April has been a rocky roller coaster of a month full of wonderful highs and some of my lowest of lows. Over the course of the past few months our world has drastically changed and I have no doubt that others have also had a roller coaster ride too. The aim is to hopefully make this ride called life a little smoother.
I set out this month to launch Spinelly Coaching and Consulting on April 1st and I chose to theme the month around Love and Connection because I truly believe that now more than ever we need to choose love, compassion, and empathy for one another. I wanted to share wonderful resources on this topic, but this did not happen as planned. Life does not always happen as planned.
My dad suddenly passed away at the beginning of the month. For much of my life he and I had been very close. However, over the past two years he and I have had a more difficult relationship as I began to openly and expressly reject many of the ideals that I was raised with: monogamous relationships, small nuclear families, and patriarchal values. When I think about this, I connect to other queer LGBTQ+ folk who have felt similar rifts or expulsions from their family of origin due to who they are at their core, their life choices, and their courage to live life on their own terms.
Just a few days before he passed, we had a loving conversation where I truly forgave him and I could feel him sending as much love as he could through the phone (he was in Canada and I am in Berlin). I am thankful that I was able to get some closure before he passed. Not all queer folk are able to have this and my heart breaks for them because the pain is very very real physically and emotionally. Greif is tricky that way.
I slowly started to roll out Spinelly on April 4th because it gives me hope and focus, and because countless hours have gone into it behind the scenes which make me incredibly proud to share this with the world. This has been part of the roller coaster, the highs of launching a new business to support alternative and diverse people, while grieving the loss of my father and the impacts of Covid-19.
Throughout this I have really struggled on some days. On one day I might be unbearably sad, but the next I feel fine and “normal”, then incredibly happy and grateful! I have had many undercurrents of not feeling productive enough, thoughts such as “I work from home, I am a freelancer, I need to get up and sit at my desk and make my business work!” I started to realize that by forcing myself to work on days where I felt unbearably sad, I was not being kind, loving, or connecting with myself. I was being cruel and conforming to a world driven by productivity. But what is productivity?
I believe that as a society we need to redefine what productivity is! Some days productivity may mean having a shower, brushing your teeth, and eating a nutritious meal that gives your body fuel to get you through the day. Productivity is giving yourself love and connecting with yourself and others. In times of physical distancing productivity is finding unique and creative ways to connect with those you are close to and your communities. Productivity is doing activities that allow your soul to speak or to let your creative energies flow!
Mental Health Tools of the Month
1. Yoga and Stretching
For many when we feel distress, disconnection and overwhelm, it becomes easy to disconnect our minds from our bodies. Over time this becomes normalized and we then have difficulty feeling fully connected. Yoga and Stretching (nice deep long stretches) help us to focus our breath, our mind, and to feel connected to our bodies through movement. Even just dedicating ten to fifteen minutes a day on this has huge benefits. I find that spending a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes before bed to be the most effective at clearing my mind, feeling calm and connected. Spending time on stretching or yoga is a form of giving yourself love and connection.
Sunlight triggers a release of the feel-good chemicals in our brain (serotonin and dopamine) and studies have shown that when we spend time outdoors our moods improve and stress is relieved. Not only this, but when we spend time outdoors we tend to connect more with nature. Nature is also a natural stress reliever. Seriously go hug a tree, walk barefoot on the grass, listen to the birds sing – your body, mind, and soul will thank you for it.
Music is a universal language. Music is there when we do not have words to describe our feelings. Find music you connect to, create your own music, let your feelings flow.
4. Do something you Love!
Whatever it is that you love and gives you joy, do it! If you find it’s hard to get started, follow the five minute rule: set a timer on your phone, do your thing for five minutes and you’ve done it, (but if you’re into it keep going)! Doing something you love is productivity!
The more love we give the more love we receive and this starts with us!
I am excited to continue to connect with more of you, so please feel free to contact me for a free coaching call!
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