Self Care Tip: Schedule Yourself A Break

schedule a break

This time of year is busy, busy, busy. Report cards, field trips, high stakes state testing wrap up, finals, marathon grading sessions, end-of-the-year celebration planning and all those hormonal students with spring fever… it is enough to make anyone want to schedule a mental health holiday.

The end of the school year always reminds me of a championship baseball game that has just gone into extra innings. Everything feels completely necessary and like every second counts.

My friend and author, Rosie Molinary used to think, “Maybe something mildly bad will happen, like a really bad flu or a minor car accident, so that I can take a little bit of time off.”

Sound like something you might say to yourself? Me too.

Let’s face it, even if you don’t work in a school, spring is an extra busy time. Even nature is going a million miles a minute: the birds, the bees, the pollen and the trees.

Stress city!

So rather than trying to keep going and going and going until you completely burn out, why not schedule yourself a break?

Start with an hour for yourself in the next couple of weeks: a restorative yoga class, a nap,  a massage, a manicure or pedicure, a run outside without any distraction.

Then why not schedule a half day? A hike at a nearby river or lake, a picnic by a stream, a good book under a tree, a yoga workshop with your favorite teacher, an afternoon taking pictures of signs of spring, writing in your journal in a café.

Then try a whole day and schedule absolutely nothing and see how the day unfolds. Maybe try a pajama day and see how you feel.

The idea behind these breaks is to give yourself a bit of space and breathing room. You may find you are happier and even more productive than you would have been without the break.

Does the idea of scheduling a break freak you out or are you already grabbing your planner?  Please share in the comments.

Post inspired by Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary. Specifically Day 306: Take a Personal Health Day and Day 57 Schedule Breaks.

Image Source: Serenity Retreat – Early Fall by FreeWine on Flickr (cc)

That Time I Knew I Was Going To The Nervous Hospital: AKA My First Restorative Yoga Class

A person who recently took a restorative yoga class with me told the owner of the studio where I work that my class was hard.

Like, really hard.

Surprisingly hard.

When she asked why, the response she got may surprise you.

It was the quiet.

The quiet was the hard part.

The doing nothing while laying down with nothing to do was the hard part.

I was taken aback for a minute when she told me and then I remembered my first restorative yoga class.

Picture this: My body was supported in legs up the wall (just like the picture above), I was carefully covered with a soft, clean smelling blanket, my eye pillow rested over my eyes and then BAM!

No joke, within five minutes I truly believed I was going to have to live in the nervous hospital. I was clearly insane. The voices in my head got louder and louder the longer I stayed still.  I kept wondering when the men in the padded van were going to come wrap my clearly crazy self up in a straight jacket and take me out of there.

My mind wouldn’t quit.

The deep dark hidden secrets I successfully avoided by staying busy had finally caught up to me when my body got quiet.

Basically, my mind kicked my ass for an hour and a half while I laid there in the quiet waiting for the padded room dudes to come get me.

Needless to say,  It was quite a workout.

So I get it.

The quiet IS the hard part.

Sometimes I forget that laying down quietly with your body fully supported can be difficult.

I get it.

It clearly happens to us all.

I also get that sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to do hard things that are good for us.

Recently the New York Times published an article about how if you Relax! You’ll Be More Productive that has been widely across social media. I share it here with you because it perfectly illustrates my point about how lying down often, taking naps, taking vacations and breaks from your online world are hard, but totally worthwhile.

This gist of the article is exactly what I’ve said in my classes for years:

The less you do sometimes directly relates to how much more you can do other times.

So this, friends, is my invitation to you. Tuesday nights (and the first Sunday of each month) I teach how to live in the quiet. A nice supportive place to make friends with your inner critics.

Join me? It’s All Yoga in Sacramento, CA. Public and classes are available.

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Have you ever tried restorative yoga? Do you have a regular practice? What’s your experience?

Taking It Easy

I am taking it easy today. Between massive seasonal allergies, a sick kiddo and the promise of rain, I’m calling in the self-care.

How are you taking care of you today?

Image Source: Pinterest

Taking Nonviolence One Step Further

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence, but also internal violence of spirit.  You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

We have been exploring the concept of self-acceptance all month in class and last week I reminded students of the first yama (rule) of yoga- ahimsa or non violence.

When most people think of violence, images of war or fist fighting come to mind, but when it comes down to it listening to your inner critic can also be considered a form of violence.

Wouldn’t life be so much happier if we all stopped hating ourselves and other people and started accepting ourselves and others for who we are?

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Want some tips to get you started on your self-acceptance journey?

Image source: Wikipedia

Inspiration for Self Acceptance Self-Study

definition of self acceptance

This month in class, I’ve been asking students to explore the concept of self-acceptance and have been met with nervous giggles,  sighs of knowing recognition and blank stares. I’m pretty sure most people starting or returning to yoga in January thought we’d be talking about “real” resolutions like losing weight or starting a fitness program and finally sticking to it.

Instead I’ve been asking people (myself included) to practice being ok with what is, right now. Seems simple. Until you try it and are met with various layers of distraction or resistance.

