Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Friday Wellness Tip: Spanista Suggests Real Simple Solution Breathe


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Friday Wellness Tip: Spanista Suggests Real Simple Solution Breathe. Perhaps this sounds simple enough, but for someone like me who has a tendency to absorb the fast paced energy of the environment around me as juggling too many things I love doing while anticipating outcomes (get the picture?), I developed the habit of holding my breath unconsciously. Not sure when this habit developed but it now takes a concerted effort for me to be mindful of it. And work to correct it.

Last weekend I realized I was getting headaches in late afternoons which is rare for me. Thinking first I was dehydrated, I turned to H2O to replenish. But after a couple of days this did not appear to have an affect. Then it occurred to me to monitor my breath and sure enough, I found myself not breathing naturally – I was ‘shallow breathing’. Do you know what I mean? Just taking in enough breath to sustain life but not taking in the proper levels of oxygen required to stream through my body. This has two negative impacts – 1.) My shoulders move up to be level with my ears which bring about discomfort in my neck muscles; 2. ) This compounds the headache that then stems from two source points – to low a level of oxygen and neck muscles that are tense enough to create stress that add to the headache.

So what is happening? I do not know about you, but I am finding it a bit hard to grasp that in a few short days two months of 2015 will be gone. Yes, they are used up, finished, spent! Never will these days be revisited. As I reflect, the beginning of this year has been exciting – with loads of travel, nurturing Spanista’s development with posts, enjoying family time and branding projects for some interesting clients. My time has been invested well but looking back, I have lost site of a few of my Self Care Rituals – especially because I have not been home or been over booked. It happens so easily, right? Unconscious stress is building up in my body.

When a headache appeared again late yesterday I picked up Real Simple Magazine and lay down to try to work out what to do with my Self Care to break this pattern. You know the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher appears?” Well paging through Real Simple’s: ‘Let It Go’ January Issue, ( yes I am behind in my quality reading) filled with 62 ideas to free yourself from guilt, clutter, stress, and body hang-ups and make this your best year yet.” I held onto this edition because I loved the cover tile so much. Well I got to page 42 and there is was – The Answer to my needs right now. The Headline to the short feature was simply: BREATHE. It was written by this months expert – Margaret Townsend, a certified breathwork and Hakomi practitioner in the Portland, Oregon, area. Find her at the Reading this Spanista was reminded of medical research proving deep breathing, at least once a day, can strengthen your heart and restore muscle health.


Margaret offers this simple Self Care advice: BREATHE. She recommends thinking about a stressful situation you are facing at the moment. Close your eyes to scan your body to find the tension spot when you think about the situation. (my neck!) Rest your hand on the tense spot and comfortable inhale to focus the breath to reach the tension spot. Exhale and breathe again mindfully to get to the tension spot. Repeat several times. Then relax. Now feel the new softness in those spots. Mindfully breathing into tightness creates softening as a gentle way for tensions to relax.

Spanista Takeaway – Friday Wellness Tip: Spanista Suggests Real Simple Solution Breathe! Applying Margaret’s method, I focused on my tension area to realize my headache was gone in a few minutes. Now I am reminded to be conscious of proactively controlling my breathing deeply – catching it early. But if I forgot I have a new Self Care Ritual I can turn to for relief. Why not give it a try?

Let Spanista know if it works for you, so we can share the results with other Wellness Seekers?

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


P.S. Photo Credit for Real Simple Magazine Article of Butterfly by Christopher Baker.

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