Posted by on January 28, 2016



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.

1. Meditate

Download the Breathe app (link 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.

2. Movement

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.

3. Masturbate

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.

Posted in: Creativity


  1. Catherine
    February 8, 2016

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    I really like your writing style, Sophia. I also like the feel of poetry and the simplicity of what you wrote.

    • Sofia Rose Smith
      February 29, 2016

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      Thank you, Catherine!!! <3 That means a lot to me. I’m a poet and so it feels lovely that the simplicity & lyricism comes through <3 Sending you love….

  2. Minette
    February 24, 2016

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    Love this post Sofia and your 8 Ms. I appreciate your courage in staking a claim for women’s self-care, including masturbation. It seems like such a taboo topic and certainly not one I grew up being able to talk about. In grad school, a group of girlfriends and I read a beautiful book called Sex for One that forever changed my relationship with my own body and freed me to enjoy my sexual and sensual relationship with my partner as well.

    • Sofia Rose Smith
      February 29, 2016

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      Thanks, Minette! It felt super scary for me to include masturbation in this piece! But — I wanted to move through my fear and include self-loving “sex for one” as a foundational healing practice and something that is so healthy for us. Masturbation is still so incredibly taboo for women & girls (not for boys & men) — and I think it’s radical & important to bring these conversations into a more “public” sphere. <3 I too think that our relationship to our own body & sexuality expands to our partnerships <3 bravo to you and your grad school girlfriends! <3

  3. Kelley Grimes
    February 24, 2016

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    These are beautiful self-nurturing practices to transform overwhelm. Pausing and connecting with my breath is part of my daily practice and catching the signs I am becoming overwhelmed sooner and sooner allows me to nurture myself before I am totally overwhelmed. Thank you so much for this post!

    • Sofia Rose Smith
      February 29, 2016

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      Thank you, Kelley! Building awareness around our “red flags” so that we can catch them sooner is sooo amazing. Sending you lots of love for your practice <3

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