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Got Stress?

9 Oct

#1 – Difficulty concentrating
#2 – Trouble making decisions
#3 – Negative outlook on life
#4 – Anxious or racing thoughts
#5 – Constant worrying

Emotional Symptoms
#6 – General moodiness
#7 – Irritability or short temper
#8 – Agitation, anger, and the inability to relax
#9 – Feeling overwhelmed with life
#10 – Feeling lonely and isolated
#11 – Depression or general unhappiness

Physical Symptoms
#12 – Aches and pains in the body
#13 – Diarrhea or constipation, bowel problems
#14 – Nausea, dizziness, vertigo
#15 – Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, pounding of the heart
#16 – Loss of sex drive
#17 – Frequent colds or flu viruses

Behavioral Symptoms
#18 – Eating more or less
#19 – Sleeping too much or too little
#20 – Isolating yourself from others
#21 – Procrastinating or neglecting life’s responsibilities
#22 – Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax, or in excess
#23 – Nervous habits

I took a hard look and found that my husband and i show symptoms in each of the categories. And here is my conclusion: we are both more stressed than is healthy, and, more importantly, we have been living with too much stress for years. My recent cancer diagnosis is the proof of it. (Stay tuned, i am in the process of writing more about this.)

Nick Ortner suggests tapping, also called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Tapping is really great. I used it after a near miss with another car that re-triggered trauma from an old accident. EFT was exactly what i needed. It helped me calm down, shed some of the old trauma, and brought me back to the current moment.

But do i believe that tapping is the solution to systemic stress? No, i don’t. That’s like having lung cancer and instead of stopping smoking, going on an oxygen tube while continuing to smoke. That’s clever, and it may help a little, but it is not a solution. If you have a systemic problem you have to be willing to look at the system as a whole and all the factors that create your stress. The only real change is achieved once you find the base cause of your stress and change it in a way that does not create new systemic stress. That’s not easy because we all live the way we live for a reason. We have responsibilities and are attached to certain habits and things. And we use these habits and things to justify the stress.

Take a moment and go back to the stress symptoms and mark those that apply to you. Be honest. If you have one or two symptoms, tapping might be the right solution for you. But if you have more, chances are that what produces your stress is an integral part of your life. You need more than tapping. You need to look at the very fabric of your everyday life, locate the stress-producing factors, and then compassionately and creatively eliminate or minimize the stress factors.

Stress leads to many health problems, cancer is just one of them. It also leads to many social and relational problems. If you have stress symptoms, take them seriously and find the help that is appropriate for you. This is your one and precious life and you do not want to waste it.

If you are ready to get help sorting out your systemic stress, consider coaching. Joining me for a SoulAlchemy group might be a good first step. And if your stress is temporary or limited and you are interested in tapping visit https://www.thetappingsolution.com.

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

© Eva Ruland, October 2018

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Mothering yourself — A Different Kind Of Mothers Day Contemplation

14 May

My mother died almost 12 years ago. But long before that i had to take on mothering myself and making sure that my needs were met. Have you learned this skill?

Mothers make sure that the needs of their children are met. Mothering yourself, to me, means to make sure that your needs are met. You may call it self-care—but do not confuse it with what is generally considered to be self-care for a woman: getting a massage or a facial now and then. Self-care is more than that. It includes all that is necessary to make you blossom.

Self-care is not taught in schools and it’s not necessarily a part of our upbringing either. And if you grew up to be a “good girl,” chances are that you have a hard time with mothering yourself. The more you are trained to focus on the needs of others, the harder it is to make room for your own needs.

Here are some tips for self-care on a daily basis:

1) Be kind to yourself. Don’t allow your inner critic to put you down constantly. Cut yourself some slack. Treat yourself with as much kindness as you would extend to others.

2) Trust your instincts. Allow your inner voice and your gut feelings to have a say. Don’t talk yourself out of what intuitively feels right. Learn how to cultivate the connection to your inner voice, which leads to:

3) Make time to get in touch with your inner voice. To hear your inner voice, you need to cultivate quiet time. A great time to cultivate the connection to your inner voice is just after waking up in the morning. If you can, make time to write down your dreams or any streams of consciousness. Another way to connect with your inner voice is to go out in nature—go for walks or spend time in your garden. It really helps to turn off your cell phone when you try to connect with your inner voice. Try to take time out every day for quiet moments, even if it is only 10 minutes.

