Self Care 101—Make Your Bed and Lift Your Mood

The Best Way to Start Your Day

The #1 habit I began to change my disorganized mess into tidy success was making my bed every day. Now, it’s a non-negotiable for me that starts every morning off right. It’s amazing how a daily 60-second act has changed my self-perception. Achieving this simple task each day gives me an instant feeling of accomplishment and organization which impacts my mental health and state of well-being.

Making my bed is an act of self-care that has positively affected my other habits. Succeeding in this daily task has improved my attitude along with my general outlook on life.

Better Productivity 

Charles Duhigg writes in his book, The Power of Habit, “Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” Making your bed is what he calls a “keystone habit,” something that kick starts a pattern of other good behavior. And since it happens at the very beginning of the day, you’re apt to make better decisions for the remainder of the day thanks to your bed-making routine.

My newfound daily bed-making routine has turned into other productive habits in my home. I now put my laundry away instead of letting it sit in the dryer or hamper, and I rarely leave dishes in the sink overnight. I also started mucking the horse pen in the morning so it’s checked off my to-do list early in the day, freeing up more time in the afternoon.

I found completing this daily task turned into completing more and more tasks. By making my bed, I began to perceive myself as a more productive and present person. My habits started to become more organized. Making your bed can stimulate a chain of positive action steps in other areas of your life. 

Increases Happiness and Lifts your Mood

“When I was researching my book on happiness, making your bed was the number one most impactful change that people brought up over and over,” says author Gretchen Rubin. Turns out, people are happier when everyday tasks in their lives are completed!

Making your bed is also a simple act of self-care. How you live in your home matters to your well-being. Creating for yourself a feeling of being cared for helps lift your mood and lighten your emotional burdens.

I also became aware of a growing sense of worthiness. I asked myself don’t I deserve to have a clean space that I feel happy being in? Yes. Before I took on this new habit, I would have brushed off that question, feeling silly for asking it. Self-care is an act of valuing ourselves and putting ourselves first so we can thrive and have the strength and sense of self-worth that allows us to be there for others.

In times of uncertainty and stress, it’s the small, actionable steps which matter more than ever. Making your bed can have a significant impact on your sense of accomplishment and can be the start of an empowering self-care routine. 

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect!

I don’t fold my bed into neat little military corners. However, I do pull on the comforter and make it smooth and clean. I plump up the pillows so they look pretty and I fold the cozy grey blanket (my cat Charley’s favorite place to lay) so it sits at the bottom of the bed. Now, when I walk into my bedroom I feel energized and organized. My neatly-made bed acts as the foundation for my confidence and empowers me to feel I can take on any task that comes my way that day. 

Do you make your bed every day? I’d love to hear from you! Share your bed-making habits in the comments below.

Love,
Devon 

7 Simple Steps to Meditate + Free PDF Guide

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

 

As a certified Equine Gestalt Coach and a lifelong horse lover, I’ve had innumerable eye-opening encounters with these intuitive and peaceful animals. Horses live in the present moment. They aren’t worried about the fight they had with their spouse yesterday, or what the weather will be tomorrow. Because they live in the moment, their natural state is peace and serenity. Horses are great meditation teachers, and science has shown the benefits of meditation to be expansive and enduring.

Meditation lowers stress, increases mental clarity, and improves sleep. I most cherish how meditation quiets the incessant chatter in our minds so we can listen to our intuition. The horses in my life have taught me to trust and follow my intuition and to live in the moment. When we are NOT present, we miss out on the richness of life expressed in simple things like the smell of our dog’s fur when we hug him, the way the sun feels on our skin, a smile from a loved one, or the flavor of dark chocolate as we savor every bite.

By training our mind to live more in the present moment, we stop seeking peace and serenity, and realize it’s right here, right now.

How to Meditate in 7 Simple Steps

1. Sit upright comfortably.

If you’re like me and have tried to meditate while lying down, you know there is the danger of falling asleep. Instead, sit in a comfortable chair with an upright back, get a meditation cushion, or fold a pillow and sit cross-legged on it, which will help support your back.

