But if you really want to bring more awareness and nourishment into your life, take small moments to breathe and be still. Ask yourself, are you spending your time in a way that is aligned with what's important to you?
It can be tempting to just keep doing MORE, dig deeper into the grindstone, spin your wheels or maybe check out.
It's actually quite radical to just rest. Have you ever given yourself permission to stop, rest and be still? Sometimes this can be the most nurturing, healthy thing to do. Next time you feel like you need a break, start strengthening your practice of rest.
Say Yes to Yourself
How often do you say "yes" to the things that are asked of you? This can lead to exhaustion, resentment and no time for yourself. This past winter I interviewed ten wonderful, insightful women about bringing the practice of yoga off the mat and into their lives. Jessica McCleskey Hood talked about taking one day a week to do whatever you want to do. That blew my mind! One day a week? No plan to pack everything in? Just slowing down. Listening. Seeing how the day unfolds. Doesn't that sound decadent? You probably can say yes to yourself more.
Part of saying yes to yourself is having the time to do whatever brings you joy. Make a standing date with yourself. Put it on the calendar. Back in my early 20s, I read the book The Artist's Way. There are different exercises in the book to help you unleash your creativity, tap into your dreams and desires. She suggests that each week you take yourself out on an artist's date. If you don't feel like leaving the house, take yourself in on a date and do something creative.
I think it's safe to say that our culture highly values busyness. But intentional rest contributes more to your health, happiness and state of peace than any activity or accomplishment that simply fills your time. Do you rest? How do you rest? Here are some ideas:
- Take your time with a cup of hot tea, while listening to music
- Snuggle up with someone you love
- Lie on your back with your feet on a chair and breathe in for the count of 3 and out for 6
- Massage your calves and feet with a nice lotion (maybe after a bath)
- Sit by a window and watch the clouds float by and the leaves rustle
Do a Restorative Yoga Pose
I love restorative yoga even though I did not at first. I have to admit that first class challenged me and I even got up once to let the teacher know. Being able to relax is a practice and a skill, just like learning a language or how to drive a car. Practice relaxation. It sounds funny but really you need to practice, just like anything you become good at in your life.
Excuse me now while I go and practice.