May has turned out to be a particularly busy month, when I say that I mean, things seem to now be moving at warp speed, deadlines are looming and I can feel my stress mounting. And there seems to be a theme this week on the blog of how to manage stress, trust me this wasn’t planning. I used to brag about how well I could handle stress, and I generally think I still do- but not actually “managing” it and being a champ at compartmentalization chips away at you until you burn out and are even affected physically. I was at this point in my career where I was working 60-80 hours a week, I never had time to work out, ate poorly because I was always in office or travelling and I just felt “tired” all the time. And so I eventually left that job because I recognized that things needed to change, I needed to recharge my batteries and a good 10-12 hours of sleep wasn’t going to cut it.
Yoga became a place where I could calm my whirling, swirling mind. Well if not calm it, organize thoughts from the jumble of stress and deadlines to a collected game plan. I think the biggest learning that came out of yoga for me was the breathing and savasana. Lying still and trying to ignore your active thoughts is a really hard thing to do! And so out of that, I have learned to be more mindful and recognize that I need to come back to these exercises, especially in weeks when things are tough. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really consider myself to truly “meditate”, I mean there is no chatting or any dark rooms involved. It usually means me going out into to nature and sitting or walking somewhere, doing some breathing routine and going through a gratitude exercise. I usually run through my list of everyone and everything in my life that I’m thankful for. That exercise in itself seems to melt the stress and put things in perspective for me. Sometimes I just roll out my yoga mat and do some basic stretching and sun salutations. Everyone is different, so don’t be scared to trial and error things to figure out what works best for you. If you already have a great regiment for managing stress in your daily life, I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts or suggestions. I think in today’s age of hyper speed, the art of slowing down and being mindful of ourselves is a continual learning and practice.