Musings on Stress
I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to share with you some short reflections on a subject very close to my heart; STRESS & OVERWHELM.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with STRESS over the years and it’s something I continue to experience daily, because, *spoiler alert*, it doesn’t matter if you are a Yoga Teacher / Ayurvedic Practitioner, unless you live in a Himalayan cave …alone …. then STRESS is going to be a part of your life. There is such a strong energy in the world of Pushing these days that we have almost glamourized being stressed. None of us are immune to it.
Don’t mention the ‘S’ Word
Last year I became acutely aware of how whenever anyone asked me or my husband how we were we would always reply “super busy, so busy, oh, it’s been mad busy…we’ve been so stressed, it’s been manic” it was as if being overwhelmed had become our baseline, our automatic go-to response. It swiftly became our New Year’s Resolution to stop telling people how busy we were and instead we made a pact to reply with any other response. It was a tough habit to break. I hadn’t realized how much of our identify was attached to our jobs and our careers.
We are living in a society where we are expected to be all things to all people – to be entrepreneurial go-getters, to thrive in our careers, to be present and supportive for family and friends, to have a balanced social life, not to mention all the information we are bombarded with about how to be healthy and the perfect self-care routines we should be doing. All this noise leads to a feeling of guilt that that no matter how hard we try at life it never seems to be enough.
So, what is the cost?
When I reflect on times in my life when I was stressed and overwhelmed it’s as if I wasn’t fully present. I was robotically moving through my days jumping from one task to the next, operating on autopilot. Days, weeks, months merging into one.
The unspoken cost of prolonged periods of stress is that you miss out on the journey that is life.
My Ayurvedic teacher would share the story about walking up a big hill and the top is the goal you aspire to. You may reach the top with hard work, but did you smell the roses along the way?
It sounds cliché, but so true. When we rush around, we miss the beautiful moments, the subtle magic that is life. We spend most of our precious time thinking about what we MUST do rather than enjoying what’s Infront of us right now.
“Most of the time you are thinking about life, not living life” Sadhguru
Simple acts of presence
If we can stop every now and then, just for a few minutes we might be able to find a few moments of joy throughout the day, moments of magic; Rolling around the floor with our dogs, a walk-in nature, munching on some goodies found in the fridge – all these blessings we take for granted when we are caught up in the never ending hustle and bustle of life.
Taking these simple acts of presence help to slow our lives back down. They help us go through each day feeling more alive, more awake, more calm.
We always have a choice
And remember during times of Overwhelm … you always have a choice.
Ask yourself is this working for you? And be honest with your answer. Is this constant pushing and striving helping you thrive in a way that serves you physically, emotionally, spiritually? Or are you working from a place of depletion, each day merging into the next?
This is the part no-one wants to hear, but there comes a point where we have to take some responsibility, only then can we start to make some beautiful, sustainable, changes to our lives.
We always have time for one deep breath. We always have the time to choose a moment of pause which can make all the difference to our nervous system. We have the choice to bring some softness into the way we approach our to-do lists.
Soften and Release, Soften and Release.
Come back to your breath. Come back to your body. And try again.
I hope you are able to take a few minutes today to pause, to embrace those simple acts of presence and to allow yourself to soften (just 10% more)
We would love to hear some of your “Simple acts of Presence” in the comments box below. Perhaps they can spark some inspirations for those who need it.
And finally, Lou and I look forward to holding our first “From Stress to Strength” workshop this summer. Please see link below for all the details. Spaces are limited so reserve your spot to avoid disappointment.