Unshackle Your Stress and Reclaim Your LifeA 90-minute Online Masterclass
We women 50 and wiser are told that reducing stress is crucial to our health and longevity. And simple stress reduction exercises, such as meditation, are frequently offered as a solution. When they don’t work, we feel as though we have failed.
I designed this 3-step masterclass from a different point of view. In Step 1, we explore what “Me Time” could look like for each of us. In Step 2, we take a peek under the hood of stress in our bodies. And, in Step 3, we practice and evaluate some simple and accessible practices that can be done while in your car, on the computer, or anywhere on the go. It has been a challenge to learn these lessons myself and I have kept my own journey in mind as I designed this class for you.
Women 50 and Wiser Experience Stress Differently
Every human spends time in that super-stressed-out mode we call “fight and flight.” It’s an ancestral legacy that was meant to help us survive.
But our tribe gets locked into “fight and flight” as a default state. Then, after decades, stress feels like it is normal. This is what makes our response to stress crucially important. As time passes it becomes more urgent that we tackle it. The time is now.
In Our Tribe We Have Our Own Particular Issues :: Do You Recognize These?
Each of us knows exactly what stress means to us. It is not a mystery. It means, most broadly, all the various pressure we experience in our day to day life. In the 1950’s Hans Selye defined stress as a response to situations, which he called stressors. Continued stress for our demographic, women 50 and above, can be caused by the following situations. And, it can be the cause of many of the following diseases and conditions. Thus, it is crucial that we learn about what each of us needs to do to reduce stress in our lives. Do you see yourself in the list below?
- You might still be working and you don’t want to be. Or, some other way to spend your precious time is calling to you. You wonder if you have the courage to make the transition.
- You may be stressed out about retirement – should you, shouldn’t you, do you have enough money for the long number of years you’re told you’ll live?
- The current political situation brings you no peace, either. Or the economy. You’re considering selling the house, but don’t know how to approach this decision.
- Your precious cat is dying; you’re caring for your aging mother; your kids and grandkids are not quite where they need to be yet.
- Your sleep is spotty: either you can’t get to sleep or you sit up wide awake after a few hours.
- You clench your teeth; your muscles are chronically tense; or you are experiencing chronic pain; and you have frequent headaches.
- Stress can also contribute to Type II Diabetes and lowered libido.
- Your immune system is compromised; you have frequent colds and it takes longer to recover.
- Your cardiologist might have told you that stress has contributed to hardening of the arteries or even to a heart attack.
- To cap it all, you might be suffering from gastrointestinal issue and those embarrassingly unpredictable stomach problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and constipation.
This is not a pretty picture, is it?
It’s Time To Wake Up :: Stress Has Sent You a Text
When we’re stuck in stress we can’t see, hear, or feel the truth about our lives. Stress might seem like an enemy – but, she can be your best friend when she sends you a telegram. She puts her hands on your shoulders and draws you close to whisper something like this:
Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen. (Brene Brown, The Midlife Unraveling, brenebrown.com)
Stress is a symptom; but more importantly, it is a crucial, time-sensitive message. And, it’s aimed at the bullseye of our lives. It is crucial now that we take time to open the envelope and ask ourselves what this message means.
I’m No Stranger to Stress :: How I Woke Up to What Stress Was Doing To Me
When I turned 50, I had no idea the toll stress was taking on me.
I was worrying about how to succeed at my career and how to support my kids. I was negotiating the new landscape of a second marriage.
I had physical symptoms I couldn’t figure out how to manage: neck and back pain, teeth-clenching, and near constant tension headaches.
Most of all, I feared that at any time, I’d get a return of trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic neurological condition which brought even more pain resulting in electric shocks running down the left side of my face.
More than anything, I wanted to live: to feel joy; to feel happiness and to embrace each new day that I had coming.
I began to learn how stress worked in my mind and in my body. And in this masterclass I share the knowledge I have gained and the strategies that have become my everyday resources.
“Your ability to share and be vulnerable at times was so authentic and comfortable.”
“I truly love how passionate you are about everything you do to help make us better, make our bodies better, and live a better life.”
Unshackle Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life
A 90-minute Online Masterclass
This is the time of our lives when life should be for US! We are entering our Third Act! We are beyond midlife and it is easy to look back at the life that has happened.
Our up and coming agenda is not to look to the past, but to look forward with our minds and our hearts — which, I’m sure you know — are vibrant and strong.
Moving into our third act with joy and equanimity means releasing the stress that we’ve held on to for way too long.
During this masterclass I take you through three easy steps that offer a process for living your best life.
Step 1: Gaining Clarity
What Changes Will You Bring To Your Third Act?
Sometimes we just keep doing the same things over and over again because they have become habitual or they are the “shoulds” that we hang onto.
When my daughter had her first child, she expected me to devote one day a week to childcare. I, too, thought I “should”. But that thought was stressing me out. I resented this expectation and thought, “Really? I love my daughter and want her to do well, of course. But, I raised her and now, isn’t it my time to do some that I really want to do?” I had to do some very hard work discovering who I want to be moving forward and what I wanted to do.
This is called ‘living your values’ and discovering what your values are can be super-challenging but also super-rewarding.
In Step 1, Gaining Clarity, I’ll offer you some tools for exploring where your third act is taking you and you’ll do some private, reflective writing in your journal that will give you an opportunity to explore what ‘living your values’ might look like.
What results will you see? Stress often results from ignoring what you know to be true or simply not knowing where you want to go. In Step 1 of this masterclass, you’ll have a chance to gain clarity and glimpse a vision of your next moves. This is a crucial first step in creating the context for stress release and guides the rest of your work.
