PSA: Join us in Morocco in August for a yoga retreat that will take you deeper into your personal practice. If online is more your jam, we now have video bundles available for all levels. Don't forget that you'll get a free gift when you screenshot your review of our app to Lauren. And lastly, our book, Namaslay, is available for preorder.
One of the biggest life lessons I've been learning over the past year is that I need to take time for myself. I've known this for years, but stress played a major, major role in my life last summer, which culminating in me taking a full week off to get my $h!t together.
I was extremely stressed out, working non-stop, traveling non-stop, and I just needed a break. Once I decided to take the break, it was easy. I didn't struggle with guilt, or feeling like I was missing out on anything. I read, I hiked, I spent time with family, I took long baths, I went out for runs. I just did me, and it was so what I needed. I came back to work feeling so much better.
Quote above from The Untethered Soul
Sometimes, when you come back to work and real life feeling refreshed and ready to rock and roll, it's easy to fall back into your old ways. So last summer, when I got back to work, I created some resolutions to stick to:
1) Social media shut down - With the majority of my business being social media related (we're now up to 229,000 social media followers across a few platforms including instagram (and don't forget to follow the BTS account!), facebook, youtube and twitter), it's hard not to want to check posts and answer comments. But for the sake of my sanity and the people around me (who wants to be around that one person who is always checking their phone?!) it's important that I stick to only checking my phone during work hours.
What's interesting is that a few weeks ago I was out to breakfast with my friend Kat. I broke my rule of checking my phone and she said, "Do you realize that every time you check your phone, you sigh?"
I had no idea! I think of yawing as either a silent scream for coffee, a sign of sleepiness or a sign of stress. I think in this case, stress would be the culprit.
2) Be more thankful - According to this book, manifesting a sense of gratitude can physically change what's going on chemically inside your body. It lowers stress levels, which helps you to sleep better, digest your food better, and so much more. It seems kind of ridiculous that just being thankful can impact your health so much, but it does, so I've focused on being thankful for the little things every day.
3) Stop negative self talk - This is a huge one for me because I am admittedly really hard on myself, but I really needed to change. Life is hard enough without us being our own worst enemies, you know? So whenever I catch myself taking a turn to negative town, I try to shut it down right away.
Now, being alone and hitting the reset button has never been difficult for me, but I know it is something that many people struggle with. I definitely have friends and family who don't really know what to do with themselves when they're alone, or they can't relax. If you're one of those people, here are my suggestions:
1) Develop a deeper yoga practice: We all know that yoga is not just about the handstands and backbends. If I were to define it, I would say that yoga is truly knowing who you are, what you need, and honoring that. This can be tricky because there is a fine line between knowing what you need, knowing what you want, and then making the right decision. In my own personal practice, I used to be in love with very athletic practices. I wanted to do power vinyasa exclusively. But I knew myself - I am a little ball of stress half the time, so I what I needed was more yin, more restorative, and more calming practices.
2) Make silence a part of your day: One of the most transformative changes I've implemented into my life has been taking a moment every morning and evening to just sit in silence. Sometimes, if my brain won't shut off, I will just silently count my breaths for ten full breaths. Other times, I'll just sit and breathe, and think nothing. I find it so relaxing, and such a great way to start and end each day.
3) Make laughter a part of your day: I actively seek out laughter. I know that might sound like a weird thing to say, but oh my goodness, how good does it feel to laugh?! And laughter is crazy good for your health, too. I'll do stupid things like stoplight karaoke or practice my accents on snapchat with a ridiculous filter, or I'll watch funny clips on youtube (this is always a good one) - really, I'll do whatever it takes to get in a good laugh.
4) Reflect: I really believe that everyone you meet has something to teach you. Even the most idiotic of encounters can teach you something (patience?). I always like to take a minute to be reflective about my day, the interactions I had, the things I said and did, and just take a little mental inventory of what's going on, how I'm feeling, and if I'm not feeling great, what I can do to improve my mood. I think this goes hand in hand with yoga (it's actually called svadhyaya, or self-study) because the more you get in touch with what's going on internally, the better you know yourself and can make the best decisions for your life.
5) Do what you love: If you're taking an active role in finding ways to eliminate stress and bring more joy to yourself, I love the idea of finding something that you love, and dedicating time to doing that said thing. For me, I've realized that what I loved (yoga, working out) has become part of my job, so they are less enjoyable for me, for the most part. (Womp, womp.) These days, I'm trying to find other things I enjoy doing and then actively looking to incorporate them into my life. I used to dance as a kid, and in LA a few summers back, I started taking hip hop dance classes again and absolutely loved it. That has nothing to do with my job, so I'd love to start taking them again.
Put Yourself First
I can't stress how important this is. Regardless of what responsibilities you may have as a parent, spouse, whatever - it's so important that you get some YOU time to recharge and take care of yourself. There's a saying that goes something like, "You can't pour from an empty cup," so it's vital to put things on hold and take a minute or two for yourself daily. When you're feeling your best, you're better able to be the kind of parent/spouse/friend/employee/whatever you want to be.
In planning this summer's yoga retreats, I wanted to create an opportunity to hit the reset button. Sure, they are all opportunities to reset, but I designed the Morocco yoga retreat with scheduled silence that will last from after dinner until after our first yoga class every morning. It will be an opportunity to sit with yourself, get to know yourself a little better, and therefore be able to make the best choices for your life. I'm so excited about this retreat, and hope you'll give it a look. It's taking place in August, and it's such a magical place for self-exploration, adventure (if you want), and making memories with incredible people. Come join!
I'd love to know what you do to reset, recharge, how you spend time being alone, and ultimately how you take charge of your life. Let me know down in the comments below.