2. Breathe Deeply.

Ahhhhhh, the breath, the wonderful breath. The breath is our ANCHOR to the present moment and a tool available to us at all times. Start by taking a deep breath and count to five. Then inhale and allow your lungs to fill up (it feels good to take a deep inhale) and then slowly, for a count of five, exhale through your nose, allowing your shoulders to drop. Repeat for 10 breaths.

3. Gently close your eyes.

If you’re not doing so already, I suggest closing your eyes to help you focus. It’s easy to give your mind an excuse to wander when you are staring at laundry that needs folding, or a desk full of papers that need sorting.

4. Slowly scan your body and notice any sensations.

I love this step because it’s checking in with your body. How many times a day do we ask others, “How are you?” Sometimes quite a few. How many times a day do we ask our body, “How are you?” Probably, almost never. A mental body scan is an opportunity to check in with your body and an effective way to bring you into the present moment. Start by focusing on your feet and slowly moving up to the top of your head, checking in with each part of your body before continuing on. Notice if there is tension anywhere, and if there is, consciously send your breath in the direction of that body part.

5. Be aware of any thoughts you are having.

Do you ever get stuck in overthinking? Here’s a chance to notice your thoughts WITHOUT getting roped in by them. Imagine each thought is like a cloud in the sky and you’re the observer. Notice what thoughts are present, many of them may be self-critical or negative such as “I shouldn’t have gotten angry at my mother” or “I can’t keep putting off my car repairs”. Allow each thought to come up, and pass by, without any judgment or attachment.

“Bringing awareness to our breathing we remind ourselves that we are here now.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

6. When your mind wanders, focus on your breath.

When your mind wanders, which it will, come home to your breath. Your breath is the number one tool to help you stay grounded, connected, and focused in the moment. When you focus on your breathing, your heart rate slows down, your mind begins to quiet, and your body can relax.

7. Gently open your eyes when you are ready.

I suggest practicing meditation for 5-10 minutes in the beginning. The best time of day to do it is in the morning, BEFORE having coffee, if you’re a caffeine consumer. Connecting to your breath will set the tone for your day. It’s a positive and empowering tool to practice beyond the pillow, and throughout the day. Even if you don’t have an opportunity to close your eyes, you can practice conscious breathing during a meeting, in a traffic jam, or in a conversation.

I recommend posting a meditation checklist in your bedroom or by your work area as a reminder of how easy and “doable” mediation is.

For a printable checklist of How to Meditate, CLICK HERE.  

And remember to Inhale…1, 2, 3, 4, 5…Exhale…1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Devon 

Certified Equine Gestalt Coach and author Devon Combs teaches women how to live with clarity, confidence, and self-love through connecting with horses. Devon leads the award-winning Unbridled Retreats for Women, and was named “Equestrian of the Wellness World” by the esteemed Canyon Ranch in Arizona. Learn more about the transformative work Devon does and upcoming retreats at Unbridled Retreats  and on Facebook and Instagram. 

A Reminder to Breathe


Most of us aren’t raised to think about our breathing. We assume breathing just comes naturally. Some cultures and religions along with scientific studies, however, show us the significant benefits of bringing awareness to your breath.

In every women’s equine retreat I lead, I remind my clients to breathe. I do this repeatedly, and intentionally. Yes, they are already breathing, but often their breath is short because they’re stuck in their heads—overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions. Their bodies are tight and tense and they’re not taking deep, full breaths. I ask them to breathe and allow their breath to connect them to their bodies. When they give a long, slow exhale, I invite them to give their body permission to relax, let their shoulders drop, and feel the earth beneath their boots.

Just Breathe_Unbridled Retreats women horse retreat group

When we take short breaths, we tend to be disconnected from our physical sensations and stuck in our head—overthinking, uptight, and stressed. This physical and mental tightness wreaks havoc on our bodies and our lives, making us sick, unhappy, and anxious.

