Survival After a Death: Important Things to Know About Grief

“ Where you used to be,

there is a hole in the world,

which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime

and falling in at night.

I miss you like hell.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Losing someone close to us is arguably the most emotionally painful thing we will ever experience. No matter how prepared or unprepared you are, it is a shock to our mind and body when someone we love dies. After experiencing immense grief myself, and supporting many others through the grieving process- I have created an outline for how to take care of yourself after losing someone you love. 

There is no RIGHT way to grieve

It is often tempting to take inventory of those around you, are they still crying? How did they go back to work already? Am I not handling this well? Please, please, please- give yourself a break. There is no perfect measure of how to handle losing someone. Judging yourself and comparing your process to others will only cause you more stress and anxiety. Instead say to yourself- “I’m doing the best I can do and that is enough for today.”

Say YES and NO

Say YES to what you want to do and NO to what you don’t want to do. Let the social and family pressures go to the best of your ability- they want you to take care of yourself! Sometimes you may be confused because upon arriving to something you were excited to do, you no longer feel like you want to be there. Thats okay, leave. People will understand- and if they don’t that’s on them.

Denial is REAL

For quite a while things will not feel real. It is completely natural to be in denial that the person is actually gone forever. Even months or years later there may be an impulse to call them and shock when you can’t. When you can, talk to them anyway- on a walk in the woods, driving in the car, say what you need to say whether they can hear you or not. Losing someone you love is too much for the brain to handle so denial is our mind’s way of showing us reality at a slower pace.

SHOCK is real, too

Feel like you’re not feeling? Thats because your brain and body is overloaded. Tears may or may not come and either is okay. Breathe. Everyone copes differently.

Drink WATER and EAT

No it will not always be easy but it is so important. If you are dehydrated and not getting the nutrient you need you WILL crash even harder. Our bodies are made mostly of water and without it you will get headaches, cramps, mood swings and crappy sleep. If you are having trouble eating- eat whatever you desire when you’re hungry. Want Chinese food at 6am? Go for it. 

It’s okay to feel RELIEF

If your loved one has been ill, struggling, or in emotional distress- it is natural to feel relief in their passing. This feeling will likely be conflicted with pain and sadness. You can feel multiple things at once- let the guilt go. Seeing someone we love in pain is horrible and it’s okay to be glad they are not suffering.

Actually, it’s okay to feel ANYTHING

Pissed off? Numb? Depressed? Guilt and sadness? The pain of losing someone we love is literally too much for our brain to comprehend all at once. This leaves us with waves of different emotions, sometimes changing by the minute. This does NOT mean you are “going crazy”. Try to roll with your emotions. Picture them like waves in the ocean and know that they will come and go. When you fight them they tend to intensify so instead- breathe, go for a walk, and vent to a friend.

Ask for HELP

Your friends and family likely have no idea how to help you or what to say. They are hoping you will tell them what you need. Do it. Need food delivered? Ask. Need someone to sit with you in silence? Ask. Need someone to leave your house? Ask. It is important to practice healthy selfishness when your body and mind is working through this type of despair. 

Get OUTSIDE

Regardless of the weather, being outside and moving your body will help sadness and pain pass through you. Take in the outdoors, listen to the birds, feel the wind and the ground beneath you. Breathe the fresh air. Nature heals.

Grief is NOT a linear process

You may feel good for a while and then plummet back into sadness all of a sudden. This does not mean you’re back tracking. Grief sneaks up on you at strange times. Mourning a death is not something you “move on” from it is something you grow with. Yes, life will go on and you will laugh again- but you will also feel sad again from time to time too. There is no beginning, middle and end to grief.

Go easy on the SUBSTANCES

It can be tempting to rely on substances to cope with heavy emotions or try to sleep. Be careful. It is a slippery slope using substances to deal with unwanted feelings and can certainly lead to habitual use and addictive tendencies. Though it may seem to work well at first, it can be hard to stop once using through such a turbulent time. Substances are for fun, not coping!

Get OUT of Yourself

It may sound strange, but sometimes what helps the most in the complete despair of grief is helping someone or something else. Take your dog for a walk and give it a special treat after, volunteer a day in a soup kitchen, repot a plant,  start a clothing drive, shovel someone’s porch off for them, do a random act of kindness. When all feels lost in the world, getting outside of yourself to help someone else can truly help.

