This morning as I was woken at 6am by Bonnie I felt tired. But, I also felt happy that last night she was up JUST ONCE! Oh my gosh……
It got me to thinking in depth about my rollercoaster of the last few months, and how for me personally, an ongoing lack of sleep has a big impact. I know that some people can survive on just a few hours per night but I am definitely not one of those people! and more than that, I want to THRIVE, not merely survive.
Looking back to my darkest two months earlier this year where I was gripped by some horribly intense and debilitating feelings, I do believe that this was brought on and exacerbated by doing too much, too soon, on not very much rest. Physically and mentally I was exhausted and that meant I was more susceptible to feelings of depression and anxiety.
In my lifetime, these feelings have reared their head before, so I am obviously susceptible, so for me its imperative I do all I can to keep a clear, focused and peaceful head and heart.
This weekend, I had a funny few days where I started to overthink, over-anayalyse and get bogged down in the tiny details of Bonnies day…looking for clues and thinking WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP HER SLEEP? As a mum I think that this is natural, I know we all do it, but it just didn’t help me at all because instead of finding peace and solutions I got caught up in spiralling thoughts that left me feeling really quiet anxious. And the more I speak openly to friends, fellow teachers and our lovely Poddingtons, the more I realise that these types of feelings affect so many of us. I think partly it’s down to modern, high speed lives where we feel that we need to do more, be more. But also it’s because we probably don’t put ourselves first, or even put ourselves in our top 5.
Travelling to teach on Monday I was gripped by fear, anxiety and tears. How would I be able to guide all of these lovely people through their yoga? I doubted myself. Because I was so so tired.
As soon as I arrived I felt calmer, and slowly those feelings passed. Just as I knew they would. Because those feelings ARE NOT ME. Just as they are NOT YOU. They will always pass….
But in the meantime, what is my checklist? What are the things that I do for myself to show myself that I care and to protect myself from feeling anxious if my little sleep thief has me up at night?
- Meditation…..meditation….meditation. Laying down in the Pod on Monday before teaching, as soon as I closed my eyes and took a deep slow breath in, and a deep slow breath out, breathing deeply into my diaphragm and belly I felt peace.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
- YOGA!!! Always yoga. But not just any yoga. For me it must match my mood, and often if I am feeling tired or a little like I COULD feel anxious I need something powerful and empowering, to remind myself that I am strong and capable. Hell to the YEAH!!! And more often than not this is the form most of my classes take because I want to help people see that they are so much stronger than they think…..to come closer to self-realisation. And I will often couple this with some energising HIIT, usually with my trusty Kettlebell 🙂
- Hydration and nourishment. Eating well, and eating ENOUGH. Water with salts to help me rehydrate and remineralise; green smoothies; FATS!!!! Lots of good omega 3 rich foods to help me to feel calm and feed my brain. At the moment I am using flax oil lots as well as chia seeds and walnuts.
- LOOKING UP!!! The next time you feel low or anxious try this – it is so simple but so effective. Just getting outside and looking UP at the sky has the effect of not only making me feel connected to the wider world and therefore not so caught up in my own head, bit its slap the begging of a back been. Raising our gaze can have the same affects of opening the front of the body – that part we unknowingly protect and hold in. RELEASING it feels amazing! It helps me to LET THAT SHIT GO!
- Practising Gratitude. This was my focus a lot in my meditation earlier this year and now I have cues built into my day – gratitude reminders. Whenever I hear a plane fly overhead that is my reminder to stop, look around and feel grateful.
Generally, I think that mainly for me its to remember that these feelings WILL PASS. Often very quickly. So I try to not get caught up in my own head. I remind myself that one day soon sleep will return to me as Bonnie get’s older and eats more, and then I will finally, MAYBE, be a fully coherent human being once again 😉
We are not alone people 🙂