Getting out of your head and into your body allows you to become more present. Equine Gestalt Coaching shows us how to be present in our breath through horses. Horses live completely in the present. They’re not depressed about what happened in the past or anxious about what could happen in the next five minutes. They are fully present in all of the sensations and solidity of now. When we emulate them and become present through focus on our breath, we bring our awareness to the moment. We let go of worries and anxiety. We become fully present.

“Change your breathing, change your life.” – Author Unknown

Being present is particularly important when you’re working with a 1,200-pound animal. At my Unbridled Retreats when clients are connecting one-on-one with horses, I remind them to breathe into their emotions. When we deny our emotions, we create physical symptoms in our body. Emotions are energy and that energy has to go somewhere. If we suppress our emotions, that withheld emotional energy will manifest and can disrupt our well-being later in life.

Firsthand experience is how I learned this. In the past when I would have a feeling of anger, upset or unhappiness, grief, or sadness, (any emotion that wasn’t happy or upbeat), I would suppress and deny these “negative” emotions. I definitely did not breathe into them. I didn’t acknowledge them. I didn’t give them air. I didn’t release them. I didn’t know how. All of those emotions were trapped in my body and manifested as an eating disorder which allowed me to maintain the illusion of control. This is how I was able to hide my emotions in a very unhealthy way for a period of years. My suppressed emotions did explode later on, and my mental health was deeply affected.

When I learned to breathe, plant my feet on the ground, take deep breaths with long exhalations through my mouth, my body started to release and soften, and I was finally able to process my emotions and let go. This is the action and the outcome I share with my clients to anchor them in the moment. When they breathe into their sadness, their sorrow, their fear, their disappointment, their joy, their happiness, it honors the emotions and allows their energy to be processed and to cycle through their body. 

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Validating our emotions through breathing into them allows us to process and release those emotions. 

Just Breathe Unbridled Retreats women horse retreat

Breathing is especially important when you’re riding a horse. As a prey animal, a horse can immediately sense if you’re not breathing. If you’re feeling fear, you get tense, your body tightens and the horse feels that from the saddle. Often when you get tense and tighten up, the horses get tight and tense—the horse is directly responding to your energy. When you breathe deeply and consciously your fear is deactivated and the horse responds to that relaxation. 

“Fear is excitement without the breath.” -Fritz Perls

At my Unbridled Retreats, I constantly remind clients to smile and breathe. The moment I speak those words, their bodies start to relax, a smile crosses their face, and they lighten up. When that change occurs, the horses visibly relax. It’s a chain reaction, a cause and effect. If you’re not breathing deeply and calmly, you’re tense. If you’re tight, the people (and horses) around you are going to feel it. Whether or not they consciously know what is taking place, you’re giving off an energy, an aura, a vibration which others can sense. When you’re breathing and you’re in the moment, you are calm, inviting, and open to people and horses you interact with. 

I love telling my clients to make sounds when we’re present in our breathing and living in the moment. When you’re making sounds your mouth is open and you’re not constricting your breathing. At some Unbridled Retreats, clients have the opportunity to round up cattle. Always, during the first round, the women are quiet, and the cattle don’t respond and move to where they are being led. Before round two I yell out, “Open your mouth, gimmee a yeeehaaaw and keep doing it!” The women follow my lead, whooping and hollering, and sure enough, the cattle move immediately, responding to the sound of the rider’s emotional release.

Where in your life can you practice taking deeper breaths and releasing energy?

I’d love to hear….share in the comments below!

Breathe with me. Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, exhale, 1, 2 ,3 ,4, 5,

Devon 

The Healing Power of Music

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth

Music is healing balm and can help us process and release our emotions. Connecting through music enables us to communicate with people and confront thoughts and fears that are hidden below the surface.

Music to Inspire:

“Music has real health benefits. It boosts dopamine, lowers cortisol and it makes us feel great. Your brain is better on music.” – Alex Doman

When I need inspiration, I crank up Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and the Curtis Mayfield classic Move on Up. When working on a computer, I take mini dance breaks to move my body and energy. Uplifting songs energize me and keep my creativity flowing.

I’m also a big fan of Enya. Her beautiful lyrics and gentle instrumentation inspire me and give me a grounded, spiritual vibe while journaling. I feel particularly inspired when listening to Caribbean Blue.

