Sometimes I can be the type of person to bounce from thing to thing without feeling frazzled. Sometimes I pride myself on my ability to flow from one obligation to another. Lately, that hasn’t been the case. I don’t fault my job or my family or my circumstances, I fault myself for not slowing down more often. For letting my mind think too far ahead, worrying, planning and imagining all the possible scenarios. Part of me wishes for a slower paced life and part of me wishes for the energy and mental space to handle it all without missing emails or putting off important projects at home. Having long-distance family and working on a new home has occupied a lot of my brain this summer. Occasionally, all you can do is ride the wave of insanity and clean up the pieces later.
But, when I can, here is what I do to maintain sanity when life gets crazy:
1. Morning Sun Salutations
Normally, I don’t have time for a full yoga practice in the morning before work. This used to prevent me from practicing at all in the morning. But I’ve learned that I don’t have to be so serious about my practice. A few minutes of few sweeping sun salutations instantly puts me in a better mood. If I’ve got a few minutes more, I’ll use it to meditate. Depending on the morning, at least one of these makes me feel like I can conquer my to-do list and take on the day ahead.
Ending or starting my day, preferably both, with a book always feels indulgent. Creating space to get away and live in the world of a novel is the perfect little escape. Or, if I’m reading something more contemplative, I will always take some notes in my journal which never fails to make me feel grounded. Carving out little moments to collect pages under my bookmark or take down some juicy nuggets from Eckhart Tolle or the like, always makes me feel more me.
3. Meal prep
This is hard for me, which is why it’s an important one! I like to call myself an assembler, not so much a cook. When I do cook, it’s a day-long extravaganza, which isn’t very realistic during most work weeks. In a typical week, taking a few minutes to plan some meals before hitting the grocery store means that I don’t just stare at my fridge in confusion. Even just ensuring that I have salad ingredients + protein or canned beans + tortilla means that I don’t just give up and walk down the street to one of the many all too accessible, and delicious, restaurants my ‘hood has to offer.
Sometimes a little sweat session is all it takes to jostle my brain back into organized thinking. On a busy day or a morning where it’s hard to wake the hell up, forcing myself to put on my sneaks and slog (slow jog) around my neighborhood is all it takes to make me feel better. There are tons of studies that prove exercise contributes to happiness and improved sleep, and I can tell you from experience – it’s crucial!
If I can cram all of these into one day, I am a seriously happy camper. As I’ve mentioned before, routine is hard for me but I’m making progress, and it’s helping me be a more organized person, mentally and physically!