May we shift & stay steady.
Social distancing is a commitment that we are all being asked to honor right now during an unprecedented time for many of us. We are all in a state of challenge and uncertainty. I recognize that there are floods of thoughts, feelings, and information swirling around. My heart hurts for each and every one of us living this right now. Every single feeling is real, important and will have a lasting impact on us all. As an integrative health coach, occupational therapist/youth yoga instructor and natural solutions educator I am trying my best to do what I know how. I will continue to show up, share, encourage, and support you in the way my service heart is called to do. I hope there is something here that may bring you light and empowerment during this darkness. I am learning, growing, and figuring this out with you. May we shift and stay steady.
Last night I shared space with a great group of ladies. This tribe gathered together around our computer screens for a virtual check-in. I want to share what we talked about here. I offered some routines that I am leaning into to keep me grounded and rooted in a commitment to myself. Yes, these routines have honestly been at a slower pace this week, some at different times than usual, and I have been figuring out a new normal with all things in order to continue showing up for me, my family, and my community.
As my tribe gals gathered, I was drawn to kick off our time together leading in with a little stretching and breathing on purpose. I don’t know if you’ve done some of this in your day, but I feel there is so much power in this simple little practice. Our bodies hold an incredible amount of tension. Oftentimes we don’t even realize how much it is building up. It’s this tension, that over time can wreak havoc on our mind, body, and spirit. Just the simple act of taking a few moments to scan our bodies, give our neck and shoulders a little rub, stretch it out and engage in some deep belly breathing, creates a shift in mind, body and spirit. This pause is a shift that we can lean into as a supportive guide right now. No, it’s not going to make this incredible amount of “unknown”, “ever changing” and “to-be-determined” factors we are all experiencing disappear. It’s not going to take away how incredibly weird and even scary all this feels, as we currently shift from our everyday routines into a new present. This pause practice is not taking away the truth that we have been torn away from our favorite places, people, and what we knew to be our constant in just a matter of days. But, the comfort I have found in this pause practice since personally committing to it in the past 6 years, has allowed me to feel control in whatever present shows up, despite what is going on around me, at least for a few moments in my day, I feel in control. This pause practice invites us to set up healthy boundaries with the information and thoughts that flood in. It’s not that the thoughts flooding in are invalid or that what we are feeling should be ignored, but allowing the quiet, focused pause moments, this turning inward, naturally slows down the flood. It’s how our brain works. It can help guide our attention and provide us with the ability to approach these uncharted thoughts in a more self-regulated/co-regulated, hopefully less anxious way. Check out a pause practice here: SBell Wellness Guided Relaxation to Release Tension
Next up we chatted about routine management. I shared the power behind time-blocking. Now hear me out, it doesn’t mean you need to pull out an agenda and put something into every minute of your day. My encouragement is to establish daily habits that are a new consistent or a shifted version of your usual routine. I have been implementing and working on keeping consistent routines in various areas of my life on a regular basis for some time now and it has been a very powerful tool to keep my mind, body, and spirit well. Now more than ever, it is showing to be an ever supportive guide that is keeping me steady. I invite you to make a list of “move forward with” things that are important to you and that you still want to commit to right now. The execution of these may look a little different than first intended, but you are still showing up for them. You may even include a list of things that because of the shift, you will be able to simultaneously commit to in an effective way when you see them all written out together. But before you sweep away and get busy with list making and doing, I encourage you to please commit to relaxation and downtime just as much as project and work completion. The body needs this balance more than ever. “Scheduling” these self care practices in the same way you would a commitment to a deadline or someone else’s expectation for you is just as essential. This is an opportunity for us to get this right. We can use this time to be more consistent to ourselves, our family, and even our community from a far. I believe this re-adjusting can actually guide us to have some clarity around things that we may have been giving our attention and energy to (often to the point of burn out). Maybe these “very important things” aren’t really as necessary or pertinent as we may have thought while in the hustle and bustle of it all.
