When you’re overloaded, over stretched and in need of a rescue, put the “I” back in priority. The key to coming back healthier from burnout is making “me” time a priority. Whether that’s by totally unplugging on a yoga retreat, or scheduling regular self care time – take care of you and work to find balance in your life.
While a week in yoga paradise isn’t always the stress magic bullet, it was the wake up call I needed to make my wellness a priority.
There is a fine line between being a high achieving rock star, and falling into a stress fueled spiral. While we try to balance on this tightrope, we often find ourselves fallen on the wrong side.
Think it is just you? It’s not, we are facing a stress epidemic!
Work days bleed into personal time. Over burdened schedules, that constantly evolve, can leave us feeling out of control. It’s no surprise that the demands of a 24/7 workplace can lead to high stress levels.
High stress isn’t just mentally and emotionally taxing, it is hazardous for your health.
There are too many studies to count on the dangerous effects of chronic stress.
Stress levels continue to rise, with more than 8 in 10 employed Americans reporting they are “stressed out on the job amid heavier workloads and low pay.”
With the gender wage gap contributing to significantly higher levels of reported stress in women.
There is no question that Western, and especially American, culture is suffering at the hand of stress.
Think being on 24/7 is making you a more productive, successful individual? Think again!
So how do we cure the stress epidemic in Western, and especially American society?
Well that’s a question I couldn’t do justice in a dozen research dissertations. But as a person continually striving to align my Type A achievement oriented-ness with the need to find balance and peace, I’ve shared some of my favorite self care practices.
Only you can find the right balance of achievement and self care; of drive and ease.
Once you’ve defined your self care necessities, make them a priority. Commit to making time for yourself, to setting boundaries and expectations, for yourself and others!
Some of us are better able to make micro shifts within our lives, and set aside regular mini “me time” sessions.
Others, aka me…need a big change to pull us out of the depths of burnout.
And so with 3 weeks notice I booked myself a flight to Tulum, unplugged and stepped into the unknown of my first yoga retreat.
I’ll not get into the reactions and worries of those around me. I can still hear my mom, boyfriend and boss saying: “You’re going to Mexico for a week, by yourself?! And your not answering emails!”
I both relished the thrill of being totally “unplugged” and was anxious to go into something I couldn’t prepare or create expectations for.
It took a little adjusting being so disconnected from my world, and my responsibilities, back home. But it was absolutely freeing having no one to answer to, no responsibilities. I didn’t even have to keep track of things like keys and shoes! 5 days floating between the beautiful beach at Amansala and the mystical yoga experience of Yoga Adventures Worldwide.
Christina Thomas, the curator of this magical yoga adventure, gave me a taste of the peace, joy and freedom that comes with letting go of expectation and simply enjoying the journey.
I could create no expectations for these 5 days in paradise that would have come close to the experience that unfolded.
Having no expectations…of yourself, your experience or others – it is a powerful thing.
The internal reflection and meditative properties of the retreat not withstanding, simply having the opportunity for unstructured time to yourself. That was what I truly needed. And I made what I know will be lifelong friends in the process. Communing with people on a parallel, but different, journey towards self love and self care.
Christina, the tremendous woman behind Yoga Adventures Worldwide, is not your typical yoga mat toting (though she does that), blissed out beach babe.
After 10 years in New York’s prestigious interior design world, the Universe gave her the nudge she needed to take a break from the high stress city life, and build a new life full of promise and adventure.
Not only was Christina a blast to get to know, but she offers some sage advice:
“Setting up boundaries and saying ‘no’ is key to maintaining some of your precious energy for you. In our plan-every-moment lives it becomes nearly impossible to get quiet and listen to what it is your body and mind really want. When you can stay in the flow of life instead of rushing from one appointment to the next you find that an incredible world of ‘serendipity’ is laid out at your feet. It’s all about Trust. Trusting yourself, your inner voice, trusting that the right things are happening and falling into place…and having the patience and perseverance to see it through.”
A yoga retreat, no matter how magical, isn’t a cure all for this stress epidemic.
But it can teach you some powerful tools and help set you up on the path towards balance.
What I’ve come to realize though, is that balance like purpose, fulfillment or peace, isn’t a destination but a continual practice.
Balance, the antithesis of stress, is found in the journey of practicing self care.
It is a commitment to self.
How are you committing to self today, this week, this month and this year? Please share with me how you are working to find a little more balance in your life!