Psychotherapist, Author, Speaker

Blog

Robin D. Stone is a New York City based psychotherapist, coach and consultant who works to help you achieve your most optimal self. 

Posts tagged meditation
Ready to Hit the Reset Button?
 

In late 2013, with a grueling semester in graduate school, three major deadlines, client sessions and rich holiday meals, I ended the year with 12 extra pounds, fatigue, dry mouth, a dry, flaky scalp and zits like I haven’t seen since I was 15. 

resetbutton.jpg

What happened? The short answer: Too much to do with too little time. The longer one: in the face of late nights (and snacking), less exercise (and more sitting) and tunnel vision (less time with friends and family -- and with myself), I stopped taking my own advice. Then my treadmill -- my go-to source of exercise -- broke, and that threw everything out of whack.

I talk to clients about these issues all the time. But in the face of new stressors (demands on my time and attention) and a broken treadmill, I hadn’t asked myself kinds of questions that I ask clients, like, “Where exactly can you fit that workout in your jam-packed schedule?” And “How can you get more sleep and cut the late-night snacks?” And “What can you do to recharge?” 

As the new year started and I teetered at the edge of my wardrobe and could barely button my favorite jeans, I knew I needed to change course. I took a hard look at why I had stopped taking care of myself and explored what my life was missing: more water, more sleep, more regular workouts, more connections and balance. Then I hit “reset,” and one-by-one, began to include those missing elements. 

I know that when our primary foods -- relationships, spiritual grounding, exercise, work -- don't fulfill us, we often turn to the foods we eat for satisfaction. And stressors slow down our metabolism, making our bodies slower to process what we do eat.

I tossed out those old dieters’ delusions that I’d get quick results, and then I jumpstarted my plan:
 

  • 30 minutes walking/jogging three times a week (wake up a half hour early to get it in), and 15-20 minutes other exercise two times a week (crunches, squats jumping jacks, pushups)
  • 7-8 glasses of water daily (one just after waking up, one with each meal, one between each meal, and one at night)
  • 6-7 hours of sleep daily (and no late-night munchies)
  • Connections and fun: At least one “play date” with girlfriends or my son per week, and a real date with my honey 
  • More meditation and journaling


Three weeks in, I’m three pounds lighter, and with a little less around my middle, my clothes already fit better. I have more energy, my face and scalp are clearing up, and I don’t wake up feeling tired and parched. Of course, breaking old habits can be like turning around a big ship, so it will take time to get back up to speed on exercise, and I’m still working on the sleep (but no more snacks). But I’ve been patient, forgiving and encouraging. I'm giving myself 60 days to get back on track, and as a new semester starts and clients and commitments come in, I know I'll need to follow my own advice and stick to my plan.

My plan doesn’t look like yours. That’s why it’s important to consider what you need to reset in your own life. One Facebook friend shared that she was looking to get her “mojo” back. She asked friends to describe what mojo meant to them. She got 10 different answers from 10 people. She then defined what mojo meant to her, and has since inspired us with #Projectmojo postings as she works on hers. 

One thing I love about a new year: We can wipe the slate and start all over. As 2014 gets in gear and you strive to do this one better, happier, healthier, make a commitment to stop, reassess and reset. And then stick with it. If you need some help to start or keep it up, get it. If you stumble, get back up and keep going. My mojo is Momentum. And you've got to start to get it.

Are you ready to hit a hard reset? Let me know the first thing you’ll do differently, and why.

Be well,
Robin

 
How to Make a Break Today
 

As we prepare for the hustle and bustle and busier schedules of fall, let’s hear it for vacations!  “Why now?” you might ask.  With Labor Day behind us, it’s the unofficial end of summer (and aren’t we all a little horrified about that thought?). But as we stare at an Outlook calendar that’s peppered with meetings and must-dos, maybe we need to re-think the notion and the importance of TAKING. A. BREAK.

I don’t mean taking another week off to go to Mom’s or even Miami.  Some of us may not have even had a week off or the luxury of travel.  Still, you can push back against the demands of the job, kids’ homework and extracurriculars, church, and volunteer events as they circle around you and start closing in.
 

stressfree.jpg

How? Build yourself a force-field that includes time and space for you.

Studies show that even a 5- or 10-minute break can help you alleviate stress and ward off anxiety and depression. If hitting your emotional and physical “reset” buttons - even for a minuscule amount of time - can tap your well of strength and stamina to finish a grueling Tuesday, imagine what a half-day off can do for the rest of your week.  Imagine what a whole week can do for the rest of your life!

It’s time to re-invent our ideas about vacation, to mix freedom and play into our daily routines. That said, here are four ways to claim your space and restore your sanity – in whatever time you need: 

5-10 Minutes

When you wake up, try sitting up in meditation - simply breathing for a few minutes - before you start the rest of your day.

At work, try a five-minute neck and wrist stretch between emails. If you’ve been sitting, get up and take a walk. Contrary to what you might think, slogging through a project can slow you down and breaks really can help you be productive. If you’ve got a cubicle, post a sign: “Mental Health Break.”  If you’re lucky enough to have an office, close the door for a few.

Hour

Your body deserves just as much attention as you give your cell phone, so go to your nearest masseuse and get that 10-minute foot massage, or even an hour-long body massage - the ultimate one-hour vacation!  If you want something a little more active, look for nearby yoga classes.  Yoga not only relaxes but also rejuvenates. 

If you’d rather not spend any money though, nothing beats a good half-hour of peace.  Find somewhere quiet and just sit and breathe deeply in and out. Put some nice ambient music on in the background if that helps. 

Day

For a half-day, ignore emails and turn your cell phone “OFF.”  Feel the power of that.  Go catch a movie, take a nap or set up a date night with friends.  This is your time.

If you can get a full day off, sleep in a little bit.  Then, as soon as you can, get up and do the things you miss.  Write, draw, go for a jog, play with your children, enjoy your pets. Remember the things that make you smile and make time for them - make time for you.

A Week

Consider a “stay-cation” that’s both work and play. Tackle those “must-do’s” that have been vying for your attention and stressing you out. Maybe it’s cleaning out your overstuffed basement or that forgotten storage space you pay for. Maybe it’s “shopping” your closet for fall, instead of going to the mall to spend money you don’t really have. 

But this week’s not all about work. Make time for play as well:  Be a tourist in your own town. Visit a shop you’ve never been in, like you do when you’re traveling. Go to a park and experience the wonders of nature.  Take a tour or just wander on your own. See what new, fun and interesting experiences you can discover right where you live.

What will your new take on vacations be?