I was having coffee with a friend yesterday. We were both feeling depleted, bombarded with horrifying current events, trying to make our own ends meet, and not knowing what to do next. Feeling overwhelmed can take hold at anytime, whenever a major life event happens. Personal, political, or otherwise. How we deal with it is what matters.
Yoga has taught me several things, so much in fact, the topic is another journal post. I see yoga as more than exercise. I see it as a healing modality. My own practice has brought so much healing into my life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And continues to do so. When I take the practice off the mat, that is where the magic really happens. My mission as a yoga teacher is to help you take time for yourself and find the light within, whether you get on your mat or not. With that said, when I get overwhelmed, I remember to take time for myself, recharge my batteries, refill my well. If you're feeling overwhelmed too, here are some tips:
You know I'm going to say go to a yoga class! Yes, do! Or just do your exercise of choice. Go for a walk, play basketball. Choose to sweat or choose to restore. Power up or power down. Either way it will be time designated for you without news headlines!
2. Take a Day Off
Take a day off, a real day off. No news, no social media. Read a novel. If that's too challenging, set time limits. When I worked in the corporate world, I would receive work emails around the clock. I had to set a limit- no checking email after 8pm- to bring sanity back into my life. It worked. The same can be done with your constant news streams. Yoga postures prepare us for stillness. Be still.
3. Breathe In the Present Moment
We are here, right now. Yoga teaches us to be in the present moment. Fear of the future won't help you. Every step on the mat has an intention. Live life step by step. Take the necessary actions you need to change your situation with intention. Find a source that can help you figure out what those necessary steps are instead of reacting to every bit of information that crosses your path. Take a breath. Breathe. Then move forward with a clear mind.
4. Be Creative / Support the Arts
If you're the creative type, don't give up on your art. Paint, draw, sculpt, whatever it is that you do keep doing it. Creativity can transport you out of your over thinking. The same can be said for viewing art. Go to a museum, a dance show, a rock show. Supporting the arts helps to remind us that we are more than our problems, our daily grinds. Last Saturday, I took the whole day to work on some sewing and knitting projects. No news. Music blasting. It was wonderful!
5. Don't Judge. Don't Feel Guilty
Immediately after the election, I was chatting with a friend and we were both feeling bad and scared about the results. I was overwhelmed about what to do, but feeling like I needed to do something. Talk of marches and protests was happening but not fully formed yet. I was debating attending and at the time just not sure if the energy would be positive or more like a riot. It was too soon and unorganized to tell. I was posting a lot about meditation at the time on my social media accounts and my friend made an underhanded comment to me along the lines of "you can meditate if you want but..." It took me awhile to realize I was being judged. It didn't feel great. We all react differently. We all process news differently. I needed to breathe, to be still in the present moment to be able to decide what to do next. Don't feel guilty about your choices or your path or for taking a day off.
Self-care is essential. Take the time for yourself. Be still, look within and connect with your core.
Photo credits: Karen LaPorte