Therapy HELPS

It can be so helpful to have someone unbiased in your life to support you through the grieving process. The death of a loved one can be traumatic and sometimes brings back undesirable memories and unwanted feelings. Receiving support from a therapist can help you build coping skills to move forward with a deeper and even more beautiful understanding of life. 

Breathwork 101 - Anxiety Edition

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

As yogis have known for a long-time, and as science is beginning to “confirm” for the rest of us, the breath has incredibly restorative powers. There is an increasing amount of research supporting the idea that by controlling the breath (or “pranayama” as yogis say), you have the ability to shift the mind state. When we practice pranayama, we are engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a biological mechanism that can calm or soothe us.

Recently, I have been asked by many people that I am working with how to use the breath to reduce anxiety and/or stress. Below, I am listing just a few of my favorites to try if you have been wondering the same.

1 . Square Breathing:

What: Also known as “equal parts breathing” or “box breath”.

How: To begin, find a comfortable seat or space to lie down. Allow your breath to start at its natural rhythm and pace. After a few rounds, you will begin shifting into this practice:

*Inhale for a count of 4

*Hold for a count of 4

*Exhale for a count of 4

*Hold for a count of 4

*Begin again

Some considerations:

*Although I have offered a 4-count breath, you can choose a number that feels sustainable for your body. This could be higher or lower than 4.

*There is no set number of rounds you need to practice. The longer you practice, the more benefits you will receive, although it can be helpful to start small and increase your practice as you feel more comfortable with this work. You might choose 5 rounds to start and see how you feel, increasing as necessary and appropriate.

*Give yourself permission to pause or end the practice at any time.

Why: This style of breathing can invite groundedness into your body, which may help to alleviate or build tolerance to any stress/anxiety you are feeling.

2. Three-Part Yogic Breath

What: Yogis often refer to this as “dirgha” pranayama. The term dirgha means “long” in Sanskrit. This practice involves filling the lungs as much as possible with an emphasis placed on breathing into three parts of your body in a directed and mindful manner. .

How: Choose a comfortable position for your body where your spine can be long.

*Place a hand over your naval and take a slow deep inhale into this area of your body. Feel your belly inflate like a balloon on the inhale, and deflate on the exhale.

*Move your hand 2-3in above your naval (by your ribcage) and breathe now into this area of the body. Feel your ribcage fill and expand on an inhale, and contract on the exhale

*Move your hand to the center of your chest. On an inhale you feel your chest rising and expanding into your hand. As you exhale, the chest lowers.

*Now you combine the three parts. As you breathe in, you feel the breath first fill your naval, then your ribcage, and last your chest. Arriving at the top, sip in a little bit more air to be sure you have filled your lungs completely. As you exhale, you feel breath first leave the chest, then the ribcage, and lastly the naval. At the bottom, contract your abdominal muscles to be sure and remove all air.

*Continue for several rounds until this feels complete.

Why: This practice is said to relax the nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus and concentration, help with insomnia, and more.

3. Alternate Nostril Breathing

What: Yogis call this practice, Nadi Shodhana. Nadi is a sanskrit word for “channel”, “stream” or “flow”. Shodhana is a sanskrit term for “clearing” or “purification”. Therefore, this practice is aimed at clearing and purifying the subtle channels of the mind-body (sometimes referred to as “nerve purifying breath”).

How: Choose a comfortable position for your body (any shape that will allow you to have a long spine). Begin by taking deep slow inhales and exhales into the pelvis. Allow these inhales and exhales to fill the lower abdomen, middle torso and chest (dirgha pranayama). After several rounds of breathing in this manner you may shift into Alternate Nostril Breathing, by following steps below:

*Begin by taking a deep inhale.

*After completion of the inhale, use one of your fingers to block off your right nostril and exhale through the left nostril only.

*Leave your finger where it is and take an inhale through your left nostril.

*Upon reaching the top of your inhale, switch so that a finger is now covering your left nostril and release an exhale out of your right nostril.

*Take an inhale through your right nostril and at the top of the inhale, again switch nostril coverage to the right nostril as you exhale out of your left nostril.

*Continue this breathing pattern (inhaling and exhaling through one nostril and switching) for several rounds or until you begin feeling mental clarity.

*Once you release this breath practice, return breathing to full inhales and exhales again before releasing back into your natural rhythmic breath.

Why: This practice is said to infuse your body with oxygen and reduce any built up toxins. This may help to reduces stress and anxiety, as it is calming and rejuvenating to the nervous system. It is also said to help balance hormones and support balanced respiratory channels and to bring balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, helping to foster mental clarity, alertness and concentration.

