Learn to Relax

cute, swim, green, relax, frog, amphibian, toy, fun, relaxation, figure, figurine, funny, bath, body care

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Learn-to-Relax-e1aamcd

Relaxation is for many of us, a lost art. I asked several local women how they relax. Unsurprisingly, many felt that this was a really tough question to answer. After a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘ughs’, it was apparent that folks, regardless of whether or not they are working 5 or more days a week, in a relationship, or balancing parenthood, did not know how to relax.

Even when we’re not technically working, our bodies and minds are constantly distracted. We have information at our fingertips every hour of every day with our phone appendage. We default to scrolling or watching or listening during our downtime.

According to psychoanalyst David Morgan, we take “deadening retreats” in our screens, which in turn, has led to the inability to relax.

We may think we’re relaxing by sitting on the couch and watching the latest TikTok trend, but we’re not. We may feel like binging Netflix is a good escape, but really, we’re still being stimulated.

So, how do you relax?

Relaxing can look different for different people, but it really is a state of calm mind, an uncluttered situation. This could mean a walk in the park (without headphones), a warm bubble bath, or curling up to read a good book. It’s minimizing distractions. It’s unplugging. It’s an elimination of a target – no true goal in mind. You walk in nature to walk. You read for pleasure. You are mindful just being.

And since we’ve lost our way on the relaxation front, our best bet is to deliberately make time for it. Carve out 5 minutes to lay down with your eyes closed or sit in a comfy chair, looking out the window, warm cup of tea in hand.

Breathe deep, be still, and for the love of all things holy, don’t feel guilty about it. You’ve earned it.

Our Path Series: Katie Hart

Katie Hart is an event coordinator, makeup artist, and the owner of By Hart Designs. Check out Katie’s services and offerings in the links below.

Facebook & IG: @ByHartDesigns

http://www.byhartdesigns.com/

Facebook & IG: @makeupbykatiehart

https://makeupbykatiehart.wixsite.com/mubkh

Listen to the full interview here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Our-Path-Series-Katie-Hart-e19v7e8

Pick It & Stick It

Listen to the podcast here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Pick-It–Stick-It-e19not4

Post-its, sheets of paper, calendar, daily planner, a folder, your phone. All of these strategies are useful in their own right for keeping track of our schedule and to do list. However, if you’re anything like the majority, we sometimes get caught in a spiral of writing down notes and details across multiple platforms. And then come time to actually act on the task, we are too busy searching for and putting together pieces of the puzzle. Had we just been organized from the start, we could save ourselves loads of time and effort.

For example, while sitting in a meeting recently, I quickly jotted down a note on the nearest piece of scrap paper. I left the meeting and shoved it in my pocket…never to see the light of day. I promptly lost that note and with my head held in shame, had to ask the leader the same question the next day. Why I didn’t bring my favorite notepad to the meeting is beyond me. While this wasn’t the end of the world, it certainly highlighted the necessity of a single method.

The single method strategy is an essential way to stay on top of deadlines and critical information.

To start, choose your preferred form – electronic or paper.

If you chose paper, think about what works best for you. A single notebook that you carry around like another appendage? A running notepad of tear-off checklists? It really doesn’t matter, as long as you stick with it.

If you chose electronic, which app is going to be the most useful? Maybe something that syncs with your email? Allows for note taking and scheduling? Pick something that matches your professional or personal life.

And speaking of professional and personal life, it is also a good idea to keep these two clearly demarcated in your method of choice.

For example, say you like Google calendar. Rather than scheduling personal and job-related items on the same calendar in the same way, maybe try color coding? Pink for personal, blue for job? You are still remaining consistent with your electronic method, but you are taking the next organizational step to better your scheduling and curb the chaos. And if you’re a paper enthusiast, invest in some brightly colored highlighters!

We certainly have the wiring to follow through and carry out, but we are not built to retain endless notes, dates, and times. Pick a single organization strategy and stick to it!

Our Path Series: Jenly Deiter

Jenly Deiter is a stunning circus arts performer and assistant director of Iron City Aerial. She is also an aerial instructor and co-owner of Iron City Circus Arts. Check out Jenly and all of her studio offerings through the links below. Join the circus!

Find Jenly and ICCA here:

https://www.ironcitycircusarts.com/

IG @jenly926 @ironcitycircusarts @iron.city.aerial

#cirquetheburgh

Facebook @Jenly @ironcitycircusarts

Listen to my full interview with Jenly here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Our-Path-Series-Jenly-Deiter-e199jfj

Hold Yourself To Your Own Standards

Listen to the podcast: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Hold-Yourself-To-Your-Own-Standards-e18v9c2

With social media aplenty and everyone else’s best moments on prominent display, it’s hard not to constantly compare yourself. And with each mindless scroll, you could certainly start succumbing to the ‘comparison trap‘ – how does she look so great after having a baby? what kind of job does he have to afford that new car? I wish I had the money to travel like they do.

While I’m all for social media detoxes and reminders that the majority of folks don’t air their dirty laundry, it’s more important to set your own standards and track your goals.

For example, you’re trying to lose weight. You have a baseline and you likely have a goal. Rather than being negatively influenced by Susan’s incredible overnight drop of the baby weight, monitor your progress only. Every incremental step counts and should be celebrated. Better yet, create a chart or use an electronic measurement system so you can visually see your journey. And no matter what Susan posts, don’t let her fool you – I’m sure she has good and bad days as well. If you fall off, get back on the horse and try try again.

