Carrie's yoga column helps you to keep calm and carry on looking after yourself
Over the last year, with continuous lockdowns and increased alone time, we have all been pushed out of our comfort zones and into places of self-reflection. Some more willingly than others.
Whether you took up a new hobby or found yourself really looking forward to your daily exercise, there are many stories of improved self-care routines.
What happens next, do I let my new habits slide as old life creeps back in?
We have to hold on to the lessons we’ve learnt over the past year. Slowing down and taking care of ourselves puts us in a much stronger position to be able to thrive, not just survive.
We know this is much easier said than done, and as there are more demands on our time, it is difficult to stick to the good habits we’ve built up.
But there is also the other side of the coin. Letting go of the things that kept us sane, can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and stress as our own needs are put on the backburner.
What can I do?
Yoga says take care of yourself first and make sure your tanks are full.
You are in the centre of your world. You are responsible for your own happiness, what you eat, how long you sleep, what you consume such as social media, TV,
interactions with others.
When you have taken care of yourself, you have the energy to move out into the second layer. To be with people in our lives, our relationships with our family and our friends.
Only then can we expand out into the third layer, our work. And find motivation and growth in our place of work. From here, we can expand into our community and finally to the planet and for the welfare of everybody.
Far too often, we skip step one, concerning ourselves primarily with the wellbeing of our family and friends. And often, we skip steps one and two, and concern ourselves primarily with our work.
Now, I’m not saying don’t put your children or job as a high priority, but I am saying, put yourself as the highest priority.
What can I do to make this happen?
Make a list of your non-negotiables, what makes you feel good. Schedule them into your week, like you would the food shop, coffee with a friend or the laundry.
Give yourself permission to put yourself first. Find shortcuts but don’t jeopardize your mental health and wellbeing.
Be kind to yourself. Time management is a practice of a lifetime. You don’t need to get it right overnight. But by making sure you have the right foundations, you’ll go a lot further.
What if I’m already stressed?
Stress and tension build up over time and get stored in our bodies, muscles and even our cells. They don’t disappear without support and need time and space to release. The good news is, all you need to do is relax.
Try this now ...
Find a comfortable place, sitting or lying down.
Move around a little in your body until you feel at ease and take three big breaths. As you breathe in feel your chest fill up like a balloon and as you breathe out feel that balloon deflate.
At the end of your third breath allow your whole body to release tension as you let your eyes close.
Take a moment to check in with the world around you. One at a time connecting to your five senses. Listen to the sounds around you, then see if you can feel the air against your skin, next notice any tastes in your mouth, any smells in your nose, and finally the quality of light on the backs of your eye lids.
Sit quietly for as long as you like, and when you’re ready to get up, take a final big breath in and a big sigh out of your mouth as you exhale. Gently open your eyes and head back into your day.
Take some time for you today and join us for 15 days free of live online yoga at www.thefrogproject.org site.