I know these intimately because I’m practicing this too! So today I’ve decided to share my resources for self-study on self-acceptance for this month.

Podcast:     I love a good dharma talk. Recently I’ve discovered Tara Brach, an American Buddhist teacher/author of Radical Self-Acceptance, and I’m inspired. Finding True Refuge is definitely worth a listen.

Do you have any dharma talks that you love? Please let a comment so I can listen too.

Book:    Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary.

Friends, I have been “trying” to read this book for years. Fact: It’s been sitting on my to-read self for years. Basically, I’ve read every other book on every other shelf and avoided this book.

What’s been the resistance? The daily practice part – I’m only now learning to love that learning is a process rather than something you either do or are.

The self-acceptance part. Truth: I felt I didn’t need it. I believed I loved myself. Or at least that’s what I defensively told myself, dammit. And then I got quiet and realized I struggle with feeling good enough. It’s a very quiet, but extremely pervasive voice.

Adding to this crazy is how I absolutely devour all of Rosie’s blog posts and our adoptive mama correspondence. I love her. She has so much wisdom and I have learned so much from her.

So I’ve been soaking up all the daily lessons. This time just reading, but I think this will turn into a journaling practice. Or maybe a series of posts and reader challenges.  There is some damn good stuff in here.

As it turns out, self-acceptance – at least how Rosie defines it – isn’t so scary after all!

Favorite exercises so far include:

Name Your Inner Critic – I’m thinking Blanche.  As in, “For god’s sake Blanche, just shut it all ready.” We’ll see.

Realize That Your Dissatisfaction Is Not About Your Body

Banish “Have You Lost Weight?” From Your Vocabulary — my friend Rebekah wrote about this here.

Have A Comeback

Consider the Time You Have Lost

Quiet Your Critic

Go To Bed Earlier

Schedule Breaks

Are you intrigued? Want to have a book club with Beautiful You? We totally could do one online. Leave me a comment if you are interested.

Blog:     Curvy Yoga is always on my must read list. I love Anna’s list of 15 Books that Shaped My Body Lovin’ Journey.

I highly recommend reading:

Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (really all her books).

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (really all of her books)

A Path With A Heart by Jack Kornfield (my favorite is The Beginner’s Guide to Forgiveness)

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I want to read:

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

Mega Yoga by Megan Garcia

Yoga From the Inside Out by Christina Sell

Do you have any acceptance or yoga books to recommend?

Tell me – how is your resolve to be with what is going?

Image source: Pinterest

A Resolution for Self-Acceptance

reloveution

In preparation for planning my yoga classes for the month of January, I settled in on the notion of resolutions or the need for change. I, myself, have made countless promises to myself to finally get it right this year.

Each New Year, I promise myself and set out to to become the new and improved version of me, one with no more of those pesky flaws I tend to worry about when no one else is paying attention. I suspect they may be too busy running themselves into the ground to worry about me.

As most of us have made resolutions each year and wholeheartedly and with great enthusiasm pursued our freshly flossed teeth, countless miles on the running trail and ingesting everything green in the grocery store, only to burn ourselves out by February and return to our previous state of unflossed teeth, couch/channel surfing and emotionally eating comfort foods because we have once again failed to change ourselves for the “better”.

What if we decided to do it differently this year?

What if we resolved to spend all our enthusiastic January energy into accepting ourselves for how we are, flaws and all?

What would life feel like in February?

In Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, author Rosie Molinary, challenges readers to Accept Your Imperfections  and to “give up the perfection facade and just be who you are.”

This, my friends, is my challenge to you this month. And by you, I mean me.

Can we just practice letting things be as they are and learn to finally accept who we really are?

What are your thoughts or resolutions and self-acceptance? I would love to connect, so please let me a comment.

Also, if you’d like to practice letting things be, I am teaching restorative yoga at It’s All Yoga on Sunday afternoons from 4:30-5:45.

Image source: pinterest

All Together Now….A Long, Steady Exhale

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Michelle wrote an excellent piece about breathing called Epidemic Inhale. Please go read it.

No, really.

Go.

Read.

It.

Ok, while you were there did you follow her directions for a long, slow, steady exhale?

Feels good, doesn’t it?

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This is what yoga is for me now: one giant exhale.

A time and a place to just LET.IT.BE.

Reminders to pause, yawn, and be conscious of my breathing and how my body feels.

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It hasn’t always been this way.

I’m pretty sure most people are thinking I’m making funny shapes with my body when I’m “at yoga” and for a long time that is exactly what I did. The more difficult the class, the better.

I was ‘doing’ yoga, damnit.

But now, I’m focusing on the not doing. Letting things go. Asking myself what my body really needs in this moment.

More often than not, my body is craving rest.

And exhaling.

As a culture we spend so much going, going, going. Always pushing forward and racing from one project, meeting, soccer game to the next.  I am totally do this too. Even as I sit here with seven open tabs on my computer – including three email accounts, Twitter and Facebook.

So I rest.

You can too.

Ready?

All together now:

A long, steady exhale.