4) In order to implement 3) you need to learn this fundamental skill: to speak your truth and say ‘yes’ when you mean it, and ‘no, thank you’ when you choose not to do something. In order to say yes to yourself you have to learn to say no more often. Being a people pleaser has only very short-term advantages. They appreciate you for a moment, and then continue with their day. Learning how to say ‘no’ to others and ‘yes’ to yourself will be a game changer.

5) And lastly, stay away from the word SHOULD. It represents a cultural or collective imperative, that force that created the ‘good girl’, and rarely has to do with you and your needs. Become aware of your own use of the word ‘should.’ If you can replace it with ‘I want’ or ‘I will’ do so. If you cannot replace it with ‘I want’ or ‘I will’ it’s a word that presses you into something that has nothing to do with you. And, stay clear from those who tell you what you should do.

These tips are a starter kit. I’d be happy to help you as you implement this kit and move from striving to thriving.

If you find this article inspiring, please pass it on to others. Thank you!


Self-care does not come easy to many of us. If you would like to explore working with me and getting me on your support team, contact me at eva_at_evaruland.com.

© Eva Ruland, May 2017

SelfCare strategies for challenging times

3 Dec

The last weeks have been a major challenge for all progressives in this country. The normal reaction to a challenge that we can’t easily solve and that might have major consequences for our future and the future of the planet is to experience fear and feel stressed. Both the body and the mind shut down and lock into emergency mode. Over time this wears us down physically and emotionally. Mentally, it leads to revisiting the same loop of being caught in inescapable doom. We cannot think clearly and we cannot find a way out. We become the deer in the headlight with no way to go, or the hamster that runs and runs but never gets anywhere.

In times of crisis we need to take extra care of ourselves, especially when the crisis threatens our reality or we feel  our life as we know it crumbling away. In those times we need a refuge. We need to know where we can go to feel safe and find respite. For babies, that place is the mother’s bosom. As adults, we don’t necessarily have a bosom to rush to. We need to create our own refuge to survive the challenge or crisis. Where do you find refuge? How can you tune into serenity when the country (and perhaps you too) is unsettled after the elections? How can you enjoy the season and take care of yourself?

The greatest place of refuge for me is nature. It has tremendous nurturing energies and restorative qualities. For me, nature has the power to transform stress into inner peace, whether i hike the ridge of the hills here in the San Francisco East Bay, walk through redwood forest, or enjoy a long stroll on the beach. Even a short walk can be magical, as i was reminded last Sunday. We were heading to San Francisco to check on a friend’s cats and decided to go to Fort Funston for a walk, but because we were busy until mid-afternoon, and because i needed a moment to gather myself, it was 4pm by the time we left Berkeley. We reached the bleach just before sunset which was regrettable, but we were in for a treat. It was one of the most magnificent sunsets i have experienced. The photo  above was taken that evening and i share it here to give you a glimpse of the colors that evoked the supernatural even though the photo does not give full justice to the magic of the moment. We did not get to walk far because the tide came in fast but we enjoyed every moment of our 30 minutes on the beach and left with our spirits soaring.

In a way, winter is the season for refuge. When the days grow short it’s the time to lean more inwardly and give refuge to body, mind, and soul. It’s the season for quiet time and for creative expression. Winter is the perfect time to grab a hot chocolate and a book and find a comfy couch or chair, or a hot tea and some art supplies. Another refuge is sharing time with friends. In Germany we have a tradition of coming together on December Sunday afternoons when it’s cold and grey outside, light candles, tell old stories, eat cookies and other treats, and perhaps engage in an art or craft project. As you know, i love SoulCollage and this time of the year i feel particularly drawn to it. It’s creative, it’s introspective, and it furthers deeply nurturing community. It’s perfect as it invites you to delve into yourself, then emerge with the images you found as we share our collage cards in the group. The depth of the sharing is often awe-inspiring.

What is your refuge? How can you give yourself more of it? How can you give yourself quality (soul)time?

Need help finding your refuge? I have a Holiday Special that might be just right for you. The BreakThrough Package includes a private visioning session plus one month of coaching for only $450—you save $150. It might also be just the right meaningful gift for a dear one. http://evaruland.com/gifts.html

Wishing you sweetness and peace,

Eva