We all have had those days when we have so much to do that all we want to do is climb in bed, eat our weight in chocolate, and never leave. I am one of these people: that can become easily overwhelmed and frustrated when the ‘things to do list’ seems longer than humanly possible. I used to judge myself for this, thinking ‘I’m not a good yogi for being stressed out of my mind’. But, that's life. Sometimes it does seem that we have thirty seven things to do in two hours.
It may be a totally cliche yoga topic, but it is one that’s close to my heart. I have dealt with stress for as long as I can remember, and it is something I work on everyday. This year (through balancing my 200 Hour Yoga Training with Power Yoga of Cape Cod, the college application process, and regular school/life/teaching yoga) I have begun to look at stress in a different light. Being a yogi, doesn’t mean these days don’t happen. But rather, being a yogi means that we have the tools to deal with these days!
Stress happens when we are all in our heads, and less in our bodies. I find when I’m stressed I can ignore my body and even forget to eat, shower, or other necessary activities. The words we speak to ourselves, even unconsciously, also has a huge effect on stress. The chatter in our minds can be relentless, obsessing over what needs to be done. Yet this same self talk can be used in ways to sooth our souls, in times of chaos.
Here are a few ways I find help me deal with stress, and may work for you as well.
Make A List
Write down all of the things you need to do. Put the things that are urgent at the top, and work your way down. It can be extremely gratifying to check things off. Seeing exactly what needs to be done on paper can help bring you out of your mind; back into a more relaxed state.
If this exercise helps, consider journaling more often! It can be a very healing and enlightening process to see what goes on in one’s mind, come out in the open through your pen.
Bringing yourself to nature can help you realize that you are connected to a bigger picture. A community of living breathing organisms, balanced together in a delicate manifestation. The earth supports you in all your endeavors, and if you need peace all you must do is ask for it. Trust that the Universe will take care of your needs, and they will be fulfilled.
If its colder than Antarctica outside - buying a plant for your home is awesome way to create a more stress free environment :)
Have A Dance Party
It might sound silly but this is my all time FAVORITE thing to do when I start to obsess, stress, or overthink. Blast your current favorite song, and move your body in any way that feels natural. It is so therapeutically awesome to grant yourself the freedom to be authentically you.
Use Essential Oil
Nature gave us plants and scents that can heal a hectic mind. Try Lavender, Rose, Tea Tree or Sandalwood oil in a bath, or massaging on your body. Using a skin brush with oil can get rid of dry skin and toxins, leaving you feeling gently cleansed. Nourish your body and soul with natural scents. I love this recipe for Lavender Lemonade!
Juice of 7 lemons
Juice of 2 limes
½-1 cup blue agave nectar
1-2 drops of lavender essential oil
14 cups water
Yoga and Meditation
Short on time? Stand in Mountain Pose for twenty or so breaths; it has been proven to decrease the stress hormone Cortisol and increase the mood hormone Serotonin. Or try Eagle Pose. It opens the shoulders and relieves neck tension, allowing stress to melt.
Treat Yo’ Self
Go for a spa, reiki, massage, or kick boxing appointment. Anything that does good for your body, and resonates with your soul. Even if it is a week or two in advance, it can give you something to look forward to. It also honors your commitment to putting your well being before the demands of work, or other people.
Nourish yourself with your fav health food or treat: listen to what your body needs at the moment. Start to tap into your body’s natural intuition and see what foods make you feel whole and centered. Some foods I love for stress relief are nuts, bananas, herbal teas, avocados(!), coconut milk or dark chocolate.
Allow & Express
Allow yourself to be your first priority, and to feel any emotions that come up for you. I have had the tendency to avoid letting myself feel sad or angry or hurt. I would quickly change my focus to something else. Until it positively had to come out, and when it did it was overwhelming and confusing. We are human. Therefore we must allow our emotions to be what they are, so that we can begin to understand how to take care of ourselves.
Calling a friend, spending time with your loved ones, or playing with a pet can be extremely stress relieving. Sometimes explaining your situation and how you feel about it can help you see that it is not the end of the world.
This is something I have not quite yet mastered. This year has been more hectic than I ever imagined and it always seems like there is something else to be worked on. Yet if I take a step back I can usually see that whatever I’m stressing about does not need to be done RIGHT NOW. And that my health comes first, so I must do what my body needs in order to remain in balance. Saying ‘no’ is vital in preventing stress so that all areas of our lives stay balanced, instead of suffering from Project Overload.
If I have learned anything this year it would be this: Honor your body, and treat it well. Your own well being and sense of peace is the most important thing. Give yourself the gift of expression, self love, compassion and understanding. You are enough. You are love.
We cannot begin to heal others, if we do not first put in the work to heal ourselves.
In LOVE & LIGHT,