Certain pranayama practices may be contraindicated during pregnancy or due to other medical conditions. Please seek medical guidance and support if you are pregnant or managing a medical condition at this time. Although, breathwork practices alone are often not enough to manage chronic anxiety, stress, etc., it is a helpful tool to use in conjunction with other methods or support you may be receiving.

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MANY THANKS, and more to come on this topic.

Interview with Allison Poole, PT, MPT, WHC

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Empowerment Through Healing: Pelvic floor physical therapy with

Allison Poole, PT, MPT, WHC

When Whitney and I began integrating ourselves into the holistic community in Portland, Maine- one of the first people we met was Allison Poole, PT, MPT, WHC. We were immediately struck by not only her fun personality and kind spirit, but also her unique and incredibly important work with women.

Many women that we work with have experienced trauma, childbirth, aging, and physical changes that can effect their relationships and views of themselves. If you fall into one of those categories- take a moment to read our interview with Allison below and consider contacting her for services!

What is pelvic floor physical therapy?

Basically, I help women who leak or have pain with sex take control of their bodies so they can feel confident in their lives. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that live in the pelvis and help keep us continent, enjoy sex and stabilize the pelvis (which supports both our upper and lower body...think of it as the foundation of your house). These muscles can be injured and weakened from surgery, childbirth or can become tight and painful as a response to trauma, persistent pain or intense exercise. A pelvic floor PT is trained to assess these muscles specifically, and look at how they interact and work with the rest of the body at rest and during activity.

Who could pelvic floor physical therapy benefit?

Pelvic floor physical therapy can help women who leak during their activities (running, jumping, walking) or when the sneeze or cough, women who have pain with intercourse and women with low back, tailbone or hip pain that has not been helped with other treatments (as the pelvic floor is often the missing puzzle piece). Men can also benefit, however I do not see men at this time.

Can you describe what a typical first appointment would look like?

The first appointment consists of a lot of talking to get a clear picture of your symptoms, what makes them better or worse, when they started etc. I also ask about your daily life (sleep, eating, stress), review your past medical history, childbirth history and daily habits that have to do with your pelvic floor. Most importantly, we discuss your goals and what you want to be able to do and why you want to do them.

The interview portion is then followed by me describing exactly what the pelvic floor is, how it works and why you may be experiencing some of your symptoms. I have a great model and some anatomy pictures so you can get a really clear picture  of what the pelvic floor is and how it is so intricately connected with the rest of the body (it’s more than a lot of med students get)! I will then describe what the evaluation will consist of, first an assessment of your posture and strength and then the internal assessment of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor assessment does not need to happen on the first visit, or ever for that matter. Though, it is the gold standard to get a true picture of what is going on, the pelvic floor is just one peice of the puzzle and there are many things to address without having to directly assess the pelvic floor. (I wrote a blog post about what to expect from a pelvic floor evaluation).

You will leave the first appointment with having learned about a very important part of your body, what is going on and why you are having the symptoms you are having. You’ll have an outline of what the process will consist of to meet your goals and a few tools to begin to incorporate into your daily routine that day.

What are some possible services or treatments that may be offered after the first appointment?

Treatment is very individual and specific to each woman’s needs. All of the follow-up appointments are one-on-one with me. Treatments may include, hands-on manual release of tight muscles, scar tissue mobilization, strengthening the deep core muscles, education about posture, breathing and relaxation strategies. Every treatment will include tools for home and self-management.

Are you able to modify treatment if a client isn’t comfortable with touch or is struggling with side effects from trauma?

Absolutely. A lot of what I do is education and teaching exercise, stretches and techniques for a woman to take treatment into her own hands. I think a lot of medical appointments are centered on the provider telling the patient what she should do. I help women figure out what they could do, how to incorporate it into their daily lives and feel empowered to heal.

How have you seen pelvic floor troubles affect emotions, relationships or self esteem?

The pelvic floor is said to be the seat of safety. When our pelvic floor is affecting our daily life, we feel insecure, alone, embarrassed, ashamed. This is a topic no one talks about, so it can feel extremely isolating. When we do bring it up to our physicians, it is often brushed off or there is poor advice given (ie. just do kegels or just have a glass of wine to relax). As you might imagine, pelvic floor dysfunction is a big player in libido, which affects intimacy and sexual relationships physically and emotionally.

What are the common misconceptions about what you do for work? And can you take a moment to dispel them?

