Pace Yourself...slow down to enjoy more!
How is your summer going? How are you feeling? Are you enjoying a gentler pace of life filled with summer delights? I hope so! My summer was going splendidly! I was enjoying our older children home from college and no homework requirements for our younger children. We were up early with our little one and staying up late with our older children. We were taking day excursions biking and kayaking as a family. My husband and I took a romantic trip where we snorkeled, collected shells and indulged in spa treatments. Days later, my mother came for a visit and we shopped and baked and then seemingly out of nowhere, I felt depleted!
I woke up one morning feeling utterly exhausted as if I had run a marathon! Actually worse! I have run a marathon before and felt sheer exhilaration at the finish line so this was different! It was as if someone had taken out my battery pack! I was foggy in my head and heavy in my bones. What had happened? We had enjoyed one activity after another. I love everyone I was connecting with… so why was I so drained? Instead of trying to figure it out as I have in the past, I simply surrendered to it! I admitted I was tired, something in the past I also did not do. I just announced I was going to bed early. Part of me wanted to stay up to enjoy the evening festivities we had planned but my body was speaking to me and I decided to listen and honor my body’s wish for rest. My old patterns would find me pushing through exhaustion as if it's a cloud to just get passed but my new commitment to self-care called for me to surrender and check out of the world and into myself.
The next morning I felt so much happier. My heart was full and my thoughts were clear. By going to bed early and getting several hours of extra sleep, I had renewed myself. It occurred to me that even though each activity in the weeks leading up to my energetic crash were pleasant or awesome, the pace of my life was going faster than my body was comfortable with. While I am blessed with great health and stamina, I have noticed that I feel better when I give myself time to recharge on a daily basis. I had stayed true to my Transcendental Meditation practice, which calls for twice daily 20 minute meditations, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. But I had not been to any yoga classes (my preferred exercise for the past two decades) and I had been eating out of pure pleasure and convenience so my body was not getting refueled in the way that allows me to feel my best. I had also gone an extended period of time with less sleep. During sleep, our bodies heal themselves by moving into an anabolic state where hormonal shifts occur that allow us to renew and replenish on a cellular level. Even skimping out of an hour of sleep can make you feel groggy so skipping hours of sleep over a prolonged period can really take a toll on your overall vitality and mood!
So I repeat, How is YOUR summer going? How are YOU feeling?
May I lovingly suggest that you pace yourself and truly listen to your body so you can fully enjoy all of life’s opportunites! Pacing ourselves has nothing to do with what we used to do or what we can still do if we push ourselves. It’s all about honoring how we feel right NOW! In yoga, we are reminded that every day our bodies feel slightly different! Some days we are more limber and can go deeper into a stretch, other days we may feel tight so we should stretch only until we feel resistance and then back off slightly so as not to strain.
One powerful technique to regain your equilibrium if you are feeling off of your A game is to practice a SILENT DAY (or even a silent hour!) - a dedicated time devoted to being quiet, unplugging from the world and just being. During this time of solitude (or shared time with another willing participant of being silent), you will get to hear from the deeper part of you, who often doesn't get a chance to speak to you in the hustle and bustle of daily life. It has been said that the ego shouts and the spirit whispers. By getting quiet, you will hear the whispers of your heart that hold the key to your true happiness and well-being! Pace yourselves dear ones!
You deserve to feel your best! With love, Diana
Diana Stone, M.A., is a Wellness Consultant and inspirational writer and speaker. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dianalynnstone.com