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Do More By Learning To Slow Down

Life can be stressful and challenging even when things are going great. With living in a society of constant go-go-go mentality, and thinking that we have to do more to accomplish more, it's easy to see why we get burnt out, suffer from anxiety and feel like we always have to be doing something. After all, we've been raised to believe that if we want more, we need to do more.

But we know that doing more doesn't necessarily always result in having more. #realtalk, we've all had those moments of burnout after consistently over doing it. So—for just a moment—let's ditch the 'do more, get more' mentality and talk about what we can do to avoid burnout, anxiety and that constant feeling of exhaustion.

The answer may be simpler than we realize.

Unplug. Yes, simply—unplug.

Unplug from our screens, the news, chores, the to-do lists, work, etc. This form of self-care isn't just important, it's critical. In the same way that our phones need to be recharged frequently in order to function at their optimal levels, we need to do the same for ourselves. If we do not do this consistently, the result is often burnout, a compromised immune system, and illness.

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you." —Anne Lamott

The short lesson to be learned? Make it a point to take time for yourself to stop, slow down, do nothing, and just be. Step outside and get some fresh air. Listen to music that makes you feel good. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Read a good book {or turn on an audio book}. Enjoy a hot bath with lavender. Meditate. Or maybe just close your eyes and just listen to your breath for 5 minutes. As long as you're taking a break, and a step back from reality, and allowing yourself to do nothing {yes, nothing}, you're doing something for you and you're practicing self-care.

The more often we practice this form of self-care we're teaching our nervous system to tell our body and mind that we're safe. We're turning on our relaxation response and allowing ourselves to go into rest and digest mode {hello, parasympathetic nervous system}. The more consistently we do this, the more we are able to be mindful of our triggers: the things put stress on the body and mind that that result in fatigue, anxiety, burnout, etc.

Even though we can't always control what happens to us, we can control our reactions. The practice of doing less, even in small doses, helps us establish a baseline and sense of calm for our nervous system to easily return to when stress hits. So even if it's starting with just 5 minutes a day, consistently commit to those 5 minutes. Even in small doses, you will begin to see results quicker than if you wait until you have longer periods of time to commit to.

"Remember, less really is more."

What would your life be like if you took more time to rest? To do less? To just be? To do nothing? Go ahead and pause and take a moment to think about it. Give yourself permission to close your eyes for even 60 seconds and think about this or maybe set a 5 minute timer and write it down.

Less busyness, less go-go-go, and simply doing less leads to more love, more effectiveness, more internal calmness and a greater ability to accomplish more of what matters most — to us, and by extension, to others and the world. In a world that doesn't allow us to slow down we can either choose to slow down now or we can be told to slow down later when illness, disease, or injury happens.

“We all need a few minutes a day to disconnect, settle into ourselves, and rest in silence.”Judith Lasater

One radical act of self-care that aligns with the concept of slowing down and doing less to accomplish more is Restorative Yoga. By incorporating more restoration into your routine, you are able to keep the nervous system in check. It's a commitment to being present instead of running away from distractions or sensations that are less than pleasant.

When you commit to being present, you're able to transform in unimaginable ways. For example, without even working out the muscles, you develop strength you didn't know you had, flexibility that is unimaginable, and even relief from pain and stiffness. You may feel more empowered, rejuvenated, and overall just calm. And, because there is a strong mind-body connection in a restorative practice, this form of conscious relaxation infuses us with a unique ability to go about our everyday life with lightness.

So how do I do Restorative Yoga? It's as simple as grabbing some props, getting into comfortable supported shapes, taking some long and slow deep breaths, and allowing yourself to just be. While the amount of time it takes to activate the parasympathetic nervous system will vary person to person, and even day to day, aim to stay in each shape for at least 3 minutes (over time working your way up to 15 minutes). Ensure these 4 key principles are present:

  1. The body is still by using props for support

  2. Practice in darkness or use an eye pillow

  3. Find a quiet space that is free from distractions

  4. Keep the body comfortably warm by wearing socks, a sweater, or cover with blankets

Feel impossible? We get it. Too often, our hectic day to day life and busy schedules hijack our ability to do this effectively. Whether you are a mama at home with the kiddos, in the workforce where you're unable to escape the office environment, or you're constantly running from one meeting to the next. Taking this time to relax is exactly what we need to restore ourselves and to maintain optimal health so that we can experience less stress and more enjoyment — even though our pace of life doesn't slow.

Ready to learn more? If simply grabbing some props and 'just doing it' doesn't feel like your jam, or maybe you're having a hard time connecting to this practice on your own, we invite you to join us in the studio to learn how to introduce this stillness into your routine.

We have three different Restorative Yoga programs, all suitable for all levels—both beginners, seasoned practitioners and even teachers.

"When you calm the mind, relax the body, and release tension, you are creating powerful energy."

If there's anything you can takeaway from this read, try to remember that life is not about racking up a list of accomplishments. What can you stop doing to make more time for yourself, make more time for joy, and use your time more meaningfully?

The next time you set a goal or decide you want to improve upon an area of your life — or simply make a change in that area — remember to go for subtraction instead of addition. Soak in the joy of slowing down, doing less and even doing nothing. Simply, unplug.

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