There is a great health coaching resource to self-evaluate the areas of our life that I want to share with you is a tool called The Circle of Life. I love using this tool personally and in health coaching sessions to set goals, guide intentions, and organize wellness commitments. It allows us to take a look at and self-rate the areas of creativity, finances, career, education, health, physical activity, home cooking, home environment, relationships, social life, joy, and spirituality in our life. When we reflect on these areas we are able to focus in and ask ourselves what could I be doing to create more balance in one or more of these areas that I have rated. It is a great guide. You can find the FREE tool here: Circle of Life Tool . Check it out and let me know what you think. I’d love to help support you in using this guide. A printable version of it can also be used with all ages within the family if you’d like to take this time to reflect and build on this together.
Another area we chatted about last night is fueling up on good food and balancing the trips to the pantry. I touched on reaching for treats in a mindful way. I mean let me be honest, dark chocolate is an essential in my life, but making sure not to binge on it right now is something I have to be incredibly mindful of. I encourage an “eat the rainbow” philosophy. This is a whole topic in and of itself. I went into some specific recommendations recently in a recent issue of SBell Wellness Weekly Wellness Works newsletter (let me know if you want a copy). One of the key guiding nuggets I like to encourage on this topic is to know that additives, preservatives, artificial colors, sweeteners and flavors found in processed food generate adverse chemical reactions within our bodies and have a major impact on our mood and behavior. As we are working to shift and direct our emotional traffic and support our health and wellness right now, tuning into what we are fueling our body with through our meals is essential. It really is a great time to “crowd out”! We can walk away from the chemical soup that convenience eating can often leave us with and get into the kitchen to explore with ingredients, get creative with meals, and prepare food for ourselves and others with love and joy. Now, I am not insensitive to the fact that there are people that are experiencing lack right now and that real foods may not be readily accessible to all. I think we will all continue to think of ways that we can offer support to this now and forevermore.
I went on to chat about movement in our conversation last night. For some people this is a no brainer. You may have an established exercise routine and you are just shifting around the how, when, and where. For others, you may not have a daily routine and the thought of creating your own exercise routine is uncharted territory as well. My encouragement is give yourself grace. Know that movement is essential to life. Our cells are made up of powerhouse organelles that dictate our energy levels and movement fuels this process. So whether you're going for a walk or a jog, riding a bike, stretching and flowing through a yoga sequence, or sweating it out to one of a gazillion virtual workouts available to us right now...just do it!! Consistency is key. Vary the routine. Even if it's for 15 minutes a day. I also encourage you to get your head upside down. Inversion is incredibly regulating for the nervous system. Getting some blood flow to the front part of our brain supports this mental shift we are trying to figure out. Downward dog or forward fold are great ways to practice this. Come up slow. Don’t rush it! Flow with it!
Last but certainly not least, discussion about natural solutions weaved in and out of my conversation last night. Which for those of you who know me well or have spent any time with me, this is no surprise. When am I not talking about my routines that integrate plant supports? But in case you’re wondering why these are a constant in my routine, I want to share a little more of the why here. I will then share some specific oil routines I lean on in my daily routines. Did you know that essential oils help their own plants grow and develop vigorously in a wide variety of environments. Their natural chemical constituents actually provide protection from predators through promoting strong internal defense mechanisms (you know immune support). This natural makeup is essential for the plant to both survive and thrive, despite a variety of threats it encounters in the air, the soil, etc. Now how does that plant life relate back to us you ask? As humans, we are actually carbon-based beings just like plants. We too can lean into essential oils as a complementary tool to support our defenses. Good quality essential oils are easily accessible and transferable within the body. Their molecular size is designed for optimal absorption and cellular level support (notice I said good quality oils, not all essential oils on the market are created equal which means they will not all give you this therapeutic benefit you are seeking. I did a lot of reading up on this before I chose to be a doTERRA educator) you can check out more about this here why doTERRA). Embracing the use of these quality essential oils in my daily routine has promoted consistent support in my physical, mental and emotional health. I don’t claim that these oils are used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The amazing thing is that they are backed by growing scientific validation, but for me the discovery of integrating these into my own self care has shifted my overall wellness in mind, body, and spirit in a very instrumental way. This is why I am committed to modeling and sharing this lifestyle choice and opportunity with you should this be something you’d like to integrate into your wellness routine as well.