Music to process Anger:

“Music frees your soul from the dungeon of your mind”. – Wiss Auguste

A close person in my life was recently battling addiction and sabotaging herself and her relationships. To help me navigate my frustration and anger at her situation, I would sit in my parked car and beat on the steering wheel while listening to The Smashing Pumpkins, Bullet with Butterfly Wings. I would yell the lyrics at the top of my lungs, feel a huge energy release, and instantly feel calmer and more at ease.

Music to make you Laugh:

“When music hits you, you dance.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

When I need a good laugh, I play the Green Acres Theme Song or Jungle Boogie, by Kool & the Gang. If you’re feeling unhappy and disconnected from yourself, listen to music that takes you back to a time when you felt on top of your game – when you felt happy and carefree. I guarantee that music will instantly bring back feelings of contentment and happiness.

Make each day Musical:

“If everyone started off the day singing, just think how happy they’d be.” – Lauren Myracle, Shine

Starting your day with music can set the tone for that day. I begin my days with instrumental music playing as a gentle backdrop— Bach, melodic jazz, and “Spa Music”. I end my day with soft music that lulls me into a soothing night’s sleep.

Music helps express my many moods and the various facets of my personality: playful, spiritual, sensual, and deep. I encourage you to create different playlists for your different moods. My current Spotify Playlists range from “Dance Your A&* Off,” to “Swanky Lounge Dinner Music”, “Fun and Uplifting”, “Anger Release”, and “Morning Vibes.”

I’d love to hear how music shapes your life. What are your go-to songs for different moods?

Share in the comments below!

Rocking out,

Devon

Telling My Family I Need Alone Time

I’m getting better at communicating my needs. Last week I was with my family on a vacation in Mexico – my first family trip in 2 years. I’m used to traveling alone, living alone, and being on my own most of the time. I love my family AND my introverted self was worried about being around people non-stop for 5 days.

Our flight was at 6am and the Uber picked us up at 3:30am to head to the airport. I didn’t get much sleep; I was grumpy and grumbling one word responses when anyone tried to talk to me. By the time we arrived in Mexico, I was exhausted and craved alone time.

On the first night after dinner, I didn’t join in and play charades, our family’s favorite game. Instead, I slinked off to bed and mumbled “Sorry, gotta go, good night.” I felt like a rude brat for getting up and practically running away. My inner critic went off on a rant, “You’re acting like a b*&ch, stop being so grumpy, etc., etc..” Ugg, I  could not spend the rest of my vacation feeling guilty for taking care of myself.

The next morning, after a full night’s rest, I rejoined my family at the breakfast table. As everyone began eating, I clinked a fork against my juice glass and said, “I have a family announcement.”

I glanced around the table, then directly at Courtney, my sister-in-law, and Brian, my sister’s boyfriend. I announced, “For those of you new to the family, and those who have known me my whole life, I’d like to let you know I’m an introvert and need A LOT of alone time. When I leave meals early or don’t stay up late to play family games, please don’t take it personally. I get drained being around people constantly and I recharge by being alone. So when you see me leaving early, I’m not trying to be rude, I need to recharge my energy. Then I can come back in a great place and hang out with you guys, which I really want to do on this trip.”

As I spoke my voice was a bit shaky, a clear indicator I’m acting courageously by being vulnerable and sharing something personal. In spite of fearing how I might be perceived, my intuition said I MUST SPEAK UP or my vacation would be miserable.

After my family announcement, everyone at the table thanked me. The conversation opened up to who else was an introvert. The extroverts spoke up first. My brother, Hunter, shared he needs a day of chill time after about 4 months of non-stop activity and being around people. Brian said he loves being around people and is an extrovert all the way. Then everyone looked at my dad, an off the charts extrovert, who thrives in social settings and is happiest when talking with people….he smiled and concurred.

As we continued around the table, I asked my mom is she is an extrovert or introvert. She shared a prime example of when we were growing up and she was raising 4 kids, she recharged her energy by getting out of the house and teaching English and Drama to high school students. Definitely an extrovert.

