Just a little update for you on what I’ve been getting into lately and how it’s made me think of things that might also help you as you travel and/or face knowingly stressful situations.
This past weekend I ventured to lovely CA wine country for one of my very best friend’s – and also one of the speakers on the Just Roll With It Bootcamp seminar tour – weddings. It was a poignant time. Although it had the potential to be stressful due to coordinating carpools to the airport in Denver, long car rental lines in CA, a journey – albeit a beautiful one – to the wedding locale, and various scheduling and logistical requirements, it wasn’t stressful at all. I love CA and I get choked up nearly every time I land anywhere within the state lines. I have a myriad of memories that live out there, and it’s easy for me to get swept away by them, but the weekend wasn’t about me; it was about my best friend, Theresa, who has truly become one of my sisters since we first met in the Marines a decade ago.
Me & Theresa the day after her wedding! :)
48hrs: the trip to CA and back to CO was a quick one. Yet, during my time there, even with bridesmaid duties, new and old friends to socialize with, and much more, I managed to meditate, yoga, CrossFit, and get fresh air! Then, I was home in Denver for a mere 20 hours before going back to the airport to fly east.
This week, I’m on the other coast. I’m in Washington DC for the Service Women’s Action Network Summit on Truth and Justice. Today I will receive a full day of media training with a small group of other women, and tomorrow and Thursday are the days for the Summit itself. The first day is primarily a seminar type setting, and day two is for marching on the Hill and speaking to our Senators and Representatives face-to-face about making much needed changes to sexual assault policy, response, legislation, etc within the military judicial system. These will be long, intense, and rewarding days, for sure.
Phew. These will be long, intense, and rewarding days, for sure, and a powerful week in general. From one extreme of emotions to the other, from one coast to the other, and lots in between.
I got to thinking, how am I going to adequately care for myself during this time?
—> Physically –because of the stress travel puts on our bodies, especially on a body housing many injuries like mine.
—> Mentally – keeping up with schedules and absorbing the valuable lessons of our training without getting “lost in the sauce” or overwhelmed by brain fog.
—> Spiritually/emotionally – staying centered and not getting sucked into a negative vortex of nightmares, sickness, and/or stress
Here are three, simple tips I’m going to implement this week which you can, too, the next time you find yourself jet-setting – for good, bad, or otherwise situations.
1. Make time, not excuses. A simple 15 minute meditation can do wonders to both powerfully calm and healthfully energize your emotional core for the remainder of the day. If you need more than 15 minutes to do the trick, so be it. Rely on your breath throughout the day, and meditate again at bedtime to calm back down and improve your sleep.
- —> Anxious on a flight? Close your eyes, close your mouth, inhale through your nose and mentally say “soh,” exhale through your nose and mentally say “hum.” Do this 10 times.
- Feel the “fog of war?” If you’re in a stressful situation or feeling foggy during your work day or training, steal away to the restroom for 5 minutes and try alternate nostril breathing to clear the cobwebs, or start your day with this creative meditation. Inhale and exhale once, just through your nose. Then, plug your right nostril as you inhale through your left, pause, plug the left nostril, release the right nostril, and exhale through the right, pause, inhale through the right, pause, plug the right nostril, release the left nostril, and exhale through the left. That is one cycle of alternate nostril breathing. Do at least 5 cycles for instant calm and clarity. Do more if you want or have the time.
- Need to slow down before sleepy time? Lie down on your back. Inhale and lift opposite arm and leg overhead and knee toward chest, exhale as you lower, then do it on the other side. Do this 5 times on each side, then come to rest comfortably on your back. Inhale and exhale “so hum” for a few moments before crawling into bed. Keep “so hum” with you until you doze off if you find that helpful.
2. Self-care through movement. Walk, run, frolic (if you must!) to the nearest greenspace or open window. Do what you can to either jog, walk, or (as was the case in Paso Robles, CA last Saturday) Cross-fit first thing in the morning so you don’t have to worry about it later in the day. If possible, keep moving in little spurts throughout the day. Walk instead of taking the elevator, take a stroll during bathroom breaks, or duck outside even for a few moments whenever possible.
3. Be prepared. Control what I can; let go of the rest. My guard must be up. Although I cannot account for all scenarios, I must prepare as best as possible. That means setting myself up for success where I can.
- —> Bring my YOR Health and Vega supplements with me. Often when we travel, we just go hog-wild on eating and drinking mindlessly. It feels good at the moment, but bites us in the butt later. If I bring my healthy goodies, I can ward off some of the sugar blues and junk food lethargy that certainly will not serve me well later.
—> Stay hydrated. (Herbal tea, soup, and natural juice all help hydrate the body, although not as much as water. Caffeinated drinks don’t count because they are dehydrating. Experiment to see which liquids help you feel balanced and hydrated.)
—> Bring running shoes. Bring yoga mat. Make sure my guided meditations are downloaded and available. Bring journal.
I went to SWAN’s Summit last year. It was a formative experience. I am proud of my USMC Veteran “sister,” Anu Bhagwati, for doing what she’s done to advance appropriate changes in military legislation in regards to Military Sexual Assault and Trauma. I am excited for what this year’s Summit will hold, and will do my best to take care of myself along the way, and will accept what happens with an open heart and open mind. I will meet myself where I am, and I encourage you to do the same with yourself
* If you haven’t read my personal account of military sexual trauma you can find a piece of the story HERE
* Another article of interest. Why we sometimes hestitate to “tell:” Women “Victims” As Portrayed by the Media