Now about those routines: Getting my diffusers going first thing in the morning when we are at home is a key routine. Experiencing the aromatics of the essential oils can set us up with a settled mind, good attention, and balanced mood. Our olfactory system actually has zero security clearance, so this means when we smell the pleasing aromatic from a diffused oil a signal is sent immediately to our brains and can trigger a reaction. Now this is how choosing oils based on their chemical composition can support a variety of needs. Right now we are leaning into oils that promote composure, help to release burden, validate feelings, and energize while keeping us steady. A new favorite blend in our home the past couple days has been Arborvitae, Ylang Ylang, and Lemon. We’ve also been liking Palmarosa, Lavender, and Grapefruit. In some rooms, we have had Onguard, Peppermint, and Lemon going-a double duty immune support and uplifter. At night we diffuse Breathe and Serenity in the bedroom to support breathing and rest. We even clean with oils. Check out recipes for DIY here: SBell Wellness DIY Favorites. The point is you can explore with a variety of essential oils to set the environment, send your brain some encouragement, and support the body’s natural processes during this shift. I love to use The Essential Life resource guide to read up on the natural constituents and various ways we can lean into for oils. Right now I have been reading up on oils I don’t use as often and learning how these natural plant oils are ready to show up for us! You can snag a copy of my favorite resource here Oil Life (use my code SBELL5 for $5 off). There is also an app for this resource as well. In addition to aromatic use, topical and internal use are also key ways I lean-in with my oils in daily routine. I use a combo of oils that have natural chemical constituents to support my immune system. I roll these oils topically on the bottoms of my feet 1-2x a day (Frankincense, Lemon, OnGuard, Oregano, TeaTree). I also apply oils for emotional support, energy, and various physical needs too. Some of my favorites right now are Peppermint, Steady, Balance, Rose, Motivate, Adaptiv and Tamer. I tend to roll these right on my forearms, behind my ears, over my heart, back of my neck, over my abdomen and even rub a little through my hair. As for internal use, please know I am only speaking about doTERRA oils as this is the only oil I trust for this through my review of literature. I trust in the dedicated pursuit of purity that the company is committed to providing us. Oils that have been tested for internal use have supplemental facts right on the bottle’s label (you can see a label example here: cook with oils). I have routine oils I take by dropping them into a veggie capsule to ingest and support a variety of physical and emotional needs. I am also dedicated to taking a daily dose of supplements that support overall wellness. These can be found here doTERRA life long vitality supplements. I take a couple other essentials like PB Assist probiotic, Terrazyme Digestive Enzymes, Adaptiv and Copaiba Softgels. These are examples of wellness regimens that I can help you individualize and get into routine should this be something you’re ready to commit to in your pursuit of integrated wellness.
My wish for you all is that you find peace amongst this darkness. May a pause practice support you. May you feel empowered by a "move forward while staying present" mindset. May your mind, body and spirit be fueled by crowding out and eating nutritious foods. May you be energized and centered through physical activity. May you find wellness through natural solutions. Be kind to yourself and each other. Grace changes everything!
I invite you to follow along on SBell Wellness Facebook, @sbell.wellness on Instagram, use www.sbellwellness.com as a resource, subscribe to my weekly newsletter and reach out to me at any time via call, text, or email. I will be providing consistent free online education via Zoom and LIVE videos where you can continue to learn and grow with me through integrative health and wellness. Please reach out and let me know what you value. What information, encouragement, and support do you seek right now? As many have stated “we are in this together.” May you be well!
Xoxo~ Shauna Bell