Reconnect by disconnecting: are you a stakeholder in your own health in our information, data driven world?

Frayed and frazzled by data overload

Frayed and frazzled by data overload

Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Linked in, Flickr, Skype, You Tube, Pinterest, My space, Google Plus, Instagram, Mylife.  Are you feeling a little frazzled due to the increase in social media options, notifications, updates, requests and the need to stay informed and up to date with what’s new, what’s on offer and the advantages of joining in?

Do you recognise the signs and symptoms of social media and sensory overload? Have you noticed a slight irritability, frustration, tiredness and just a little crankiness clouding your days? Have you noticed an increase in muscle tension, headaches, clenched jaws, fogginess and brain drain? It could all be associated with keeping up with and managing your email accounts, news feeds and blogs. Not to mention tapping into your social media sites and dealing with requests to join others. The TV, radio and newspapers also contribute to the maelstrom churning in your head.

The problem is you’re too connected. Yet at the same time, many of you feel isolated and on the fringe. So what’s the solution? You need to take action to reconnect and return to your centred, grounded place; your place of peace, of confidence, of joy.

If you’re done, for a while, with the constant barrage of smoise (social media noise) the obvious thing to do is log off and tune out for a while. Sever the link and exit the social media vortex and really connect with life. But let’s be real about this; many of us simply can’t live without social media, smart phones and the like for extended periods. In the interests of self-care, self-preservation and sanity commit, instead, to reducing the number of times and the length of time you check in. Turn off your notifications and check in once a day to catch up on all the ‘news’. Set yourself a target of say a day, or a week of reduced input and, in that time, rebalance yourself.

Rebalance, refresh and rejuvenate by creating a list of things that make you feel good and commit to doing one or more of them, each day, for at least a week (without phones, iPods, iPads, laptops etc). My list includes things like heading off into the forest to enjoy the wildlife, taking a walk on the beach and burying my feet in the sand, meeting a friend for coffee at one of my favourite cafes. Meditating in the garden, tending to my new herb garden, buying a beautiful book and reading it on the deck, with a pot of tea, are also high on my feel good, reconnection list. Get the idea?

Might I suggest that you include a sojourn into the natural world somewhere on your list. Go hiking, surfing, bike riding, pack a picnic – anything to get outside into the fresh air. Greater benefits will be felt if you connect with the skin of the earth. Take your shoes off, stand, sit or lie down on the earth and breath deeply.

Find some quiet time, in a space that makes you feel calm and relaxed, to just sit. If you are not a regular meditator don’t worry. You don’t need to sit in silence for hours. Some days five minutes is all I have but those five minutes make all the difference. A teacher once told me to simply sit and concentrate on the breath. Feel it being drawn into the nostrils on the inhale and feel its warmth on the upper lip on the exhale. He suggested, instead of trying to clear my mind completely, I should start by trying to empty my mind for one complete breath. Sounds so insignificant doesn’t it? Let me reassure you, one whole breath without a thought is pure bliss.  Give it a go. You can work your way up to 10 or 20 breaths. Eventually, you won’t need to count your breaths, you’ll be able to sit in peace for the time you have.

What about your diet? How aware are you of the impact your food choices  are having on your brain and your body? When we are stressed and overloaded we often make poor food choices for a whole range of reasons. As part of your rebalancing regime limit processed and refined food. Nourish your body and brain by eating fresh, real food. Drink more water and less coffee. Start by planning a healthy eating menu for one day, it will be a good start to taking the toxic load off your body.

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Do you value yourself enough to step out of the information vortex to reclaim your equilibrium?

Are you ready to short-circuit the overload, to rebalance and reconnect with yourself?

Are you ready take action?

“Yes?” Then go ahead, make your list. Commit to a time frame and “just do it”. You are so worth the effort. You never know, what begins as a day of self nurturing may become a habit. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

We can’t escape our modern world but we can live in harmony with it when we make taking care of ourselves a priority.

What will you do to rebalance, reconnect and re-establish your equilibrium when you find yourself overloaded by the torrent of data and information that bombards you each day?

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Nature’s pharmacy: What potent ingredients do you require for good health?

I am currently travelling through Europe and have had the opportunity to hike in a number of different landscapes: while all have their own unique qualities I am drawn to certain landscapes more than others.

In the Dolomites I was awed by the stark harshness of the bare jagged rock but felt quite misplaced. I had this feeling once before after catching the cable car to the top of the Argille Du Midi in Chamonix, France, a 3842 metre peak. I enjoyed the splendour of the mountain terrain coated in white snow and ice but after a while I began to crave the earth beneath my feet; I had a driving need to place my bare feet deep into moist, aromatic soil.

The rugged landscape of The Dolomites

The rugged landscape of The Dolomites

The Scottish moors are mysterious and magical. The roaring silence deep within the moors is at once unsettling and peaceful. The landscape, birds, animals and flora play to my senses

I am most at home, however, in the forest. Be it the lush humid Australian rainforest or cool dark European forests surrounded by Oak, Rowan, Ash, Juniper, Elm and Pine trees. I love the raw, dank smell of the soil, the richness of colour and the closeness of the majestic trees. The sounds of these wooded places draws me. The melody of native birds to the hushed silence one experiences deep within these places are soothing. The interplay of species within the forest and bushland are works of art to my eye. I revel in the twisting of vine around trunk, the round woody burls protruding from trees, the buttress like flanges that extend from the base of trees that can cradle a weary walker and the colourful fungi and mushrooms that remind me of childhood stories of fairies and their homes. All this and more draw me back to the forest time and again. There have been times in my life I have needed to return to the Australian Blue Mountains to rejuvenate by lingering in that vast National Park. The mountains call to me.

The ocean too is a place of healing, refreshment and rejuvenation for me. I have only to step onto one of our sandy Australian beaches to feel my troubles roll away on the tide. The strength of the ocean waves crashing on the beach or gently rolling over each other as they reach the shore is music to my ears. The very vastness of the ocean, viewed from a small section of beach, puts my thoughts into perspective. Twice, I have soothed a grieving heart by the sea. Having lost cherished grandparents I was instinctively drawn to the beach when my grief overwhelmed me. After several days of walking, bathing, sitting, praying and being nurtured by the energy of the ocean I could return home, still nursing a grieving heart but one that was less raw, one that allowed me to function again in the world.

Pottsville Beach, Australia

Pottsville Beach, Australia

Nature is a powerful healer. I know this to be true yet I am constantly amazed and pleasantly surprised when I experience a deep solace, heightened senses and raised spirits after a hike, a walk on the beach or time in the garden. Do you draw strength from the earth? Where do you go to recover, rejuvenate and heal?