My sister, Jaden, chimed in and said after her bartender shift, she turns down the offer to stay and have a drink with her co-workers. She prefers to go home, be alone, and recharge by watching movies on the couch with her dog. She’s an introvert.

I shared that I recharge by being in nature, journaling, reading and taking long walks on the beach…alone! Then, after my solitude fix, I can enjoy long walks on the beach with others.

I felt proud of myself for speaking up. In turn, it opened up a new conversation in the family and opportunity for us to understand each other better.

Later that night, I stayed after dinner and played charades with my family. I had fun and did NOT feel guilty or criticize myself for leaving after 20 minutes of game time. It was a great combo of being with my family and honoring my introvert. When my energy started to plummet, I left gracefully, without apology, and headed to bed.

No one questioned or judged me. Most importantly, I didn’t judge me.

How do you recharge your energy? By being alone or with others? Being an introvert or extrovert is similar to being right or left handed; it’s how you’re wired.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? I’d love to hear, share in the comments below.

Knowing what you need is empowering; communicating what you need is liberating.

Devon

Adventure on Kenosha Pass

Adventure and the Joy of Feeling Alive

When I have too much routine, I go crazy. I crave adventure, I need adventure, especially in nature. Adventure is food for my soul.

One of the beauties of working from home is creating my own schedule. I go on mid-week adventures and spontaneously pick places to explore.

This week I chose Kenosha Pass, a gorgeous place to hike, especially when the fall leaves start to change color. As soon as the thought popped in my head, the decision was made – Kenosha Pass or Bust.

The adventure began when I started my car. I opened the sun roof, blasted “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and headed westbound.

One Eagles playlist and an hour and 15 minutes later, I pulled up to the Kenosha Pass trailhead. I smiled when I saw only a few cars in the parking lot. The less people, the better – I was there to connect with the mountains.

I grabbed my backpack and trekking poles out of the car, locked the doors, and headed toward the trail.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

Adventure on Kenosha Pass

Once I got moving, I found my rhythm and tuned into the meditative click clack of the trekking pokes against the dirt.

Adventure on Kenosha Pass

I felt strength in my legs, and excitement in my veins not knowing what I would come across. I love the feeling of the unknown – it’s when I feel most alive.

Devon on an adventure

Thirty feet off the trail, I spotted a fort and felt a twinge of eerie Blair Witch Project vibe. I walked over with my heart pounding. Ducking my head in the fort, I admired the craftsmanship and the coziness…what a commitment to build this thing, geez. Whomever built it knew what they were doing.

Fort on Kenosha Pass

I proceeded back to the trail and continued onward and upward.

When I reached the high point, I took a deep “awe-hale” as the LOOOONGGG view of Kenosha Pass came into sight. “Thank You, God” came out of my mouth in gratitude. The vastness and beauty knocked all thoughts out of my head…I was 100% present. 

Adventure View on Kenosha Pass

I sat down in the grass, stared into the view, and took it all in. My trivial worries from home vanished and were replaced with peace. Nature puts everything into perspective.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

Devon reflecting on her adventure on Kenosha Pass

A Luna Bar and an hour later, I made my way back down the trail feeling connected to something greater than myself.

View of the adventure on Kenosha Pass

With the parking lot in sight, I tuned back to the trail and inhaled a breath of gratitude into every cell of my being. My soul was fed.

Adventure connects me to what matter most…the joy of feeling alive.  

Do you crave adventure in your life? I’d love to hear from you….what type of adventures do you like to go on?

Adventure is calling, and I must go,
Devon 

How I overcame my inner critic this morning

I just busted myself in a familiar pattern – avoiding my creative impulse.

I got up early, couldn’t go back to sleep, and “Charley,” my cat, was walking all over me – a sign from the Universe to wake up and write.

I walked downstairs, fed Charley, started typing on my laptop.

Ten minutes in, I felt frustrated, aka my inner critic had shown up.

Hence, I stopped typing my thoughts and started searching other people’s quotes online (a distraction tactic). It’s much easier to read other people’s creative musings then come up with my own, and face my inner critic head on.

