As I sit here at my desk trying to come up with a clever way to begin this post, my mind is racing from one place to another. Do I want to be witty? Serious? Intellectual? We all have moments like this. All day, every day. Whether it's keeping up with that constant to-do list in your mind or the dreaded "what if" scenarios we love to torture ourselves with, there is a constant hum of activity going on in those beautiful skulls of ours! But what if we wanted to slow it down? What if we want to take a moment to just EXIST?
As important as it is for us to "get stuff done," it is equally important for us to take some time each day, even if it's just 5 minutes, to clear our minds and just BE in the moment with none of that other noise distracting us. Easier said than done, amiright?! Well, I can help you there! Here are some very do-able tips for quieting your mind and finding peace in your everyday life!
1) Enjoy the Outdoors - A really great way to get out of your own head is to get outside! Connecting in with the earth is a very grounding exercise that I do each and every day. Even when it's cold, snowing, raining, etc. I am sure to get outside for at least 10 minutes everyday. Leave your phone inside, or put it on silent and keep it in your pocket (in case of emergency). Even if you just sit on your patio, or in your yard, just allow yourself to be outside. Maybe take your shoes off and dig your feet into the ground to further connect with the earth. Imagine yourself growing roots through your feet and grounding into the earth and feel the chaos in your mind leaving your body through those roots. This exercise is really beautiful and only takes a few minutes. My personal favorite thing to do is take my dog for a walk. While I walk her, I breathe deeply and fill my lungs with the fresh air. As I exhale, I simply allow myself to let go of anything I don't need anymore. It's not a conscious release, I just allow my breath to be deep and cleansing. The outdoors have always been sacred to me, and always makes me feel more at ease during times of mental turmoil!
2) Move the Energy - Another way to bring peace to your mind is to get the energy moving in your body! Oftentimes, our minds are racing because we have a lot of energy built up in our bodies that's buzzing around. The only way to release it is to move it around and let it out! If you're crunched for time, take a 10 minute walk, or stretch for 10 minutes! It's just enough to get the energy moving around your body, and it's quick! Everyone has 10 minutes - you deserve to give yourself at least that each day!! I work a desk job Monday-Friday, and I can feel when the energy is building up in my hips. They start to feel tight, and I start to get antsy. And when we get antsy, that's when our minds start to race and create noise. When this happens, I'll get up from my desk and walk around the building (outside, so bringing tip #1 back into the mix). I take long strides to open up my hips, and swing my arms a little more than usual to get the blood flowing through my shoulders. This always works to quiet my mind, and also helps me to re-focus so I can work more efficiently throughout the rest of the day! Most importantly though, is to dedicate 3-5 days a week to a longer workout. This can be anything from gentle yoga to running. Whatever makes YOU feel good. Everybody is different. I used to be an avid runner, and running helped me clear my mind and I always felt better after going for a run. While I still love running, I definitely now prefer Buti® yoga or vinyasa yoga. I feel more connected spiritually, I sweat which, for me, is a physical manifestation of emotional release, and during the hour or so that I'm there, I think about NOTHING other than the class. Whatever gives you that feeling of complete mental clarity - do more of that!!
3) Flip the Script - Not only do our thoughts race throughout the day, but a lot of times we find ourselves in self deprecating thought processes. You find yourself sitting there, thinking about all of the things, qualities, relationships you wish you had. You beat yourself up over being "not smart enough," "too fat," "too skinny," whatever it is that plagues your mind. We have all been there, and once you go to those thoughts, it's sometimes hard to get yourself out. BUT - it's not impossible! When you start to find yourself thinking doubtful thoughts, flip the script! The more you practice this, the easier it will become to identify when you're going to "that place," and the quicker you will be able to turn it around. Instead of focusing on all the goals you have yet to acheive, or the things you wish you had, be PROUD of yourself for everything you have already acheived! Be GRATEFUL for everything that you already have! In each day there is always something to be thankful for. And this doesn't mean you always have to be happy and cheerful. We all have bad days. Unfortunately, we're not unicorns...we're only human and bad days are inevitable and NORMAL. But you can be thankful for your beating heart, even if that's the only thing you feel thankful for that day. One practice you could try to "flip the script" would be to journal. Each day, write down 3 good things that happened, or 3 things you're extra grateful for. That practice in itself will allow you to change your perspective, and you'll find yourself focusing more on the positives, and dwelling far less on the negatives.