A social support system can be validating, on or off social media, but at the end of the day, unless you support you, no one else’s standards matter. Take back control and rest assured you’re doing the best for you.

Our Path Series: Alicia ‘DJ EESH’ Delmastro

Alicia Delmastro (aka DJ EESH) is a local Pittsburgh DJ, a community outreach specialist, an influencer, and a self-proclaimed Hills Carnival survivor. Besides DJing weddings, restaurants, and bars, DJ EESH helps plan and provides the music for many philanthropic events, focusing on youth services, addiction help, humane societies, and lots more.

Find DJ EESH and her events here:

https://www.facebook.com/DJEESH

IG: @dj_eesh

Listen to my full interview with DJ EESH here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Our-Path-Series-Alicia-DJ-EESH-Delmastro-e18ksao

Happy + Sad = Improved Decisions

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Happy–Sad–Improved-Decisions-e189sse

Have you ever experienced a circumstance that brought joy and sadness at the same time?

For example, a newly pregnant woman attends the funeral of her father. Or you are informed of your friend’s engagement the same day you are diagnosed with cancer.

While these are extreme examples, a battle of emotions happens quite frequently. The scientific term for this state is called ambivalence.

Let’s look at another example that may be something you’ve experienced, perhaps frequently. By birth, you are likely a part of a family. Whether or not you are happy with your family, outside of disowning or ignoring them, they’re still connected to you by blood. Say you have an aunt that you love, she was there for you as a child and continues to applaud your accomplishments. However, she constantly disagrees with your choice of partner. You feel happy when she is a part of MOST of your life, but are angry when she makes snide remarks about your current girlfriend.

This situation can often lead to heavy negative feelings, either toward the cause of our ambivalence or toward ourselves. We certainly find it difficult to live in this state of constant flux and can become consumed and exhausted by it. We desperately want to figure out what side we are on. Sometimes it can even lead to procrastination and emotional paralysis.

However, there are 2 ways to reframe these feelings to make them more manageable:

  1. Accept our ambivalence. According to Psychology Today, we are complex creatures with complex feelings. Ambivalence is human nature, not to be solved. Life is not meant to be black and white; thus, using our energy to determine our concrete positive or negative emotions on a subject is a waste of time. Lean into the convolution.
  2. Understand that ambivalence boosts our judgement skills. In an article published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the authors research groups of people with or without mixtures of feelings. Those individuals who were experiencing happiness and sadness simultaneously accepted alternative viewpoints more easily and made better decisions.

Therefore, although it may seem like your mind is constantly on trial, with the prosecution on one side and the defense on the other, welcome the ambivalence and use it to your advantage. The next time you’re tasked with a tough decision, you’ll likely be more informed and confident if you have a lot of different emotions swirling around in that big beautiful brain.

Our Path Series: Barbara Brutt

Barbara Brutt is a published author, an aerialist, a lead digital content specialist, a local influencer, and a self-proclaimed sugar connoisseur.

Find Barbara and her books here:

https://www.barbarabrutt.com/

IG: @piquelar and @cordiallybarbara

Facebook: @BarbaraBruttWriter

Listen to my full interview with Barbara here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Our-Path-Series-Barbara-Brutt-e17uv0s

I Can Still Go Outside

Snowing Snowfall Blow Snow Woman Cold Winter

Listen to the podcast: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/I-Can-Still-Go-Outside-e17a206

I have never been an outdoor person. My strong affinity to computers, books, and warmth has tied me to the inside of the house since as long as I can remember. But when I was fortunate to have 2 little rambunctious boys, I realized that my proclivities could no longer dictate our world.

Thus, I am posting this as a way to hold myself accountable.

Meghan – There is such a thing as a coat, gloves, and a hat. Layers are easy enough to put on. The inside won’t be too far away. You can still go outside when the weather turns.

But the snow and freezing temperatures! How can this possibly be enjoyable?

First of all, Meghan, this isn’t about you. You’re doing this for your children – boys who despite the winter months, still need to expel energy and stay active.

Second, while you’re out there, you are also benefiting. Going outside, even in freezing temperatures, can boost your mood, memory, and immune system.

Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with exploration and play. Just because you’re an adult with loads of responsibilities, it is mentally fulfilling to be in nature with no true agenda. Plus, if kids are around, they are expert adventurers and wonderers – follow their lead!

With that, I expect you to at least go outside a few times per week, all year long. No more excuses. Breathe in the fresh air and let the nip of Old Man Winter remind you that you’re alive. Maybe you’ll even have some fun?

*Sigh*…Ok.

Our Path Series: Lindsay Surmacz

Lindsay is an emerging Pittsburgh artist, creator of The Starry Messenger, Punk & Pie, and the Storybook Circus.

She specializes in STEM, literacy, and circus arts as a way to promote children’s education.

Listen to her interview here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Our-Path-Series-Lindsay-Surmacz-e16qpmp

Check out Lindsay:

https://www.facebook.com/starrymessengerpgh

https://www.starrymessengerpgh.com/

https://www.facebook.com/drumclownchic

https://www.punkpiecircus.com/

IG: @punkpiecircus @starrymessengerpgh @starrysurmacz