I quickly got lost in the rabbit hole of one website leading to another. Then, the thought popped into my head to check my bank account. Well shit, I better get my statement to my accountant this instant. (Another tactic to avoid writing.) My accountant obviously needs my bank statement at 5:47am in the morning.

Truth is, it’s easier to send a straightforward email with numbers than it is to trust my creativity, dig deep, and stay in the unknown. It’s easier to pop back up to the surface of “necessary tasks”, than to drop down deep into my body. My inner critic doesn’t like to go deep. It doesn’t like the well of feelings that lives there, the messiness, the unknown of what could spring up when that pool of emotions is hit.

Better to stay safe, above the surface, and email my accountant.

But that’s not what my creative impulse woke me up at 3:54am to do.

So here I am, 2 hours later. Laptop still in my lap, and I’ve circled back. Circled back to myself. Writing from the heart is like shooting from the hip. I don’t know where it’s taking me and or what’s going to fly out. I face huge resistance to stay here, and frankly, it’s easier to stick to the safe stuff like sending emails. But staying safe keeps me stagnant and prevents me from expressing who I am.

Do you ever do that? Feel inspired to do something and then, once you begin, you think you “should” be doing laundry, taking care of others, returning emails…ANYTHING ELSE but face the resistance that springs up when you start to do something good for your soul, your creativity, your inner life?

You’re not alone.

Instead of searching other people’s quotes, I’ll share a quote I just made up, “Instead of choosing the tried and true, pick YOU.” Hmmm, my quote game is NOT strong this morning and that’s ok, I attempted, and most importantly, stopped searching other people’s quotes.

This is progress because my fingers are still moving across the page outrunning my inner critic! Can’t catch me now, critic.

I’m over the resistance hump and it’s because I recognized my inner critic (AWARENESS), didn’t beat myself up (SELF-COMPASSION), and I circled back, keep going, and didn’t give up (PERSISTENCE). 

Thank you for reading and for listening. This is more of a running ramble than a polished post and it’s what I needed to get out, get down, and flow through my fingers this morning. My creativity impulse is now running free, and my inner critic is eating dust.

I feel lighter, content, and a bit jovial as a result of expressing myself.

Devon

Female in a pink shirt sitting by the pond

How to Be Kind to Yourself

Recently I’ve been reading my old journals. The #1 difference I notice between my past and present is the way I talk to myself. Self-talk.

Old journals have scribbled, “Why do you keep doing this?” to current journals reading, “You’ve got this, Dev.”

My relationship with myself has changed drastically over the years and I continue to work on it.

Instead of berating myself for making mistakes, I’m MUCH more self-compassionate and forgiving.

I tear up reading how I used to treat and talk to myself. No wonder I was depressed. I was mean to myself and walked on eggshells based on other people’s opinions and judgments of me – and the worst critic was in my own head.

I tried to be perfect to “gain approval” and then one slip, and bam…I’d scold myself and tell myself things horrible things.

I’m not perfect now, nor do I strive to be. I make mistakes but I don’t rake myself over the coals like I used to. I still get upset with myself but now I tell myself, “THAT was not good,” instead of “YOU are not good.”

Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Treat yourself like you would a great friend. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship there is. Nourish it every day – self-kindness has a huge impact on your mental health and has a positive ripple effect on everyone around you.

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.” – Jane Austen

Devon Combs doing some self talk by the pond

How to talk to yourself? Do you have self-compassion, or does your inner critic run the show?

I’d love to hear from you….leave a comment below.

Kindness goes a long way, especially when it’s directed at yourself.

Love,
Devon 

Top 5 tips for Well-Being

Are you going through a rough time, feeling out of whack, or just want some tools to feel better in general?

Check out my TOP 5 TIPS FOR WELL-BEING…

BE IN NATURE

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

Being in nature is an efficient healing source and a quick way to shift your mood. Go barefoot in your backyard and feel the grass under your feet. Walk in your local park and look up at the trees. Visit a garden and literally smell the roses. Notice the colors, aromas, and diversity of nature.