I hope that these tips help you! I know that getting outside, moving my body, and changing my perspective have been incredibly helpful for me, and have enhanced my day to day life as a chronic over-thinker. You'll be amazed what messages come through for you when you aren't trying so hard to think! As Baba Ram Dass says, "the quieter you become, the more you can hear."
If there is one thing I have a lot of experience with, it’s burning the midnight oil. Whether it was grad school, work, worry, or now the joys of being a new parent (what is sleep, anyway?), I have had my fair share of near sleepless nights.
I hope that your lack of shut-eye is because you had a fun night out with friends, some awesome date that kept you out until 4 in the morning, or pillow talk with the love of your life. But of course some nights we might find ourselves tossing and turning with anxiety, or sweating about making a deadline.
Whatever it is keeping you from getting your shut-eye, here are 3 quick tips for the next time you find yourself feeling less than well rested:
When I began the yoga teacher training journey just a couple of months ago, I never could’ve anticipated the transformations that would come from my experience. The first night of training, I walked in feeling guarded and reserved and by the end of the night, I was raw and vulnerable and stayed open to the experience both inside and outside of the studio ever since. After learning about the pillars of Baptiste Yoga- drishti, breath, foundation, heat and flow, it became clear to me that the parallels of life both on and off the mat cannot be denied. Creating a sacred space on my mat, in my breath and my postures has been such a guiding force during the biggest and most beautiful upheaval of my life and has kept me centered and grounded throughout.
During one of our first nights of training, we began to discuss vulnerability and how it does or doesn’t appear for us in our lives and in yoga. We allowed ourselves to be exposed by sharing insights of our hearts to perfect strangers. There were tears, there was laughter and most importantly, we were beginning to breakdown and allow ourselves to be seen. It was in these moments that I first acknowledged that there was a problem in my marriage. Not just a little crack in the foundation but fourteen years of denial and shame beginning to pour out of me with a short conversation with two people I had just met. I remember going home that night not knowing how to express myself and in my heart acknowledging completely what I had known for a long time- that I could no longer accept the life I had grown complacent in. I began the act of truly seeing what was in front of me. I began to allow my drishti, which I had not allowed to shift over the years, to start to explore and wander a bit, to allow the gaze to play and notice. I started to see that the life I had accepted as “good enough” was no longer going to cut it.
On paper and to people on the outside looking in, my life looked joyful, simple and easy but once I allowed my heart to become open, I realized that my life appeared that way because I had created the illusion that it was such. All of the aspects of a happy home looked like they were in place- a house by the beach, a beautiful dog, handsome husband, cheerful Instagram photos and Facebook posts but lying under the surface was years of financial instability, worry and fear, struggles with infertility, arguments about how to pay the bills, and loads of resentment. There were years of broken promises, of begging and pleading for someone to meet me in the middle, nagging and prodding for simple tasks to be accomplished and feeling like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. My drishti had been focused on the wrong point and attention naturally followed to that space and got stuck.
Now that I’ve had space to find my breath, space to come back home to myself, I see that this illusion has been crumbling for a long time, I just hadn’t woken up to it just yet. Through the tools of my yoga training, opening my chakras, releasing and allowing, I was able to see my life for what it is. During this time, I met someone. I didn’t plan it or know I wanted it or needed it but it happened nonetheless. I looked at this beautiful human and my immediate reaction was that I had known him before, that we had walked through another life together and that we were meant to be together and create a life and family with one another. I knew immediately in that moment that I deserved and would have a life full of joy, adventure and pure love and I knew that I could never, ever go back to the life I had led before. In that moment, breath was all I had to stay composed and grounded.
Over the past couple of months, I feel that I’ve lived a lifetime. It’s been weeks of sadness, of deep change and most importantly profound happiness, appreciation, gratitude and endless amounts of joy. I have walked away from a life that I had convinced myself I was supposed to remain in and have started to create my own foundation. I have started a new life with a partner that meets me in the middle, that I feel supported and protected by, that I feel sees me for who I am which I now know is someone that I think is beautiful, strong and caring. I now see that life has endless possibilities and that it’s not only possible to start over again but that it can be the best decision you’ll ever make. Oddly enough, since leaving my home, my beloved pet, my husband and 90% of my belongings behind, I have never felt more rooted in my foundation, secure in who I am and sure footed on my path.
