A confession: Sometimes I feel like a total fraud.
I write this yoga blog in which I talk about meditation and not putting pressure on yourself, and I encourage people to tune in to their bodies and honor what they need,yet there are days when I am so stressed out that I can actually feel the physical effects of the stress on my body. My joint pain flares, and anxiety creeps up behind me ready to pounce.
Last week was particularly rough for me, and so I made a few changes in my daily routine to get back to practicing what I've been preaching. They made a world of difference in how I feel - so much so that I thought I'd share my guide to self-care for the busy person.
1. Pay it forward or help someone
Time needed: 0 minutes (depending on what it is you're doing)
Helping others just feels good. I first noticed it when I was in college, and dealing with a tremendous amount of anxiety. Whenever I had the opportunity to help someone, it was as if my brain didn't have time to worry about my own issues because I was so focused on someone else. So I know it's a little self-serving (right?), but help someone out, or do something nice for someone else and see how it impacts your mood. Even just buying someone's coffee when you're in the drive-thru will feel good (and it takes no extra time).
2. Breathe in the right scents
Time needed: 30 seconds (or more)
The most incredible thing about essential oils is that they actually have the power to improve mood. It's amazing, and takes almost no time. Here are a few of my favorite scents, how to use them, and how they impact various moods.
3. Get your OM on.
Time needed: 5 minutes (or more)
Ok, you don't need to sit under a bonsai tree in the middle of some mystical land (although I'm not gonna lie, that actually sounds like heaven to me), but whenever I start my day with just a few minutes of seated meditation I feel so much better. Meditation is, on one hand, exceedingly simple - you literally just sit there and breathe. On the other hand, it can be really tough if you're stressed out and have a lot on your mind. So if it's new to you, or you struggle with it, here's a guided meditation for stress relief.
4. Laugh more.
Time needed: 6 minutes (or more)
They don't call it comedic relief for nothing - laughing can actually relieve stress! When I'm short on time, I'll watch a favorite SNL skit or a favorite funny movie. (PS - I'd love to hear your all time favorite funny movie pick!)
5. Get your sweat on.
Time needed: 10 minutes (or more)
I mean, you don't need to sweat like a pig to reap the benefits of exercise. Just a quick mid-day walk can do wonders for my mood. And feel free to switch it up from time to time because let's face it, when we're not in the mood, the idea of a workout instills dread. Do something different like jump rope, try a barre class, jump on a trampoline (it's impossible not to have have a good time on a trampoline!), or try a boxing class (they're really fun!).
6. Do more of what makes you happy.
Time needed: 15 minutes (or more)
This is when we start to get into the good stuff - tuning in. So, what everyday thing makes you happy? For me, I love epsom salt baths with lavender oil. A quick soak in the bath can transform my mood and alleviate my stress!
7. Make sleep a priority
Time needed: 7 - 9 hours (or more)
Within the last two weeks, I've made sleep my number one priority because I am one of those people who, if I don't get quality sleep, will be a wreck the next day. I'd actually prefer having the worst hangover on earth than having bad sleep because that's seriously how terrible my body feels if I don't get enough. I usually head to bed around 10:30pm, turn my phone off, put it down and pick up a book. Ten minutes into reading or so and I'll get really tired and can usually sleep through the night and get up around 6:30am.
8. Take a trip
Time needed: a day (or longer)
One of things I love to do is take a solo trip. It doesn't have to be anywhere crazy - even just spending a day in the city alone will be enough to make me feel reenergized when I come home. If solo travel isn't your thing, consider coming to a yoga retreat. While the actual travel portion might be solo, you'll arrive to a group of instant friends ready to help you make great memories.
Let's talk What do you do for self care?
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