On my daily walks, I’m reminded of the abundance of the universe, and it lifts my spirits and clears my mind.

 

SHARE HOW YOU FEEL

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”- Brene Brown

This can be a hard one for many people who try to appear to “have it together all the time”. I’m going to let you in on a secret….NOBODY DOES! I used to be a master of hiding how I felt and it was working with horses that taught me to share my authentic self.

Keeping your true feelings buried causes you to feel alone which can lead to depression. Call a friend, family member (my sister is my go-to), or visit an Equine Gestalt Coach or therapist. When you share how you feel with a trusted confidante (person or animal), you instantly feel lighter, more connected, and not so alone.

 

JOURNAL

“What a comfort is this journal. I tell myself to myself and throw the burden on my book and feel relieved.” – Anne Lister

Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a healthy outlet for them to be released. It can give you a new perspective, and it’s a powerful way to reflect on what is and isn’t working in your life.

My favorite journaling practice is Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” exercise of writing three pages each morning. I love stream-of-consicousness journaling of downloading all my thoughts and feelings through the pen.

 

MOVE YOUR BODY

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch

Crank the music and dance in your kitchen, or go to the gym and sweat it out. Nothing gets you out of your head, and into your body faster than raising your heart rate.

Even when I don’t feel like it, I make it a priority to exercise at least 20 minutes 4 to 5 times a week and I ALWAYS feel better and more energetic afterward.

 

MEDITATE

“Suffering is due to our disconnection with the inner soul. Meditation is establishing that connection.” – Amit Ray

Take 5 to 15 minutes each day to sit, close your eyes, and observe your breath. It helps relieve anxiety, and connects you to your inner guidance. By meditating regularly, you develop the ability of observing your thoughts instead of your thoughts controlling you.

I love guided meditations because they help keep my mind from wandering all over the place. I highly recommend the Headspace Meditation app for simple 10 minute guided meditations.

 

We ALL feel out of whack at times and by integrating these tools, you can experience more balance and increased well-being.

I’d love to hear from you….what practice or tools do you use to stay balanced and feel better? Share in the comments below.

To your well-being,

Devon

Letting Go of What Was, and Accepting What Is

This picture of Detail and I was taken 3 years ago. I keep posting it to remember the good old days before lameness took over.


Detail’s been off for over a year now. We’ve tried changing vets, changing farriers, ultrasounds, Platelet Rich Plasma injections, arthritis medications, corrective shoeing, chiropractic adjustments, Reiki, the list goes on…

Last night I went out to the pasture and scratched Detail in her favorite spots. She stood there and rocked back and forth encouraging me to scratch different places. I wept and told her I’m sorry. Sorry she’s hurting. Sorry I can’t fix it. And that I’m 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to help her feel better. I sat down on the ground and she walked up to me and put her heart to my head as she always does. That hasn’t changed.

Maybe my relationship with Detail is supposed to be more literally grounded at this point. Less flying across the fields; more easy walks on the trail. I know there’s truth to that, but it hurts like hell to think of letting go of our gallops through the pastures. Detail loved to run, and feeling her unbridled power was my definition of freedom.

At 35, I’m figuring out what freedom means now. Who am I, if I’m not the wild, free-spirited woman galloping bareback in a dress with my four-legged best friend? My ego loves attaching my identity to that visual image.

I’m learning freedom means letting go of my ego’s attachment to what was, surrendering to what is, and making space for what will be. 

I will do everything in my power to help Detail get better and then it’s up to God. That’s when the tears come because I can’t control the outcome.

When I stop fighting and resisting the way things are, I feel calmer. My tears have been released, and I surrender. In the surrender, there’s acceptance. Accepting that it’s a new chapter for us.

Detail is continuing to teach me to become unbridled, to let go, to stop trying to control what’s out of my control. My new definition of freedom isn’t galloping bareback, but letting go what was, accepting what is, and making space for what will be.

By accepting, I feel free,

Devon

Have you ever struggled to accept a “new norm” with a beloved friend? I’d love to hear from you, please share in the comments below.