4 Tips to make you feel good
Saturday June 12th was International Wellness Day! For the occasion, I would like to come back to my top tips for doing yourself good.
1. Meditate / Breathe
Meditation is to exist, in full consciousness. Focus on the present. For me it's also the possibility of creating a space - this space between a stimuli and your response. By practicing meditation, you will develop over time the ability to choose your response, instead of reacting mechanically. Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that people spend nearly 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they're currently doing... Can you imagine? We spend half our time thinking about the past or the future, in any case about something other than what we are doing in the moment. Meditating, or doing a cycle of intentional breathing, where we focus on our breathing, therefore on the present moment, helps us to cut spirals of thoughts, and do us good. Meditation has many health benefits, and can help you sleep. That's more or less why I started meditation initially around 2018, I couldn't fall asleep well at night since as soon as I lay down it seemed that my thoughts were more agitated while it was time to calm down and rest. Thank you meditation! There are actually many forms. And if sitting to meditate isn't for you, you're thinking of trying walking meditation, eating meditation (mindful eating), or finding an activity you enjoy that allows you to be fully present in the moment and not elsewhere in your thoughts such as dancing, yoga, surfing, or playing an instrument. To start meditation, or to practice it afterwards, there are many resources. Here are a few :
Headspace application: this is the one I use. I think you can do their 10 day meditation program for free
Insight Timer application to meditate for free, I use it too :)
Cardiac Coherence (example here), if you can't meditate or if you don't like meditation, it's a breathing exercise to calm stress.
Otherwise, in my coaching accompaniments, I also help my clients to start a meditative practice.
2. Practice yoga
Yoga! It's interesting when I think about it. I had tried a first yoga class in 2013 with a colleague, and I didn't like it at all. Then in 2018 when I was living in Dublin, I started testing Yoga classes outside of work and also at Google, in the office.
I had a completely different experience. In the summer of 2018 I relocated to San Francisco and from then on I started to practice yoga very assiduously; once or twice a week, for 1 hour. I quickly developed strength, inner and outer, and a new state of mind. Yoga made me feel good; it allowed me to give myself a moment of pause and synchronize my breathing and my movements. It allowed me to tame my inner riches a little more. With the arrival of Covid, I had to switch to an online course format, or to watch videos from YouTube. While my sister was going through a very difficult period of her life, in full burnout, I told her about yoga and its benefits and also that "You start and then you'll see, one day you simply realize that you've been doing yoga for 2 years already". And then the same thing happened to her; a year later she reminded me of my sentence and told me that she had already been practicing for a year, whereas she had never tried it before. And it did her good.
To give you a basic notion of what yoga is, I will use the definition of passportsanté (French site):
"Yoga is the practice of a set of postures and breathing exercises that aims to bring physical and mental well-being. This ancient art of living as explained in the texts reveals itself as an initiatory path that transcends physical discipline.
The first references to yoga are found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali written around 200 years before our era. In this book we understand the foundation of the philosophy of yoga and its possible application in all spheres of our lives.
And good news, I will soon be able to tell you a lot more about yoga and even pass it on to you. Indeed, I made the decision to train myself in yoga.
I registered for the "Yoga Teacher Training 200 hours" at Transformational Yoga in Paris (Yoga Alliance certified) at the start of the school year in September 2022. I will keep you informed of this new adventure!
In the meantime, if you want to learn or try yoga again, here are some resources:
Embark with Breathe and Flow, 7 days Yoga journey, for beginners, in English
Yoga With Adrienne: I used this Youtube channel a lot for the richness and diversity of courses offered for free. You can find a routine for the morning, for the evening, something more dynamic, or a slower session according to your tastes.
YogaCoaching: more recently a friend told me about this yoga YouTube channel (in French), which I really appreciate. You can find yoga there according to durations too, by level, styles, according to mood, etc.
I can't write you an article on "feeling good" without telling you about my long-time passion... dancing! When I was little, I danced out of bed. Literally I say "jumping out of bed", because we had bunk beds with my little sister and I was on top, and in the morning I jumped the ladder a little (not to be reproduced at home ;p).
Dance for me is a means of expression. It's another way to connect to my interior, and to express my inside to the outside. It is a language. It's therapy.
When I was 20, I really started to take my passion a little more seriously and I went to enroll in a dance class. This is how I discovered Emy and her non-profit behind the Just Shake it dance crew. These courses helped me to find a family, real friends, with whom I am still connected 12 years later, but above all helped me to build the self-confidence, which I missed so much. Dance transformed me.
It is therefore quite natural to me that I dance if I need a "pick-up", or to do myself some good. Let our hearts dance :).
Even without going as far as practicing dance regularly and even less becoming a semi-pro, I invite you to lend yourself for a few minutes to an exercise in letting go. Play your favorite music (this song Antidote is driving me crazy right now!), close your eyes or not, and let the sound carry you... Let your body move, as it wants. Nobody is watching you. Feel free <3.
And if you want to explore dance more, I offer occasional exercises around dance and movement in my accompaniments or my workshops (like during our last workshop "A Soi Fée" on April 23 in Paris, article feedback on the experience to come).
Last but not least. Take a break. Disconnect. Set boundaries.
You don't like to work early in the morning or late at night? It's OK. Can you arrange to start a little later or finish a little earlier?
Do you practice a sport, yoga, dance? Why not block a slot in your agenda in the middle of the day for a break while moving? A few minutes for yourself, and it starts again; we come back to what we have accomplished with a fresher head, a more rested mind, and we gain in productivity in the end!
Sometimes when I have a challenge and I don't know how to approach it, I decide to leave my office. I'm going to walk, run an errand, get my mail, have a quick dance, do some housework, or just go sit in silence somewhere else physically, and then sometimes the solution comes to me. Yesterday, it was while doing my yoga and my meditation that I came up with the idea of the instagram reel which is at the origin of this article.
Our best ideas don't come to us when we expect them at our desk, most often.
Would you agree with that?
Personally, I have a golden rule that I respect as much as possible. Of course once in a while there will be an exception, I'll make a different choice, and that's OK. But I choose not to work on weekends. As much as possible I do not work in the evening either. I have already come close to burnout and I see in my family all the suffering that it can cause. It is important for me to preserve myself, because I am in the "long term game".
I need time for myself, for my dance, my friends, and alone time with myself, because I love myself. I know it's part of my balance, and it's up to everyone to find their own and set their limits. But we have to set our own limits.
If you need support to find your balanced routine, your harmony, your own rituals, that's also something I do with my clients! Let's make an appointment and discuss it.
Of course there are many more ways to make yourself feel good! You have to explore, and see what works for you.
And you, what are your tips for feeling good?