The three biggest misconceptions are 1. “Pain or leaking are normal.” It is common, but it is certainly not normal and there are a lot of conservative, highly effective ways to address pelvic floor dysfunction. 2. “Pelvic floor PT is for new moms or old ladies.” You do not need to have had a child to have a pelvic floor issue. I see many young women who have pelvic pain or incontinence and have never had a baby. On that same token, I think society associated leaking (adult diapers) with older women, but I see women as young as 15 and as old as 80, and everyone in between. 3. “I just need to do kegels.” Kegels (or a pelvic floor muscle contraction like you’re stopping the flow of urine) is just one exercise in a much larger picture. They can be an effective tool if the pelvic floor is weak, but the goal is to get the pelvic floor functioning in all activities (not just when you’re at a stop light). Often the problem is not that the pelvic floor is weak, but that it’s overactive- working too hard. In that case, kegels can make symptoms worse!

How did you fall into this line of work?

I had a brilliant professor in PT school that was passionate about women’s health and what an underserved population it was. She really inspired me, however my career after college did not take me in the directions of women’s health. It wasn’t until after I had my son, that I had gained a whole new appreciation for my body and what it did to create life (and what happened to it during and after birth!). An opportunity presented itself and there was no turning back.

Can you name one of your favorite aspects about what you do for work?

My favorite aspect of my work is getting to know incredible women and being a part of their healing journey. It’s a remarkable thing to see a woman gain control of a piece of themselves they hadn’t realized was affecting so many facets of their lives.

How can someone who has more questions or who wants to visit get in touch with you?

I offer complimentary phone consults if you are interested in learning more about what I offer and if we might be a good fit. I have lots of information on my website and blog: www.korumaine.com and of course, you can call 207-358-8161 or email apoole@korumaine.com

Benefits & Practices of Gratitude

Before you begin reading: take a moment and think of three things you are grateful for right now. Notice any feelings, sensations, thoughts, or reactions as you take this moment to reflect.

The practice of gratitude has been a tremendous part of my own personal growth and healing over the past 5 or so years. Because I have been profoundly impacted by this practice, I wanted to spend some time sharing the possible benefits and various strategies you may try. Many doctors and mental health professionals can be found citing the psychological and health benefits, ranging from fewer aches and pains, decreased blood pressure for folks with hypertension, reduction in anger, frustration and resentment, enhancement in empathy, decreased aggression, improved sleep, reduction in depressive symptoms, improved self-esteem, overall improvement in social relationships, increased spirituality, and more.

If you are looking for new ways to improve your overall mental and physical health, here is a list of ten possible gratitude practices you may consider trying:

             1. Gratitude journal - free-write about anything that comes to mind that you are feeling grateful for each night

             2. Gratitude list - similar to the gratitude journal, but if you are not interested in free-writing, you may choose to write a list instead. If may be helpful to decide on a certain number and work towards listing that many each day.

             3. Recite your gratitude - you could do this one when you wake up in the morning or go to sleep at night. Simply state all the things you are grateful out loud.

             4. Share your gratitude - choose to notice gratitude throughout the day and as often as you can express your gratitude to another person

             5. Meal Gratitude - Before you sit down for a meal, take a moment to reflect and thank (silently or out loud) on all the efforts it took to get your food to your plate. Acknowledge each part of the process individually (i.e. If you are eating an egg & cheese omelet, you might thank the chickens for producing the eggs, the farmer who raised the chickens, the store owners that sell chicken feed, the earth for providing grass, bugs, etc for chickens to eat, the person who boxed the eggs, the person who sold the eggs to you, the cow that produced the milk to make the cheese, and so on....).

              6. Gratitude Visualization - Take a moment to set up however you might for visualization/meditation. Choose a comfortable seat or lay down on the floor. Take a moment to notice your breath and notice how you feel in the moment. Envision a person that has contributed to your life. Try and notice all the details of this person that you can. Envision all the ways in which this person has helped you, supported you, or somehow made your life better. Take time to really soak this in. After you have spent time with this, envision yourself. Envision yourself thanking them. Consider all you might say or how you would like to thank them. Spend time letting this soak in. When you are ready, return to noticing your breath and how you feel in this new moment. Return to the room and continue on with your day/night.

