there’s some great books and free online guidance to get you on track. There are also lots of online cooking classes or you could dig out the recipe books, listen to some music and create some wonderful food. Also just a reminder that nutrition extends beyond food to all areas of your life. Ask yourself how nutritious are your relationships, your choices and your thoughts? What do you need to do differently here?
TENT PEG FOUR – CONNECTION & SOLITUDE
As humans we need a mixture of connection with others alongside time by ourselves in solitude. Some of us tend to be more naturally social types whilst others tend to be more ‘loners’. But we do need abit of both. Time to reach out and connect and time to bring our energy back towards ourselves. Alone not lonely. Finding a good balance helps support our mental and emotional well-being. Even in these times of social distancing, we can connect with others through phone calls, FaceTime, writing letters or sending cards to those we love. When in solitude, try if you can to include nature and be alone outside for periods without gadgets! For example if you go for a walk, don’t take your phone. Radical!!
TENT PEG FIVE – NATURE & ANIMALS
Check with yourself how much time you are spending in nature. It’s so important to connect to the earth through walking amongst trees, on grass, by the ocean or in the mountains. If this isn’t easy for you, as it isn’t for most city dwellers, find little ways to connect, like walking through the park or sitting by the river. Or finding ways to bring more of nature into your home with plants and flowers etc. We ARE nature. We belong amongst it. And if you like animals, find ways to be more with them. Walk a friends dog, feed the ducks,cuddle a cat, whatever is needed to help you connect.
TENT PEG SIX: CREATIVITY & PLAY
It is so important to continue to explore and express ourselves creatively and find ways to play and have fun in life. Especially as we are spending more time indoors right now. Consider what you used to love to do as a child… sing, dance, draw, write, paint, build, perform… whatever is true. No doubt this will still be something you enjoy. So make time for creative expression, book an online dance class, paint a picture, sing in the shower, write a poem. Whatever brings you more alive, do it. Also making time daily, yes daily for fun. Allow lightness and silliness into your daily schedule. Laugh lots because life is serious enough!
“Discovering more joy does not save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreaks without being broken.”