Tag Archives: stress

Staying AWARE; the eye of the storm

I must say I was pretty surprised not to find “moving” on the list of the 10 most stressful life events. And when you factor in a cross-country move with a significant other and an animal, I’d expect it to at least be in there!

When I moved to Austin at the end of 2013, I was lucky. I was by myself, felt I had nothing to lose, and had someone there ready to accept me (and my stuff) with open arms and empty drawers. Although I loved the weather, my teaching gigs, my students and my clients, the energy and atmosphere of the South just doesn’t work for me, and it’s almost immediately noticeable when I’m back in Boston. So last week, I flew home with 2 big and 2 small suitcases, received by a gracious friend and her equally gracious beau, and hit the ground running on the apartment-hunt front. I can feel the almost 24-like timer in the corner of my screen, counting down the days I have to find something that’s do-able for my family for a year.

I’d love to say that being a Mind-body Wellness Consultant means I’ve taken GREAT care of myself. But honestly, it’s been quite hard.

I was up way too late the night of arrival, busy catching up, socializing, and then wound so tight sleep eluded me. The following 2-3 days were a frantic pile of running around–renting a car until mine arrived, looking at places I’d already lined up, texting / emailing / calling multiple people trying to show me places, etc. I ran around from mid-morning to early evening, and then last night had an agonizing decision to make over two “doable” but “not quite right” places I finally turned down, when 3 tosses of the coin came up tails and that was clearly the answer from the Universe. Talk about stress.

But I will recognize and even give myself some “kudos” (wow, that word hasn’t come up in a few years ;-)! Even as I was driving around–which BTW is SO SO much easier here than in Austin!–I became AWARE that I wasn’t hydrated; that I was hungry; that I was tired. When I NOTICED these things, I ACTED to make better choices in the next moments. I stopped at Whole Foods for a lunch break. I got a quinoa salad thing (at Starbucks of all places!) in the morning and put it in my lunch sack for later…I bought bottles of water and healthy GF nutrition bars. I even took my pile of supplements with me in a little plastic baggie–and I haven’t yet missed a dose. I also haven’t missed a day of my morning yoga practice, because I KNOW how much I need it.

This morning was more of the same, but after I turned in the rental car, I’m in, no where to go and nothing to do. In some ways, having this self-care day is exactly what I needed. I’m ensconced in tea and “Tuesdays with Morrie” (which I started on the plane and just finished). I had my first “meal” this morning around 11 o’clock: rotisserie chicken, basmati rice, and green beans, all smothered in olive oil. Ah…so soothing. When realtors text me, “I’m sorry, I can’t see anything until tomorrow.” And that’s true. For today, I’m hanging out in the eye of the storm. Trying to find some bit of stability, peace, and comfort with everything whirling around me.

What have you done to find some peace and stillness when everything around you is in upheaval? Do you NOTICE and CHANGE your behavior before it’s too late and you’re completely spent? I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts and advice!

What did the Grinch steal?

IMG_0594I recall working in my high-tech job and having people asking me what I was doing for the holidays. I don’t have much family to speak of, and I’m not one really for “orphan” dinners. So I said, “nothing really.” The eager and expectant smile on the face of my colleague fell fast. “Oh, how sad!” she exclaimed. A little puzzled, I asked what she was up to, and over the course of the next half our or so, I learned all about the mandatory holiday traveling, the family conflicts, the gifts that wouldn’t be appreciated, the cooking, the worry about how it would all get done, etc. etc. I couldn’t help myself: “wow, that sounds pretty stressful. While you’re doing that, I’ll be in my bubble bath with a book I’ve been longing to read.” With a sigh she conceded: “yeah, that does sound pretty nice.”

Just yesterday I told someone that I don’t “do Christmas.” Maybe that is sad, but it’s a choice I’ve been making for a long time. Always with a wily cat in the house, I’d long given up having a tree. Perhaps since my high school days, I’ve thought of decorating as a chore (because back then, it actually was). Shopping around this time of year–even for the usual weekly stuff–gets harder because everyone is out buying more. And often they are very stressed trying to fit it all in, so courtesy goes out the window at a time when it should be front-and-center. For several years I’d successfully done “Chinese and a movie”, but I don’t eat much Chinese anymore and the movie selection, frankly, leaves a lot to be desired.

IMG_0751I suppose that makes me a real Grinch right?! Well, maybe. But I know that I’m going to have some time off, and even better, some time off at the same time as my honey, who is often on a schedule opposite mine. We are getting some gifts for each other (and the Awesome cat of course), and this year we even got and decorated a little tree. We both enjoy cooking but haven’t done much of it together lately, so a project of that nature–where the cooking is as much fun as the eating–is on the list. Because I’m working on this business, there’s also some end-of-year planning and tallying, but the “work” will be done on a day of my choice, with lots of breaks for hanging like a bat on my new inversion table, taking Epsom-salt baths, movie watching, and of course, present opening. I’ll also be finishing up that book I’m nearly done with. Maybe I’ll even do a few “tech free” days.

To me, the holiday is a time to have a bit LESS stimulation of the senses (in yogic circles, this is called pratyahara). I find that I intentionally withdraw MORE during this time of year, because I know that for me, it can become “too much” quite quickly. It’s not that I don’t enjoy good company, lots of amazing food choices, or gifts. But I’d prefer to spread them out throughout the year and keep my sanity (and health) in the process. (There are ways to practice pratyahara even when you can’t, or rather not withdraw. See this article for useful insights.)

As a former “resolver”, I have thoughts on New Years’ Resolutions too, but I’ll save those for another time. What I’ll leave you with is to consider another yogic principle–that of intention. What do you intend to do with the rest of your year? Are these choices you’re making, or are you caught up in the “should’s” of the holiday season? Then set your intention for that day, that hour, that moment. You might take a deep breath, listen to your body (e.g. hunger/thirst, rest/exercise, etc.), be with a family member (just as they are!) or simply close your eyes for a few moments of peace each day. It comes from within. Truly.