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CREATING SPACE. Mental. Emotional. Physical.

Written by: Kristen Lessig Schenerlein, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

“The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still.” Leon Brown


As I sit here typing, the irony of it all is hitting me. Since January 1st I have had on my intentions list (formerly known as "to-do" list) that I wanted to write an article and BLOG on the importance of creating space. “Space” being my own personal theme for the year ahead- a result of having reflected on 2021, relealizing that I could use a little. The irony here is that I have actually moved this around on my calendar now nearly a month. Each and every week I sit and look at my "big rocks" on my schedule meetings, group coaching meetings, 1:1 coaching client calls, yoga instruction, personal responsibilities, etc. and then I work in blocks of time for projects I may be working on in whatever is left. I also ensure that space on my calendar is reserved for "me time" (an appointment with JOYso to speak). The challenge that often comes up is that meetings run over, things pop up that need to be added to my priorities for any given day or I simply find that perhaps what I projected in time to say...draft a coaching engagement proposal...was not very realistic. And even still, I may also find that when the alert flashes that it is time to switch gears... I am simply too tired or do not feel as motivated as when I may have added it to my priorities for the day.

This to me is EXACTLY why we all need to consider this idea of creating more space. In each of our lives creating space to simply BE. Be with nature, be with ourselves, breathe, think, listen, do nothing and enjoy it! This space that we create for ourselves and what we experience in these moments is what allows us to show up to do "all the must do things"...it helps us to be more tuned in, present, grounded, calm, and have the clarity to make decisions. We are building up our mental fitness muscles in these moments so that we can handle the challenge that we are not even aware will hit us later on any given day. That challenge will require us to be the best version of ourselves in the midst of chaos so that we can be fierce and fearless, confident, and ready for whatever we are presented with with a positive versus a negative mindset.


So, how do you find and create this space? Well, for me, I often use my yoga practice as a means to create space. Stepping on my mat is a pause of sorts. It allows for both the inner work (creating space mentally and emotionally) as well as the physical work to show the best version of myself each day. If I take this further, the irony is that while on my mat or leading others through their practice (on their mats), I am consistently cuing them on the power of creating space within the body. Breathing air into the spaces that are tight and tense. Being able to feel these changes in your body from creating space in say…your hips, where we hold a lot of our emotions, can have tremendous benefits to us physically. Yoga asanas assist us in lengthening our, improving flexibility, building strength, improving our posture, and creating space for our vital organs…like our lungs, giving us the capacity to breathe deeper.


All of these benefits transcend the physical body, giving us exactly what we need to carry this concept of creating space…off our mats. Creating space mentally and emotionally seems like such a simple concept and realization. Most of us, including myself, may still find ourselves challenged (still) with creating space to feel, to process, to explore deeper aspects of ourselves, others, circumstances, and much more. Most often when we create space, we fill it. Even if that is with good acts of self-care, like a massage. We seem to avoid the act of “just sitting” or “just being” with ourselves, with our thoughts and emotions. Making this a priority takes discipline and consistency. It takes us building up our own mental muscles, our ability to command ourselves and our minds to shift into this space, to revel in whatever may appear there. Personal improvements, learning, and growth come from taking this time to pause, to unblock negative energy patterns, to destress, and gain clarity. Approaching each week and each day knowing that things WILL inevitably pop up. Having been intentional about creating space wherever we can, allows us to handle the challenges with more ease and clarity. Be extremely conscious of the expectations you are setting for yourself, more in tune with how to prioritize and use your time most efficiently to lead a balanced life.


A few possible prompts to move this forward for you.

  • Ask yourself...does this have to happen today?

  • How much time and attention do I truly need to invest in this?

  • Can I engage others in the process?

  • Can I level my expectations and accept "good enough" versus this false sense of perfection? Where can I create space on my schedule, especially on the weekend's to "just be ''?


Even if you are a person stimulated by others, or activities, and you see this as living life fully (Like the saying "I will sleep when I am dead!"). Consider the beauty you could experience simply sitting on the beach and watching the waves roll in or any other spot in nature where you can really be present to all that exists around you...the sounds, the smells... Is this not truly living? By creating space in your schedule and being fully present in that experience of non-doing, of just being, you are able to experience a lot less tension and stress overall (cramming things in, feeling anxiety of projects left unfinished), as well as create more fluidity and flow day to day.


Creating space in your life will improve your overall quality of life and funny enough give you more time to really consider what lights you up doing more of that and less of what feels draining to you.


A few additional suggested areas for creating space in your life:

  1. Mental Space- get rid of toxic people and relationships (maybe this is as simple as a social media detox!). Create boundaries and let go of the desire or need to "people please", say NO. Declutter thoughts replacing positive with negative and by seeing challenges as opportunities.

  2. Physical Space- not only in ways that relate to improving physical fitness but in decluttering. Feelings of overwhelm can also stem from closets that could use a good purge.

  3. Financial Space- Simplify by paying off debt, no more credit cards, manage your finances month to month, or get creative in earning extra income.


For me, I will continue to move about each week with this intention to embrace SPACE to experience life. Maybe I will try a few strategies suggested by my own personal coach years ago... block out 15% of my scheduled work time to simply think, to plan, to strategize, to be creative ON my business. Or maybe I will just bump into a meeting next week... (if that happens to you, DO NOT take it personal), it simply means I am tuning into the energy that I would be bringing to that meeting and can promise you it will be worth your wait!


"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you." ‒Deepak Chopra

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Kristen Lessig Schenerlein, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kristen Lessig-Schenerlein, a social entrepreneur, mental fitness coach and yoga instructor, is an expert in nonprofit leadership, forever passionate about the fields of neuroscience, positive psychology, and performance science. After nearly two decades of being driven by a mission, almost to complete burnout and after having experienced the real life effects of working within a toxic environment, Kristen began down a new path in service to others facing similar challenges. She integrated her own personal yoga practice and energy medicine into a science-based coaching practice. She became a trained yoga instructor guiding her clients “on the mat” and also an ICF Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Positive Intelligence Coach to support her clients “off the mat” with mental fitness training and coaching. Kristen has dedicated her entire career to transforming the lives of others and sees herself now as a guide to those willing to do the innerwork necessary to link their power with their passions, so that they can live a life more in alignment with their values, while showing up authentically in aspects of their lives. Kristen is the founder of Koi Coaching and Consulting, serving clients around the world, thanks in part to being part of the coaching team of BetterUp as well, whose mission is to make coaching accessible to all, unlocking greater potential, purpose, and passion.


Born in a small coastal town in Connecticut, Kristen also spent a good part of her career in Richmond, Virginia, where she founded her nonprofit organization before moving back to the coast where she now resides in Southwest Florida with her husband and a blended family of four beautiful children.

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