The Art of Doing Nothing

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Sundays are my favorite day of the week. It doesn’t even matter if I have to go to work, or to the airport, or whatever, there is something really magical about Sundays. No matter what else is going on, I make it point to add in some sort of rest and recharge into my day. I feel Sundays are sacred, and I will always do some sort of spiritual or meditative activity to give my soul and mind the rest and recharge it needs for the week.

This past week in my schooling with IIN, we were learning about and discussing stress. I heard a pretty shocking statistic in one of the lectures: 80% of visits to the doctor are due to stress-related illness. I knew stress was bad for the body, but I didn’t know just how bad it was in that it can manifest in some pretty serious diseases.

I’m a pretty anxious person. If we hang out in the real world, you are probably already aware of this. Anxiety is kind of my go-to state when I don’t know how to handle things. Parking, for instance, requires a ridiculous amount of energy. I do a lot of deep breathing to cope with it, and people make fun of me fore it all the time. (Ridiculous example, but I mean that’s the world that I live in)

I’ll make up reasons to get stressed out, even if there is no reason to it. It’s bizarre, and also really annoying.

As an anxious person, and an introvert, I know how important it is for me to recharge. If I don’t spend time alone, or find a way to feel calm, I’ll stay caught up in my anxiety spin, and totally loose control. Not to mention, take a huge toll on my body and mind.

(In case you ever wonder if your yoga teacher who seems incredible zen gets stressed, the answer is probably a resounding yes)

Here’s my five favorite ways to de-stress, become present, and recharge:

1).Color or doodle!

Mandala coloring books have been a big favorite of mine this year (and apparently I’m not the only one). They offer a way to focus on what’s in front of you, and let yourself become present. It’s both meditative and beautiful to take some time to focus on coloring in patterns, and let things fall to the side as you bring yourself to the present moment.

2). BREATHE!

This is the most important tool you can use in your life. Deepening your breath, expanding your inhales and exhales is an instant cue to your nervous system to step out of fight or flight, and into rest and digest. When you use your diaphragm to breathe in deep belly breaths, you are creating more space for air to fill your lunges, and giving your heart a massage. Take some time in your day to let your belly hang loose, and tune in to your breath. It’s powerful and incredible. And, this tool can be used literally any and everywhere.

3). Dance/sing/jam out to your favorite music

There’s something really liberating about letting yourself go a bit and allowing the moment to take over. Maybe for you that’s dancing, or maybe it’s singing your favorite song really loud in your car, whatever it is, own it! Enjoy it! Moments like that allow you to destress, and feel free. It’s a really beautiful and important thing.

4). Move

Choose whatever movement allows you to become present. My roommate is an incredible rock climber, and she says that when she climbs she doesn’t think at all. That’s how I feel when I practice yoga. That’s how another friend feels when she dances. Whatever that movement is for you: do it. Keep it sacred and enjoy it!

5). Get outside

Mother Nature holds the most healing power around. Especially now that fall is upon us, going outside for some fresh air and beautiful views is the perfect way to reconnect and calm down. Whenever I spend time outside, whether with friends or alone, I instantly feel connected to the bigger pictures that is life. I stop getting so caught up in the day-to-day drama and the mundane, and I realize I am a small part of a large and powerful picture.

BONUS

Take a Yin or Restorative yoga class. Yin is a juicy practice that is super meditative and calming.  Instead of focusing on building heat and energy and flowing through vinyasa’s, you hold poses for a really long time and allow your body and gravity to simply release. It’s indulgent stretching at the finest, and one of my very favorite ways to close out or begin the week.

What are your favorite ways to de-stress or become present? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

With love {always},

Ashley

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2 Replies to “The Art of Doing Nothing”

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