It is hard not to think about the month of November that quickly snuck up on me. It is definitely getting darker and colder (though in Minnesota we have been having some warmer days). This is the month that I struggle a lot because of the lack of light (in Minnesota is is typically the cloudiest month), the pressure to get everything done and stay on top of life (mostly self-inflicted). It is almost this “oh crap” mentality that I forgot to do a lot in the summer and I must catch up and prepare for winter and do normal-life stuff, and get ready for that Turkey Holiday! Oh, and then it naturally happens I find less outdoor activity. I know I can get my butt outside more, but it takes a lot more intention to get outside. Am I right? I know when I am the most connected is when I am in nature or when connecting with humans; when I am outside I see the incredible beauty of life right before my eyes and can feel the fresh air on my body and in my lungs. I feel alive and blessed. And when I look into the eyes of a friend and can see love and can hear them share a part of their story with me, I feel complete. We all want to be supported, loved and heard. I am always honored to be a part of that with others. and if I get to do both be in nature and be with a friend, well, that is bliss!
As I reflect I cannot help but ask you: what are you going to do this November to support you? Can you look back at previous Novembers and see what might be your struggles and what you love about the month? With the extra dark and cold it is truly a time to look within and perhaps sleep more, cook more and rest more. This seems hard to do with so much going on and even longer to-do lists. But maybe, just maybe you can find various ways to slow down, just a bit. For me I know that getting eight hours in my bed is going to be critical. I am starting November in the tank in the sleep department and likely my hormones still remain a bit out of balance. Because of this it is even more critical for me to make sleep a priority (I feel like a broken record). In my attempt to keep it simple I want to share my top five tips for thriving in November. My hope is that this list resonates with you. Maybe you will want to use this list or tweak it to make it your own. Either way, having an intention and a target to shoot for can help ground you this fall and busy month! I know I can feel better this November than previous years if I keep perspective and these five things in mind.
Top 5 Tips to Thrive in November!
- Gratitude. I want to dedicate the entire month to gratitude. Gratitude is a game changer. This seems like the no-brainer word for November when Thanksgiving is coming and the holiday is all about giving thanks. However, when you LIVE your gratitude you not only say what you are grateful for but you FEEL it in your bones. Why are you grateful? Can you start a gratitude journal? Do you want to send gratitude cards to people before they might expect it? Or maybe you are struggling with something in your life that is hard and perhaps finding small reasons of gratitude will keep you going!
I have recent example how gratitude was the only thing that got my head out of my rear end. It was last Sunday and I felt in a funk, but decided to put my swim suit and head to swimming lessons with my daughter. Why not take care of myself right and swim next to her? When we arrived my intention to lap swim quickly changed when the lanes were busy! The lanes have been open for the last couple months and my excitement to take care of me quickly shifted--I felt angry and sad (and I wasn't in the mood to share a lane). I felt really sad, tears and all. And we are simply talking about 25-minutes of swimming. How big of a deal could it be? After class I decided to shower at the same time as my daughter so at least I would be clean and ready for the day. While I was showering I still felt sad and angry. Then I thought about my little girl and how aware she was of my feelings, and that I am here to teach her that I can make my day what I want to make of it. As I showered I started listing off all of the things I was grateful for because of this particular situation. I got to nine things and it was actually very uplifted and much happier after doing this exercise of listing and feeling the gratitude. It shifted my energy and I was able to be that example to my daughter I so desired. I highly recommend weaving gratitude in wherever you can. And I mean everywhere!!
- Self-Care. Regardless of how busy you are or how many things you need to do or buy or whatever fills your cup this month, self-care is critical. I know that when I don’t take care of me first I am angry and my head is NOT on straight. I ask you this question in my attempt to help you get on top of it. How can you take care of you every single day? Obviously I know some days you might get a long walk in or to the gym and others it might only be 20 minutes. However, every day is so important. For example, for me, even two missed days of meditation impacts my emotional self and that is a must for me. However, I get so tired at night I am trying to find a new schedule that we help anchor me and fill my cup this month.
Slow down and be present. Tip, the quickest way to do this is by using the breath! Oh this seems so obvious; and if I were reading this I might be SO annoyed. But stick with me for a moment. I am simply asking you if there is something you might be able to tweak so that you can be even more present? Maybe it is simply a part of the day. For example, maybe you put your phone away after dinner or you have a time to journal each Sunday night. Or maybe it is something as simple as taking five breaths before dinner. Whatever helps you to stay present is a win. Play around with it.
Yesterday I was so tired and feeling pulled for time and energy (my daughter was home from school) prior to teaching a yoga class and I was mentally was freaking out. I went on a 10-minute walk with my daughter and everything started to slow down for me. I noticed the pretty trees (barely), but more importantly I noticed the ability of this young soul to be present and curious, stopping often. As we walked a little further I thought to myself—I can do this too. So I tried to notice things around be and realized I couldn't. The emotions inside were too strong for me at that moment. So I paused again and tried to check in. You would think I should be really good at this as a yoga teacher and someone that supports and teaches wellness. Let me tell you that is not the case; I am a work in progress. But after about three tough minutes of my attempt to check in I could sense tightness in my throat (the fifth chakra) and a lot of tension in my first, second and third chakra. Essentially, there was a lot going on in my navel center. For me this moment was an aha-moment of the power of pausing and learning about what truly is happening. And sometimes, for me on this particular day, it has to start within because you can see the greatness around you. I went home and put the Gratitude Oil in my palms and then slowly took breaths. And after just two minutes of breathing I felt a huge shift. A lot changed for me in that moment. What will it be for you? Can you keep this awareness this month? Breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out! Repeat
- Say YES! Say yes to you! In previous months I have attempted to live out “No-vember!” My theory: to say “no” to as much as you can. Free up your calendar with the intention to find more self-care for you. It seems as though this didn’t work and left me feeling not so positive about November. So This November I instead encourage you to Say YES! Say yes to whatever it is that feels good in your schedule or for you. Do you need to cancel because you are under the weather? Do you need an extra yoga class and tea with a friend because connection is low and your kiddos (or hubby/wife) are driving you crazy? Do you need to go to bed early? Just say yes! Whatever it is that you want, go and get it! Yes, yes, yes!!!! Isn’t that fun?
- Embrace Imperfection. Bottom line, life isn’t perfect. It never will be. It is messy for you and the neighbor and the sister and brother. There will be easier weeks, days and months and harder ones. But when we know that perfect isn’t what we are going for in life, then the mess seems less important. This awareness can help you shift your focus to what truly is important. And maybe, just maybe you will be able to go to bed with a mess or allow yourself to indulge in groceries delivered to your door. Why not? Embrace and love up the mess much as you can. I know it isn’t easy (this week has proven that for me), but I will keep on trying!
I wish for you an amazing November filled with rest, connection, and thanks! You are amazing and you deserve to feel good on this journey. Please share your favorite tips to stay feeling awesome in November. I would LOVE to hear!
In love, light and gratitude!
p.s. I am definitely “allowing” this week by posting late and simply realizing that I will never be perfect, but I must keep showing up (even if I haven’t showered) or I forgot (again) to email or text you back. Sending LOVE to y’all!