             7. Self-Massage - You may choose an oil of your preference for this. Some options may include sesame oil (not the cooking kind), jojoba oil, coconut oil or whatever else feels right to you. You may work top-down or bottom-up. I would recommend top down if you are looking for stress relief or to calm before bed and top-up if you are looking to energize or wake up in the morning. Once you choose where to start, you will place a small dab of oil into your hands and begin to massage that into an area of your body. The trick is that when you do so, you are sending love and gratitude to that part of your body. (i.e. if massaging the feet, internally thank them for all the miles they have walked you, for holding the rest of your body, for helping you to keep balance, etc). Move slowly from body part to body part thanking each part for what it has offered you. If you do not have time to do a full body massage, or are not comfortable with this for any reason, just choose one area to work with and give thanks to. This is an adapted version of an Ayurvedic Practice called Abhyanga. If you are interested in learning more specifically about Abhyanga, visit cdn.banyanbotanicals.com

             8. Write a gratitude letter - Choose one person that has inspired you, supported you, loved you, or changed your life for the better in any way and write them a thank you letter acknowledging their importance and impact on your life.

             9. Earth Gratitude - Go outside and choose a comfortable area to practice child's pose. While you are in child's pose, notice the Earth beneath you. Feel whatever is touching your body. Thank the Earth out loud or silently for all it has provided to you.

            10. Walking Gratitude - Choose a place to take a walk. This will be a slow/meditative walk simply focused on gratitude. Every 5-10 steps you take, acknowledge something/someone you are grateful for (silently or out loud). Do this for the entirety of your walk. You may begin to choose a shorter distance walk in the beginning and work towards lengthening the distance as you practice.

I hope you find something here that seems worthy of trying - if not, create your own or do more research for additional ideas!

I will end with a reading from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening:

“The goal of all experience is to remove whatever might keep us from being whole. The things we learn through love and pain reduce our walls and bring our inner and outer life together, and all the while the friction of being alive erodes whatever impediments remain. But the simplest and deepest way to make who we are at one with the world is through the kinship of gratitude. Nothing brings the worlds of spirit and earth together more quickly. To be grateful means giving thanks for more than just the things we want, but also for the things that surmount our pride and stubbornness. Somethings the things I’ve wanted and worked for, if I actually received them, would have crushed me. Sometimes just giving thanks for the mystery of it all brings everything and everyone closer, the way suction pulls streams of water together. So take a chance and openly give thanks, even if you’re not sure what for, and feel the plentitude of all that is living brush up against your heart” - Mark Nepo


Making Changes: Quick Tips on Getting Started

I have worked with so many people that have an idea of a change they need to make, but they  can’t bring themselves to start. Often times, the change seems daunting and overwhelming and we end up in a repetitive pattern of avoiding the task we believe will be helpful. When we continue to avoid the task, we increase our anxiety and stress around the task, making it more difficult to reach our own goal. When we can’t reach our own goal, our negative self-talk spikes. When negative self-talk spikes, we feel even worse than we did to begin with. It’s a vicious cycle.

The bad news - in order to break the cycle, we must start facing our fears, doing what’s difficult, and experiencing the uncomfortable. The good news - it won’t feel this way forever.

As many of my clients have said (and I believe to be true) - nothing changes in your comfort zone.

So…. the question is, where do you begin?

1. Start small

If your goal was to hike Mount Everest, you wouldn’t set foot the day you decided to hike it. Or maybe you would. But, you would likely end up exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, and possibly in some serious trouble. You would likely need to turn back and end up beating yourself up for starting an “impossible task”. To start a big task or pursue a goal, make a list of steps and cross off the easiest ones first!  If you start with small steps building up to the final big task, you are more likely to learn what you need to know and build confidence accomplishing your goal.

2. Get support

Let’s go back to the Mount Everest example. If you were start this hike this without doing some google searches, asking others who have climbed it, or getting set up with a guide, it would likely be pretty tough and also lonely. Finding support can mean asking someone who’s been through something similar, reaching out to someone who cares about you or meeting with a professional. Support groups can also be helpful so that you can find others who are experiencing similar challenges. If you have never called 211, it’s a great resource to be aware of that can hook you up to many other resources in the community.

3. Acknowledge strides

Many of us have a strong negative mental filter (AKA - we only notice the negatives of a situation and filter out the positives). If this rings true for you, it will be extremely important to take time noticing how far you’ve come. We are all constantly changing and evolving. How have you evolved? What have you made it through? What are your accomplishments? This does not have to be nobel prize worthy. What can you do today that you couldn’t do yesterday, last week, or last year? Spend some time with this. Meditate on it. Journal about. Talk about it with someone.

4. Practice compassion

Change is REALLY hard. Ask people around you about changes they have overcome. We all have wanted to change things in our life and some things are harder or easier than others. If you are trying to make a change, remember how long you have lived the way that you are. If you have been living with anxiety for 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 years, then it probably won’t change over night. Be easy on yourself.

