*Originally printed in the Winter Issue of Resilientista Magazine.
Have you ever just pushed yourself to the point of breaking? Mentally, emotionally, physically? You know those times I am referencing…too many deadlines to keep, too many responsibilities accumulating, too many people who need you. We tend to build up momentum getting things done that we forget to stop and take the breaks we need.
When I was a student-athlete in college, we had a saying that we used as inspiration on the swim team: Happy Horses. The philosophy behind it was this: A rested horse is a happy horse. And a happy horse is a fast horse. Here is the message: If you want to be the most effective and productive version of yourself, you must be properly rested. All too often, we get so caught up in the daily grind that we quite literally forget the importance of resting our bodies and our minds.
Yes, most of us go to bed at night and close our eyes and drift off to sleep. This is essential to proper functioning of the human body. But I would venture to guess that there are too many of us who never properly rest our minds. The human psyche can get just as exhausted as the body. While the body will manifest exhaustion in physical illness that is easy to recognize and will force us into a state of rest, the psyche can often be pushed too far. And when the psyche runs on overdrive for too long, a crash is inevitable.
So what can you do to avoid that mental crash? Here are some tips that have worked really well for me over the years when I start feeling overwhelmed, when my thought process gets jumbled and unfocused, when my stress and irritability hit levels that are too uncomfortable. Those times when I feel like I am going to snap, crash, and possibly never rebound, I take some much needed time for myself, alone, to clear my head. The following activities can be done in increments of a few short minutes up to hours depending on what you need at that moment. These may seem obvious, but remember that they are available to anyone at any time, no scheduling involved and no money needed.
5 Tips for Slowing Down to Avoid the Crash
1. Take a relaxing bath or shower. With the door closed. Play your favorite Pandora station to tune out any other activity in or around your home (kids, spouses, pets, neighbors). Water has incredible healing and cleansing powers not just for the body, but also for the mind.
2. Take a nap. Right in the middle of the day. In your bed. With the door shut and the curtains drawn. With strict stipulations that you are not to be disturbed for a set period of time. And if you are unable to fall asleep, close your eyes, clear your mind, and pretend.
3. Go for a walk. In the fresh air. Around the block. In the park. Somewhere peaceful to clear your head. Focus on your breathing. Fresh air and breath control work wonders.
4. Meditate. Find a comfortable place to sit down and be present with yourself. Clear your mind for a few minutes by closing your eyes and focusing on the sounds around you. It is amazing all the things you can hear when you stop and listen. It is even more amazing how this activity can erase all the noise from your mind.
5. Go for a drive. Alone. Blast your music and sing along like nobody is listening and nobody cares. Sing for your life and let the curative effects of music wash away the stress.
With the chaos of the holidays just coming to an end, I hope you have found ways to maintain your inner calm and avoid the crash. Remember the importance of caring not only for your body, but for your mind as well. The two are quite dependent on each other. Happy Horses.
Slowing down on the edge,
Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.
Photography by Sarissa Melissa Photography.
Be sure to check out the Winter Issue of Resilientista Magazine for many more helpful tips on living your best life. If you would like to receive each new publication of the magazine directly in your email, you can subscribe right here.