Spring is here! The daffodils in my yard bloomed yesterday, so it’s official. Now that we can start getting outside a little bit I want to talk about grounding. This is a word I use a lot these days, but I didn’t even know what it was a decade ago. I started to hear the word grounded when I sought help for chronic anxiety. I had been a widow for 2 years, and I was raising my 4 year old daughter by myself. I was sleep- deprived, stressed-out, and worried almost constantly… and it was getting worse. I was suffering from a lot of vague but debilitating symptoms and none of the typical medications or advice were helping. When I heard about an Anthroposophical doctor who might have some alternatives, I was so miserable that I didn’t even hesitate to book an appointment. I saw her only one time, but she spent 3 hours listening to me talk about my symptoms, my life…everything. She sent me home with lots of homeopathic remedies that were very beneficial, but the immediate relief and huge change in my life came from the note she wrote on her prescription pad:
Drink hot herbal teas 3-4x daily
Hot lavender bath 1x daily before bed
Go to bed no later than 10 p.m.
This was my introduction to grounding. I had always given my daughter a bath every night before she went to sleep – it was a relaxing transition from supper to bed. It had never occurred to me that I might benefit from a similar ritual. I purchased a lavender bath milk and started soaking almost every night. I was amazed at how much calmer I became. The hot water seemed to melt away some of the achy-ness from chronically tense muscles, my breathing became deeper, and I could sleep! My doctor had explained to me that I wasn’t grounded. I had been living under extremely stressful conditions for almost 4 years and I had lost my connection to my physical body and the earth itself. The baths, sleep, and hot teas were non-negotiable, she said, and that’s exactly why she wrote those instructions on the prescription pad… I might have ignored this advice if she hadn’t. It had to become doctor’s orders to get me to start nurturing my physical body, but this was the first step I took toward reconnecting with my spirit and healing my life.
The message to get grounded kept coming up for me again and again. Around this same time I had my first ever intuitive reading with Sonia Choquette… and she said to me, “You need to get out of your head and back into your body.” By now I was starting to take this advice to heart. I learned about the 7 chakras or energy centers of the body and realized that every symptom I was suffering from fell under the description of an unbalanced root chakra – it all resulted from my lack of grounding and it made sense too. Most of my life up until that point I had avoided schedules and rhythm. As a student in graduate school I made good grades, but did most of my work in cycles of procrastination, work binges, and “all-nighters”. I’d cross the finish line completely fried and then spend the next couple of days recuperating until the next paper or test rolled around. This way of coping seemed to work fine until I had my daughter. I realized shortly after bringing her home from the hospital that my previous habits were going to need serious revision. She needed a schedule and so did I, but I had no idea how to do this. I didn’t have much time to learn either because shortly after, I lost my husband, moved several times, and had to start my life over as a single parent. These events had really damaged my “root system”. I needed to take this grounding thing seriously and start nurturing myself back into my body and back into balance. Because I had let this go for so long, it took some time and retraining to regain my health and vitality… but it worked. I noticed almost immediately that being more grounded helped me cope with day to day life much more gracefully.
Fortunately, I no longer suffer from anxiety or sleep deprivation, but I still have to be mindful of staying balanced and grounded. I try to check in with my body every day and notice how I’m feeling. It’s sooo easy to get busy, rushed, stuck in our heads, and lose track of our physical bodies. Some of the symptoms of being ungrounded are : feeling scattered, tired, confused, no appetite or forgetting to eat, mindless eating, not sleeping, either being too busy or too sedentary, worry, anxiety, aches and pains that you just tolerate or don’t notice, working hard but feeling that no progress is made, disorganization, irritability, impatience, sluggishness, and lack of motivation. Some people tend to get wound up when they are ungrounded and some people tend to freeze up. Here are some of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling ungrounded:
- Take a short walk – being physical and outdoors is very grounding
- Yoga- even a few stretches can help if you can’t get to a class
- Cooking – come back to your body by preparing and eating a delicious meal
- Lavender Epsom Salt Baths: My favorite! A 20 minute soak does wonders.
- Go to bed early – by 10 p.m. – preferably after the bath.
- Meditate: Even if it’s just 5 minutes breathing slowly as you focus on your heart. This helps you pull your awareness back into your body and slow your heart rate.
- Work in the Garden – it’s fun and very grounding.
- Tidy up the house or work space. Sometimes just cleaning out my inbox and paying a few bills makes the whole world look brighter.
- Being outside in nature
- Getting a massage or reflexology treatment
Happy Spring to you all! Have fun getting grounded! xo