I don’t believe that the yoga training happened by coincidence just as I don’t believe that new love entered my love by chance. Prior to joining that incredible group of yogis, I know that I was closed off, that I was scared to allow and that I was numbing myself to pain and in the process numbing myself to joy. I have started to let the walls crumble, to allow heat to build and I have accepted the fact that I deserve to be happy.
So now it’s time to find my flow both on and off the mat. As I venture out into the world of teaching and holding space for my yoga students and as I travel down the path of my new life, I will always hold these moments of knowledge from my training close to my heart. I will remember to keep my drishti focused yet playful, to allow my breath to be full and meaningful, my foundation to be strong and secure, heat to warm my heart and soul and to release resistance and find my flow.
So, you’re a new mom or maybe you are about to become a new mom, either way one thing on your mind is what happened to my body?! or what is my body going to look like after this?! Pregnancy certainly takes a toll on your body, and my one piece of advice for women who are trying to get pregnant, or who are currently pregnant, is to stay as active as possible for as long as possible during your pregnancy. It just simply makes it easier for you, in a lot of ways in the end. It’s hard to believe I’m sitting here today the sleep deprived, full-time working, and “Is that a booger on my pants?” mother of a 6 month old, time flies. I can honestly say there is no “quick fix” or one right way, however, here are some tips for getting fit AF as a new mom.
I will preface these tips by saying this is NOT a workout or nutrition plan and that becoming fit AF as a new mom is just as much about your mental health as it is your physical.
1. Set Realistic Goals I am a big list person. With that being said, even before I had my son I had a Pinterest board titled “Postpartum” filled with girdles and workouts, along with a list of goals I felt I would be able to achieve in those first few months with a newborn. Shortly after having my son… I threw that list in the garbage. My expectations were not realistic and being a first time mom I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Those first 6 weeks are crucial for your body to rest and recover. You just experienced the workout of your life, give yourself a break! Now after that 6 weeks is a whole different story. After being cleared by your doctor, it’s time to set some goals. BE REALISTIC. Make it a goal to take a walk 4 times a week, while your baby is napping do a short (quiet) interval workout, come up with easy/healthy meals etc. Focus on feeling better in your body, not the number on the scale and again, I repeat: be realistic!
2. EAT! I know this sounds obvious, but eating is one of those things that can quickly be pushed aside after having a baby. There were quite a few days early on where I was eating only fruit snacks and granola bars (I do not recommend this) and ordering out becomes VERY expensive. If you can, prep frozen meals ahead of time, and ALWAYS accept family and friends offers to bring you food. Sitting down and eating a meal is not only good for your body, but also your mind. Take the time to actually sit down and eat a meal or two each day. It’s important, especially if you are sitting down with your spouse. As your little one grows, make it a priority to meal plan for the week and even do some prep on the weekend, even if that means your babe is strapped in their carrier while you cook!
3. SLEEP! This is probably the most difficult task of all. Sleep is so important, and anyone who has survived the first month or so knows that operating on little to no sleep is almost impossible, yet somehow you manage it. I wish I had taken the advice to nap when he napped or even to give my husband more responsibility with night feedings. Sure, I wasn’t actually going to work those first three months, but what I was doing at home was like working three full time jobs. With that being said, sleep whenever you can. Invite people over to hold your kid just so you can sleep. You need it.
4. Take Time for Yourself This was another hard one for me. I just wanted to be with my baby ALL the time. You need to take time for yourself, I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to put on real clothes, do my hair and go get a coffee BY MYSELF! Walking through Target felt like I was on a Caribbean cruise. It’s the little things that make you feel like yourself again. Go get a pedicure, get a new outfit and hey, maybe even some new workout gear! Talk to your significant other about making time for you to work out a few times a week. Set up a schedule so that everyone is on the same page and arguments don’t happen. If you need an hour or two to yourself three times a week then take it! Everyone will be happier if you do.
5. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments Give yourself a pat on the back. You carried a baby in your belly for 9 (pretty much 10) months. You brought that beautiful baby into this world. You have been nurturing and caring for them since the day you found out you were pregnant. Now you need some nurturing. Remind yourself of how strong, beautiful, smart and sexy you are! Tell yourself every morning and every night if you need to. LOVE YOUR BODY. One thing I learned from pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is that as a mom I have a new respect for my body and all that it is capable of. I have learned that some days are harder than others, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t change a single second. When I’m feeling like I haven’t worked out enough, or I’m not skinny enough, or I’m not strong enough I quickly remind myself of the fact that I am a mother, that I am doing my best. I am enough and so are you.
Maybe this post isn’t what you expected when you read the title, but the point is: being fit AF as a new mom really isn’t about the physical workout. It’s about fully accepting yourself in your new identity and in your new body, because no matter how much you work out your body will remain changed, and that is a beautiful thing. Get it girl!
5 Ways to Not Lose your Mind this Holiday Season
Let’s face it- the holidays can bring tremendous amounts of joy. They can be filled with merriment, good cheer, laughter and great cocktails but they can also be chock full of stress, familial discourse, depleted bank accounts and hangovers. So how do you stay sane and spiritually grounded during a time of year that can be filled with exhaustion and anxiety? I can’t claim to have all of the answers but I can share with you some tips that have helped me along the path to Holiday Enlightenment.
1)Just Say No. This slogan is not just for drugs, my friends. Declining invitations during the holidays can help keep you afloat. It’s so easy for us to succumb to the pressures of holiday parties and yankee swaps but at a certain point you just have to say NO. I used to be the gal who would try and squeeze in multiple social gatherings, parties and events all in one day and realized over time that it left little room for enjoyment. I was always staring at the clock, anticipating the next event and in turn, I was never allowing myself to be fully present. What’s the point of taking time to spend with your loved ones if you don’t truly enjoy it while it’s happening? Take my advice...really think about which events will bring joy and meaning and commit to those and for everything else- just say no. Don’t make excuses. Just say “no thanks”.
2)Make a budget. This may sound like weird spiritual advice but it’s an important one. So many times, we lose sight of the meaning of the holidays by going bananas with shopping. The holidays become more about getting our loved ones the latest and greatest gifts and seeking out the best Black Friday deals than it is about creating lasting memories and taking time to appreciate our blessings. Creating a budget (and actually sticking to it) can be such a useful tool to stay centered. In the Yoga Sutras, they speak a lot to the act of non-attachment and even go so far as to say that gifts are a way of creating guilt and unevenness in relationships. Once you’re the recipient of a material gift, there is subconscious pressure to reciprocate and sometimes that can bring unbalance to our dynamics. How about instead of exchanging gifts you ask your girlfriends to go out to dinner or get a massage or think about discussing with family members ahead of time what you’d like to do about exchanging gifts? Try attaching a dollar amount to your gift giving by suggesting you all spend X amount of dollars, that way there are no hard feelings if someone spent more than the other. Side note- what the hell is the point of exchanging gift cards? Why not just each keep the $50 and do what you’d like with it? But I digress…
3)Do You. I hear so many people talking about how they don’t have time for themselves during the holidays and trust me, I get it. However, if there was ever a time to make yourself a priority, it’s over the holiday season. Do the things that bring grounding and centering. Take a yoga class, spend five minutes of your morning in quiet meditation, go for a walk with your pup, call a friend for a glass of wine, read a book...do you. It’s not selfish or greedy to take a few minutes to bring yourself back home.
4)SEX. Just making sure you were still paying attention. You know, being present and all that. But hey, while we’re at it, why not stay warm this winter?
5)Pass the eggnog and let go of the guilt. We all start to feel it this time of year- maybe your pants seem a bit tighter because of the office baked goods and the endless amounts of sweets given as gifts. I encourage you to enjoy yourself, find balance and moderation and let go of the guilt and shame associated with pleasure. I mean, sure, eating an entire fruitcake and washing it down with a liter of vodka is cause for concern but gathering with friends and family and indulging a little is part of the fun. Don’t allow yourself to go down the path of giving into cravings mindlessly but also don’t be afraid to let your hair down, enjoy a glass of wine, honor your body and enjoy the freaking ride!
About Our Blog Contributer
Written by: Angela Beyer, Read her bio here
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