The most common words I hear lately are “there’s not enough time”.
Not enough time to eat healthily and drink enough water (I have frequently been guilty of this)
Not enough time to have quality time with friends and family
Not enough time to take time out for self care
So where, I wonder, does all this time go? Where do the 24 hours each and every day disappear into? What black hole is swallowing up the time that we so need in order to live whole, complete, balanced, happy and healthy lives?
The daily grind is often the first answer that pops up - although, as well as providing lucre to live by, hopefully our work also to some degree challenges and fulfils parts of us. If we are left feeling nothing but drained, perhaps we need to look elsewhere. Any relationship needs to give back, and I’ve said repeatedly in my yoga classes that if a yoga pose, job or relationship continuously causes sharp pain, we need to either modify it, breathe into it, or GET OUT or if the former two don’t alleviate that pain.
There are times that looking after ourselves can feel though like one more thing to add to the never-ending things to do list. However, if we don’t, much like refilling your car with petrol, our tummies with food, eventually, the energy in the tank gets used up, and leads to engine failure in some way, shape or form. Eventually the body - the physical body, the energy body, the emotional body, manifests its discomfort, its dis-ease with disease. We feel stretched, in pain, low, and then the hike back up to a state of wellbeing can take longer.
I often go a full day of teaching, running from client to class to class, to picking up children, running errands, making dinner, doing homework and then out to teach another class… and then my head starts spinning and I remember that I’ve barely eaten and certainly haven’t drunk enough liquids. I used to wake up each morning and do an hour’s practice, but lately recognise that I need to sit in stillness - hardly surprising with all the running around - and I’ve settled into meditation instead before a shorter asana practice.
Our bodies know what we need, whether it’s nourishment or replenishment of other kinds. It can take years however to get to know the subtleties of what is going on internally, especially for women, when our hormones dip and dive according to our cycle, and we are even more affected by the vagaries of the moon.
Our modern world is filled with messages, gadgets and apps that encourage us to do more, be more, harnessing more of our energy, and occasionally making us conversely feel less than. I was recently introduced to Bellabeat, a beautiful fitness tracking accessory brand, and having eschewed many similar things, somehow something about this captured me and resonated.
Delicately designed and very feminine and subtle, I have been using and wearing the Urban Leaf and Leaf Chakra pieces daily, either on a silver necklace, or more often than not, clipped to the waistband of my leggings or on my top. The app is a gentle reminder to me of how much water I’ve drunk (could be better), how much activity I’ve done (lots!), how long and how well I’ve slept (not bad actually), meditation time (also offering guided meditations to listen to), and even where I am in my cycle. An algorithm tracks sensitivity to stress based on a combination of those factors, which I find fascinating to see how they all combine to contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing. My water intake has increased thanks to being held accountable, but mainly, I feel gently encouraged, and not bullied into burning calories. Encouraged to take time for meditation, and to acknowledge that my cycle has an effect on my stress levels, and that’s ok.
And fundamentally, that’s the thing - to be gently reminded that by making little shifts in our lives, we will be ok.
By understanding how vital self-care is, by looking after this vessel from the outside in and inside out, we can relate so much more calmly with the world, and truly feel that we are not just caring for ourselves, but loving ourselves.
Disclaimer - I am not compensated for you purchasing Bellabeat or visiting their website. I was given a Leaf Chakra to try, and am sharing my opinions and thoughts with you. I would never discuss a product in this space if I did not genuinely find benefit and want to share that with you.