Does the beginning of the New Year overwhelm you a little? Perhaps you started 2016 with that clean slate feel; you released old patterns as we said goodbye to 2015, but now, you can’t remember that hopeful feeling you had on New Year’s Day?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
I feel it, too. The vast expanse ahead, the expectations, the desire to “be better,” to “do better,” to “look better,” to “feel better.”
That’s a lot of “better” in one sentence.
If you’re anything like me, your mind may be a minefield of what you need to do to succeed.
Add on top of that taking care of others, the emotional work of our lives and relationships, our professional goals, our dreams, our health, sleeping enough, exercising…it’s a never-ending hamster wheel of to-do’s.
So let’s just get off that train, for a minute, for a day, for a week.
Let’s find the pause.
Take a breath in. And release.
Let a smile come to your face.
Know that you are enough.
You are brilliant.
Here are 8 ways you can find a weekly pause, or as I like to call it the 8 M’s of Mindfulness.
Download the Breathe app (link http://stopbreathethink.org) and try to find 5 minutes daily (morning, night, on the toilet, on your lunch break) to just be quiet (and meditate). Breathe does the heavy lifting for you; just press play.
Find movement once a week. Every body is different, so feel into what works for you. Go on a 10-20 minute stroll. This will get you in your body. It will open up your heart. A walk allows you to be with the world, hear the birds, people watch. If a walk isn’t accessible for you, a gentle self-massage or stretch session will help you honor your temple.
Make love to yourself once a week (at least). No shame if it doesn’t happen, but I highly recommend this ancient practice of pleasure.(link
4. Morning Ritual
Find a morning ritual: making coffee, writing, affirmations, brushing your hair, putting on your make-up. Something that’s just for you that you can do daily with love.
5. Make Friends
Reach Out. Have a low key breakfast with friends. Call someone. Reach out to those who make you laugh or don’t mind if you cry. If you feel lonely and like you don’t have good friends, try and go to a meet up or a coffee shop. Be open to human connection.
6. Make Yoga
Find a yoga practice. This isn’t something I talk openly about or advocate, usually. But I have to say that yoga has been one of the most powerful tools in my life since I was a teenager. Saying the word yoga can feel so daunting, so white and thin, so appropriative, and also like something we may have to force ourselves to do in unsafe spaces. But for me, yoga is about finding a home in your own body, finding a connection to Spirit, and calming your mind. It’s a happiness potion with roots in many of our ancestors lives (the Maya, my ancestors, had a practice of yoga)
7. Make Food
Cook something simple and delicious. There’s beauty in nourishing ourselves. There’s a sweetness in the slowing down it takes to make a meal: to open the skin of the garlic, to chop the carrots, to stir the miso, to assemble the casserole. Cooking is as ancestral as breathing, and if you have no time for anything above, find time to cook a meal during your week.
8. Make Rest
Sleep in. Go to be early.
I don’t want this to feel like a to-do list.
I want these to feel like options. Things you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. Invitations that remind you to slow down and take pause. Take these with you, the 8 M’s of Mindfulness:
Meditate, Movement, Masturbate, Morning Ritual, Make Friends, Make Yoga, Make Food, Make Rest.