Lifestyle Changes: Walking, Yoga for Anxiety and Prayer & Meditation Time
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Over the last several months I've felt super worn down and very anxious.
From emotional stress, to operating two small businesses, to working full time... to having adult responsibilities (generally speaking), my body and mind have felt super overwhelmed.
For as long as I can remember, I've pushed myself to my limits. Although my "higher" self (so-to-speak) knows better than to do this, my old survival skills sometimes take over and I can find myself in a routine that is not manageable or reasonable.
I noticed myself leaning on these old survival skills whenever I felt myself becoming stressed and anxious about the parts of my daily routine that I actually enjoy and need -- working out became a burden and writing became impossible. That's when I knew I had to make some changes... and quick.
Most of the time to warm up for a workout, I'll jump rope for 15 minutes to Playboi Carti radio on Pandora. (#DieLit) That's one of my favorite stations to listen to for a workout, or to get hype in general.
However if I notice myself feeling like the warm up is too much, or if I feel like the radio station amplifies my anxiety -- I know that I need to take a step back and reevaluate what's happening in my brain.
In order to make a healthy change, I decided to start going on walks again (around 3 miles). Walks are super calming for me and allow me time to relax; however, I love them because they feel nostalgic.
In college, my best friend KP and I would go on long walks when we had a day off from softball practice. It was a great way to stay active and let our bodies rest, while also doing something that was enjoyable and calming. We we laugh, talk about life, make jokes... maybe even do a few covert operations. #DontJudgeUs
Whenever I know I need to recenter myself, I have to bring myself back to an emotional space that is grounded in love. Most of the time, our strongest emotional memories are tied to a physical one as well. The action of doing something and feeling something can be so strong that it can help bring you back to a place of peace.
Obviously this can be used in both healthy and unhealthy ways, but if we're able to tap in to the healthy emotional spaces and actions we can help recenter ourselves.
Yoga for Anxiety
My anxiety can manifest itself with very psychical symptoms - my joints can get really swollen and start hurting, my chest can ache, I will get more frequent headaches and I won't be able to rest well or sleep at all.
When all of these things start happening at once, I know it's time to get my life together and doing -- sometimes that means calling my therapist (which I did) and sometimes it means I need to add another physical activity in that isn't harsh on my body.
What was the result? Yoga for anxiety.
Admittedly, I haven't done yoga consistently in yearsssss -- my trainer during the summers, Mr. Chris (he's an AMAZING human), would make me do yoga once a week to improve my flexibility and balance so I could be faster. I hated every moment of it because I have never been flexible and it was so, so difficult.
However a few years back I was super stressed and knew I needed to stretch and release tension from my joints and muscles. I went on the prowl and found I found an amazing YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene.
Adreiene has a range of yoga practices that can help beginners to even the most advanced practitioners. My favorite of all her videos are the simple, 30-minute yoga routines that help alleviate stress and anxiety. She provides a few different breathing methods and gently guides you through poses and stretches that truly open up your body and mind.
I have started doing these again in the comfort of my own home. This time has truly helped my body feel better, but really given my brain a space to not think... (partly because I'm only thinking of the physical pain that comes from my inflexibility).
I've also started implementing yoga for bed -- it's a 12-minutes video that combines simple stretching and breathing to help prepare your body and mind for a good night's rest. Between these two practices, my body and brain definitely feel lighter.