4 Easy Steps to Take You from Stress to Bliss

Whatever type of work you do, we all have those days.

You know, those days. The days where we’ve been running ourselves ragged, and it’s still not enough. The days where we end up with our head spinning, struggling to remember that one thing that might have fallen off of our overfull plates. For those days, I often introduce my clients to a practice called “elemental self care”.

The four elements become a wonderful shorthand to check in with ourselves and take some time for a brief–but powerful–self care practice. Start with:

1. Air.

If possible, find a quiet place to begin. Sit comfortably, and take a few deep breaths, letting each one out slowly, allowing your body to begin to relax.

2. Water.

Hydrate! That mid-afternoon headache and hunger duo that hits many of us can often be attributed to dehydration. After the few minutes of regulated breathing, getting re-hydrated is an important next step.

Once you have added air and water, take another minute to ask yourself the following:

“Am I feeling scattered or am I feeling stuck?”

The answer will help you choose your next step of either “fire” or “earth”.

3. Fire.

If you are feeling stuck and in need of firing up, get moving. Walk around your office, walk around the block. If you work from home and have more flexibility, consider having a short yoga practice or other exercise that you enjoy. When you have finished, you may find it easier to get moving on whatever task is at hand.

4. Earth.

If you are feeling scattered and in need of grounding, take five minutes for a short Savasana practice. Set a timer for yourself so you can fully let go, instead of continuously checking to see if it’s time to stop. Find a space where you can lie down and let your arms relax at your sides. Exhale fully, and let your muscles sink into the floor. Let go of your day. When thoughts pop up, notice them, and let them go, returning to a focus on your natural in and out breath. When the time is up, don’t immediately pop up to return to your day. Roll over to one side and take a minute to re-orient yourself and re-integrate into your work from a more grounded state.

Many of us don’t have the luxury of plopping down on the floor for an impromptu yoga session in the middle of the workday! If grounding yourself this way would not be a fit for your situation, a more low-key way to ground yourself is to simply slip your shoes off while seated, and take a few minutes of deep breathing and feeling the connection of your feet to the floor.

When we spend too much time stuck in our heads, it’s easy to feel stressed and disconnected. This simple practice can make a huge shift and help us take on the rest of the day with ease.

A version of this article previously appeared on Seeing Beauty.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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