Sally Jane Yoga

How are you feeling?

6th December 2020

How are you feeling?

It's a question we are all asking each other at the moment. We start every text, email and zoom call with the words "How are you?" and most of us just say we are fine. The other day, when a friend asked me, I responded by saying "well I have a roof over my head and food on the table, so I am fine".

So the next time someone asks how you are I want you to stop......pause......think. How are you really feeling? You may want to say fine to the person asking but be honest with yourself.

There are many reasons we don't want to admit we are struggling. 

It may be a coping strategy - that stiff upper lip can stop us from falling over can't it? However, as we experience when we do our yoga balances, being rigid and stiff can be very stressful. Remember the tree that doesn't sway in the wind is more likely to break. Don't be that tree.

I believe the main reason we don't share how we really feel is because so many people are struggling so much more. People have lost their loved ones and/or their jobs, so those of us who are suffering in a lesser way (not being able to travel, see friends or having to work from your dining room!) could feel it is wrong to struggle when so many others seem to be coping or are dealing with worse things. 

This is the "others are worse off" approach and trivialises our own feelings. It helps to get perspective, but if we don't admit (at least to ourselves) our feelings it causes us to bury them and can lead to self-doubt, self-guilt, self-blame, self-shame and self-trivialising. Our feelings matter and we each deserve compassion if we are struggling (even if others are struggling more than we are).

So what can we do?

I think its most important to acknowledge we are struggling. Admit if you feel a bit wobbly. 

And then, indulge yourself. Maybe it's a silly film and some chocolate. For me a walk (even in the rain) really helps. If I can also get myself a coffee and sit with a view then that is great. Add a friend (outside and socially distanced of course) then I am as happy as can be! Who knew how much we would miss (and appreciate) such simple pleasures.

I'm also going to suggest you try a simple gratitude exercise, as follows:

  • Find yourself a comfortable spot - you can be laying down (on the bed is fine) or sitting.
  • Close your eyes and rest your hands. If you are laying down they can rest lightly on your belly - if seated I like to rest them in my lap.
  • Then start to focus on your breath - slowly in and out. 
  • Bring your awareness to the top of your head and imagine a warm light spreading from the top of your head down your body to your toes.
  • Feel yourself relax as the light moves down, be aware of the warmth in your toes. You can repeat this several times.
  • Think about all the things you are grateful for today. This could be specific people in your life or a nice conversation you had today. 
  • Maybe you had a lovely walk or its a sunny day. Maybe, you enjoyed your lunch. Freshly laundered bedding is always a joy for me.
  • As you think about each imagine they appear in front of you and you are saying thank you.
  • When you finish return back to just breathing. Notice how you feel. Just sit for a few more breaths.
  • When you are ready to finish, wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch your arms and legs. Slowly open your eyes. 

I hope this helps. 

Don't forget the most important thing at the moment is not to be too hard on yourself. 

Author: Sally Pearce (sallyjaneyoga)

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