Step 2: Peeking under the Hood
What is Stress Reactivity and Why Have We Been Stuck in Stress for So Long?
I had just positioned myself in triangle pose during my after-work yoga class. My dear teacher, Talya, was asking us about the core beliefs that we clung to. She asked, “For instance, do you ever feel like you’re not good enough?” I had come straight from work, parked the car, and rushed into the studio to land on my mat. My expectation was that the breath and movement would relax me and I would feel much better than I did in my stress-filled work environment.
But suddenly, to my surprise, tears filled my eyes. I prided myself on getting through each day, indeed, each year, doing a great job and succeeding. But Talya’s question had struck a deep chord, one I was completely unaware of.
This is an example of stress reactivity. Perhaps once, as a child, my mother or a teacher had made me feel inadequate and now I carry that feeling with me in my heart and in my body and it surfaces as a ‘reaction’ anytime I face a challenge in which my competence is questioned.
How many years have I carried this stress-related response with me and what is this stress doing to me, now, in my 67th year?
Here’s a less fraught example of stress reactivity. I once fearlessly rode my bike down a very steep cobblestone hill, until my wheels skidded and I wiped out. I picked my bloodied and frightened self up and my bicycle riding has never been the same since.
I hold inside me a near constant and very visceral stress reaction whenever a bicycle riding situation occurs. I experienced fear and danger in the moment of the actual accident, but I experience it again and again each time I am faced with getting on a bike.
In Step 2, Peeking under the Hood, you’ll learn about the mechanics of stress in your body and mind. This is so important, because it will help you understand that though, for instance, a massage or a manicure can feel great, they are not reducing the stress load you’ve been carrying for so many years. And, this peek under the hood of your body and mind will help you make decisions about why a particular de-stressing technique like meditation, for instance, isn’t working for you.
What results will you see? In Step 2 of this masterclass you’ll gain knowledge that will help you understand how the specific techniques I introduce in Step 3 work and how you can tweak them so that they work optimally for you. So often we are given tips and tricks or even lengthy and complex meditation instructions and we have no way to evaluate why they do not seem to be working. Peeking under the Hood will give you tools to evaluate how stress is working in your body. At 50 and wiser, we want control of our own minds and hearts and do not need gurus to follow.
Step 3: Feel, Breathe, and Connect
Learn and Practice 3 Strategies to Unshackle Stress
Finally you can access tools and strategies that make sense and support your Third Act adventures!
Nowadays I know how to meditate and I find it an essential part of my daily life, but it took me about 15 years to understand the process. More important than being able to meditate, is being able to respond to stress reactivity in your everyday life while you are in your car, in the supermarket, or on your computer. The longer you have held onto stress, the more gentle and compassionate you must be with yourself as you go through your day.
I will teach you and, together, we will practice these 3 key strategies to feel, breathe, and connect.
Feel: you’ll learn some invaluable self-massage techniques that allow you to release tense muscles. When muscles have been tense for a long time, we don’t realize how much there is to let go of.
Breathe: you’ll learn breathing and grounding techniques that bring us out of our heads. We’ll also be able to let go of those persistent, unwelcome stories that we have been hanging onto for too many years. The breath exercises will welcome you back into your body and help you to feel at home in this place of wonder for many of us who have given up on our bodies as too old, or as too injured, or too diseased.
Connect: Many of us have treated ourselves poorly as we raced through life, bringing up kids, caring for others, earning a living, and building careers. This last moment allows us to connect with a self we might not know very well, even after all these years. Here we learn to forgive ourselves, thank ourselves, and love ourselves.
In Step 3: Feel, Breathe, and Connect you’ll begin to take a new sort of action. If this approach to releasing stress seems unfamiliar and even unwanted, I encourage you to put on your wonder woman T-shirt and give yourself a hug as the curtain goes up on your third act!
What results will you see? In Step 3 of this masterclass, you’ll find that you can palpably reduce stress when you have gone through first, a reflective process of charting your course, and second, gaining some focused knowledge about how stress works in you and other women of our 50 and wiser tribe. This groundwork provides a basis for real change as you travel through your day, using the techniques we have shared and practiced. You will feel your muscles relax, you will feel prepared to make better decisions, and you will move through your days with grace and optimism.
[Please note that this live, online course is not a substitute for individual or group psychotherapy. You will learn very helpful stress management techniques, but they are not meant as a treatment for psychiatric or psychological challenges.]
What Does this Masterclass Cost?
You will receive 90 minutes of stress-reducing information for only 34 dollars.
The Details and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Your participation: You will want to have a journal handy. At key moments, I will stop and ask you to take some time to reflect on how what I’m saying reverberates in your own life. This is crucial for the course to offer some meaningful growth for you as you participate and reflect on how stress has played a role in your own life. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions at the end.
What to do after this masterclass: I will recommend two of my online movement courses that you can purchase, if you’d like to add a movement practice to your stress-relief activities. I will also recommend a hemp oil supplement you can buy, that I have found to be crucial for my own stress-relief practices.
How does it work? You will be sent a recording of the session and a copy of the slides. Both are yours to keep forever.
What does it cost? The price of this 90 minute masterclass, filled with actionable information is $34.
“AnnMerle is a knowledgeable and very capable teacher who gives clear explanations. She is caring and accessible and will address any concerns you might have.”
“AnnMerle puts her heart and soul into the courses she teaches.”
“I really love the way AnnMerle incorporates her own journey into her teaching. She explains how and why she learned this and why it is important.”
If you don’t feel like you’ve learnt anything new on the training, let me know within one week and I’ll refund you in full.