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Super Stressed? Be an “Underachiever”

My friend joked with me recently, when I told her about a big project I am working on, “Don’t you think you are being an overachiever?”  I bet that many of us can answer “YES” to that question about some, or maybe even many, areas of our lives. Is this striving habit spilling over into your self-care? Well I say, let’s not let our self-care be yet another area where we tell ourselves we have to do more, better, faster.

I mean doesn’t it sound just a little silly, “I HAVE to take care of myself faster…better…NOW!” I know I’ve rushed at questionably unsafe speeds to get to a meditation and Yoga class, haven’t you? I don’t think that pedestrian would really appreciate if I “killed them with kindness?!?”

So if you want to feel more relaxed and be kinder to yourself in the New Year (and who knows maybe even right now) then why not try being an “Underachiever” and see for yourself what it is like to “slow down” and “chill out” even while you are taking care of yourself. I bet you will start to feel a little (or maybe even a lot) better.

Try it yourself.  3 Ideas to “Underachieve” at self-care:

1.  Instead of rushing to your third meditation or yoga class in a week, replace one with a 20-40 minute home practice. Then you can use the rest of the time to relax with a magazine, listen to a radio show you enjoy or call a friend you really like talking to.

2. Instead of pushing through the day to cram in an hour of “serious” exercise, let the day unfold at it’s own natural (and manageable) pace and take a short and brisk walk in the starlight at the end of the day.

3. Take a moment right now to tune into you own wisdom and ask yourself, “What do I really need right now?  What would help me feel balanced and centered?” Once you get your answer, you can make time for it, in an easy, relaxed way.

p.s. remember we’re experimenting with being Underachievers, so don’t overdo it.

Rebekkah LaDyne is based in the San Francisco Bay Area where she teaches Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga.

She teaches group class, individual sessions and retreats. She has published 2 Instructional Yoga and Mindfulness CDs for home practice.

3 quick ideas for staying centered during the holidays and New Year’s.

Many of us feel stressed during the holidays. We feel family pressure, social pressure, stress about gifts, stress about resolutions…

Just last week, while at a holiday gathering I felt the familiar feeling of what I call “leaving yourself” this is when my inner critic has taken over and I am more concerned with what others think of me then what I think of myself or even more importantly feel about myself.  Here are a few tips for what I call “returning to yourself”.  I have used them for years and I used them that evening last week and they work!

1. Is the conversation inside your head is louder then the conversation outside your head.  If it is, take a “time out”, a few minutes break from the conversation to regroup. To get a “time out” you can excuse yourself to (whether it is your home or not) go check something in the oven, to the bathroom, to do a few dishes, to get something from the garage. During this time out take a few deep breaths, feel your feet on the floor or your hands on whatever they might be touching, soapy water, the door of the oven, a box in the garage. This will keep you in the moment instead of in your head with that loud conversation that usually only has critical things to say.

2. Appreciation inside and out.  Appreciation feels good to give and to receive.  And it is very important you give it TO YOURSELF as well as others. Try this out; Each time you extend appreciation to someone else take a quick moment to inwardly extend it to yourself too.  Is can be for something small or large don’t get stumped looking for something big enough or important enough to appreciate.  It can be as simple as appreciating yourself for making breakfast for your family, for showing up positively to your last meeting, for emailing your group of friends or family with an idea for your next gathering.

3. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe.  When you feel scattered, anxious or overwhelmed just pause for a moment. Take a small break from whatever you are doing and just deeply breathe.  Remind your adrenal glands that they can slow down…. Let yourself be still for 30 seconds and I think you will feel different afterward.

Remember these practices are SIMPLE but NOT EASY! It takes time to develop the “muscles” of self kindness. But it is worth the effort!

Good luck!

Rebekkah LaDyne is based in the San Francisco Bay Area where […]

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