With the arrival of Spring, there are tons of things we can do to plant the seeds for better mental and physical health for the upcoming months so we can get through the fall and winter months just as shiny and bright as a brisk April morning. So what are a few things you can do to kick start your letting go and letting in?
Stop trying to keep it all tightly together
First and most important piece of advice: Stop trying to keep it all tightly together – the home, the children, the job and the jiggly body parts. Let it all go. You are not Spanx and you are not meant to keep it all smooth and perky. Take some time to let it all hang out, because our bodies and minds are worth just as much as everyone else’s. Sometimes letting go of little things allows other things we actually enjoy to happen, which, in turn, allows us to catch a glimpse of our real selves, the ones we bury under piles of laundry and dirty dishes. When we let a few chores slide, we can sit on the toilet without rush, we may allow for a shower that is 5 minutes longer, we can shave ABOVE the knee or sit under the hot water and pretend to be somewhere else!
I am a yoga teacher and all I do is teach and work full time, I hardly ever have time to go to a studio to practice. When I do make it to the studio, I notice a difference – I am nicer, my mind is clearer and I don’t flip people off as much on the drive home. Now, I am not what most think of when they think of a yoga teacher. I have a soft, jiggly belly, I drink way too much coffee and wine, I cuss like a sailor and my eating habits are questionable (but I am working on it and that’s all that matters) so my approach to my practice is just as untraditional and it is mostly done at home. My practice sometimes consists of sitting down in silence in the morning, coffee in hand as watch the sun come up, sometimes I do a few sun salutations and call it a day and sometimes I kick it into high gear and break up a sweat. You don’t have to bend like a pretzel to do yoga and I know some of you are going to say “but I am not flexible,” or “I am not good at yoga” – lucky for you, you don’t have to be. Just put on some comfy pants and do what feels right. If you have never taken a class before, there are tons of free classes online or websites you can pay a low monthly fee for tons of classes, such as Yogaglo.com. (Or if you are local, just come to one of my classes!!). Just try it! And if you don’t like it, find something else that works for you.
If you have 5 minutes before bed, while on the toilet or while hiding in the closet eating cookies, use them to quiet your mind. You can use this quiet time for a quick prayer, to say a few affirmations, to imagine yourself on a beautiful beach while sipping an adult beverage or to reminisce about your favorite memory. The point is to let everything go and make room for stillness so you can rejuvenate your mindset. This will re-charge your batteries and will clear your mind and improve your mood.
Drink some tea, drink some coffee, drink some wine, drink some whiskey… whatever your favorite beverage is – DRINK IT! Drink it slow, savor it and maybe pour yourself another. I know most of us have no time in between working, cleaning, helping the kids with homework and so on, but taking 3 minutes of your day to enjoy your favorite beverage will give you the “oomph” you need to be even more awesome than you already are (especially if wine is involved).
At least twice a week slather a mask on your face. There are lots of recipes for homemade masks you can make at home. You can even use your coffee grounds and add a little coconut oil, mix it all up, cake it on your face and BAM! The coffee will stimulate circulation, exfoliate the skin and you will smell so good you will want to eat your own face off! Maybe go a little crazy and slather it ALL over!
Take the time to call a friend and talk about anything BUT kids, chores, work or finances. Talk about the one time you went camping, that one time you went on a road trip or that time you tripped and fell and couldn’t stop laughing. Make time to laugh and remember all the good times that have gotten you through the bad times and use them as fuel to get you through the many more that will come around one day.
DANCE IT OUT!
Play Pandora or your favorite CD and dance and sing your booty off. You will get some cardio in, you will let off some steam and the endorphins will pour off of you like a waterfall. Get your littles involved if you want, but only after you do your own solo!
Do all of the above as often as possible. You can do them all at once if needed! Put the mask on, do a few yoga moves, dance it out, sit in silence, drink your beverage, wash your bum and emerge from that bathroom like the queen that you are. You will feel brand new and your family will notice the difference. It may be hard to make time for it at first, and perhaps you can only do only one of the above to begin with, but maybe if you talk to your loves and ask them to respect your private time, this will allow them to have their own “me time routines.”
So take off the tummy control device, put down the vacuum, ignore the dishes and find your fun self again!