Are you ready for the "big stuff"?

It has been a crazy couple of weeks here in the Midwest. As you are either personally experiencing or have heard on the news, we have had literally hundreds of tornadoes come through and now our rivers are overflowing resulting in major flooding. 

In fact, I was visiting Jefferson City, MO (where I lived for 34 years) during the devastating tornado last week. I was asleep at my dad's home and awoke to the sirens. Scary night for everyone. The tornado landed about 1/2 mile from his home. The devastation the next day was heartbreaking and shocking.

Then just a few days later, levees breached resulting in flooding from the Missouri river into farm land and low bottom land.

That is a lot to take in such a short time.

So it got me to thinking...how do we prepare for such "big stuff" without going into complete overload?

Honestly, the go to response for most people (without realizing it) is just pure adrenaline.  People are often running on that energy of urgency and "push through to do what we need to do".  This really can serve in the short run. However, over time or when there are compound events, this will not really continue to work. Over time, it will lead to stress related symptoms, illness, and exhaustion

So what can we do instead? 

Create daily, ongoing practices of self-care to build resiliency. 

It's kind of like getting ready to run or walk a marathon, you prepare daily over a long period of time.

Life is the ultimate marathon. We need those daily practices to allow the mind to settle and the body to come into some balance.

Here are my suggestions to get you started on some daily practices:

1. Breathe.  Take the time to focus on some slow, deep belly breaths every day, as often as you can remember. This will help the body come out of fight or flight and into a "rest and digest" mode. The more you build this rest and digest state, the easier you can manage stressful times. There are many other breath work (pranayama) techniques...we will cover more in future posts!

2. Stillness/Prayer/Meditation time.  Create at least a few moments each day to be still. Take this time to meditation, pray or just sit.  This practice cultivates a calm body and mind and starts to teach the mind to focus and not stay in monkey mind mode. It allows space for a deeper connection to our Higher Self, made of wisdom and love. As we connect more to our Higher Self, we are able to handle what comes our way with more grace and ease.

3. Be mindful and present in the moment. One of the biggest causes of stress is our thinking mind. It can go all over the place and never stop! This constant thinking and worry is very stressful. In fact, most of what we worry about never even happens!  If we can cultivate a practice of coming to the moment, over and over again, we can begin to be less focused on the "what if's" and more focused on "what is". As we do that we take actions for what is in front of us vs. what our mind can conjure up as a possibility.

If you are in the midst of "big stuff" and feel overwhelmed or unprepared, just start with one or two of these practices. Begin to build that daily practice and you will find yourself handling what comes your way with more ease.

My wish for safety, healing and rebuilding goes out to all the people and communities impacted by these storms and floods as well as to the communities around the country and world still healing from previous major disasters.