5. Begin again

I have found that it can be easy to give up on our goals when we do not see them “working” fast enough. For example, if you are trying to quit drinking and have a slip up, maybe you feel like it’s a waste of time. It can be helpful to remember that change is not a straight line. It is up and down and all around. Remember that every day, every hour, and every minute we have the option to begin again. If you slipped up today, start again tomorrow.

 

“Real change is difficult at the beginning. Without the familiar to rely upon, you may not be in as much command as you had once been. When things are not going your way, you will start doubting yourself. Stay positive, keep the faith, and keep moving forward – your breakthrough may be just around the corner.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

Summertime Blues in Maine: 10 ways to kick em

I woke up this morning and looked at the calendar - JULY 19TH?! How did that happen? A common discussion among Mainers in the summer is, “where has the summer gone” and “I feel like the summer is wasting away”. So many spend time reminiscing about “the times when summer felt like eternity”. As you age, it is normal for time to pass by quickly, for responsibilities to outweigh fun. Summer depression is a frustrating and confusing experience in Maine. We panic because we know the warm weather isn’t here for long. It is not uncommon to experience some form of summertime blues. Here are some strategies you may consider if you are in a funk.

1 - Consider your expectations

Time and time again, I come back to this same point. Often we bring ourselves pain from setting our summer expectations too high. (i.e. I will go to the beach every sunny day) It can be a helpful exercise to first look at what our expectations are. Awareness is always the first step towards change. Once you have done that, might it be possible to make any adjustments in your expectations? (i.e. I will visit the beach once every other week) If so, I would recommend giving that a try. Shifting our mindset can be a powerful tool if we are able to do it.

2 - Go berry picking

In your backyard if your lucky or at a friend’s house maybe. Go hunting for wild berries in the woods if you’re up for an adventure. If you are not feeling adventurous, but would like the satisfaction of berries at the end, find a local farm. Check out - https://maxwellsfarm.com/ in Cape Elizabeth.

3 - Plan one FULL day just for YOU

If you are someone who spends a lot of your time doing for others, than this one is meant for you.

4 - Identify an outdoor safe haven that’s close-ish to your house and spend time there.

It doesn’t have to be for long. Maybe it’s on the way home from the grocery store for five minutes. Maybe one day you have the luxury to spend an hour or FOUR! Just make it a point to get there when you can.

5 - Act opposite

Often, when we are feeling depressed, our mind is telling us to stay in bed, watch netflix, isolate, eat lots of high sugar food, drink lots of alcohol, etc. This ends up feeding our depression and we stay stuck in that cycle, yet clawing to get out. If this is your situation, I would urge you to consider acting opposite to the feeling or urge you have to any extent possible. By engaging in opposite behavior, you are more likely to move towards an opposite emotion and less likely to stay stuck. Start small - consider the movie, What About Bob, “baby steps”.

6 - Take a walk and smell all the flowers

If there’s a saying about it, there’s probably a reason...

7 - Spend time in or near water

We live in Maine and are blessed with so many water sources - find one! There is healing power in water. If you absolutely cannot do this at any point in the summer, take a bath! Set the mood first though and make it a whole thing -this is your time.

8 - Seek Inspiration

Do the things on this list seem challenging? Reach out to someone in your life who inspires you. It is totally normal to need support and good practice to find your voice and ask for what you need.

9 - Weed a garden

Your own if you have one. If you don’t, find someone who does and offer to help. They will be eternally grateful for the support. Weeding can be quite therapeutic and the finished product is pretty great to see as well.

10 - Try one new thing

It’s so easy to get stuck, bored, in a funk, and forget the wonder of the world around us. Find playfulness by trying something new - consider asking someone to join you in this adventure. What’s one thing you always wanted to try? Or maybe, what’s one thing you haven’t done since you were just a small kid? (Check out the forts at Fort Williams, stop by your local farmer’s market, try goat yoga at Sunflower Farm in Cumberland, or visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay).

 

Maybe this week you give just one of these a try. With all things, practice compassion with yourself. If these suggestions don’t kick your summer blues, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free phone consultation or to schedule an appointment for some additional support. We would love to hear from you - add your own ideas to this list by posting below!

    Sunflower Farms, Cumberland, ME           http://www.sunflowerfarm.info

    Sunflower Farms, Cumberland, ME

        http://www.sunflowerfarm.info