I am co-producing a rather large dining event coinciding with the Olympics (Global Feast 2012 – do come, it’s going to be amazing!), but this means I am pulling 12 hour days, working weekends, and missing my all important yoga practice as I haven’t got the physical or mental energy to do anything at the end of a long day.
I have to admit this is not my preferred mode of operating. Working at this intensity without a physical or psychological break for long periods of time is damaging and I can feel my stress levels consistently rising.
But even though I haven’t been able to make it to class for a couple of weeks, the yogi in me is managing to sneak moments of stillness into even the craziest of my days. Some days, like today, I have managed a 10 or 15 minute meditation in a sunny spot in my living room before the madness of the day begin. On these days I can feel a palpable difference in my mood and am usually able to surf the stressess of the day better.
Stop, breathe and refocus is my mantra. With just too much to do and a never ending list of priorities all competing for my time and all equally important, stopping and reprioritising every hour has been essential. When we are tired, we can make bad decisions – ploughing along a path that is not the best use of our precious time. My advice? Get up out of your chair. Go make a cup of green tea. Move. Breathe. Refocus.
When we are working at capacity, the body gets forgotten. We sit immobile for hours at the desk bashing away at the keys. Even as I type this I can feel my shoulders creeping up towards my ears. Listen to your body. Relax your shoulders by pulling your shoulder blades down your back. Refresh your brain by relaxing into Uttanasana (standing forward bend) while you are waiting for the kettle to boil. Do some head and neck stretches while on the loo. Have your team meetings standing up. Try building small movements into the busiest of days to keep the burnout at bay.
Ah. Savasana. Corpse pose. The lying on the floor bit at the end of class – legs wide, palms facing up, chin gently tucked in. Surrendering to the floor. You can literally get on the floor and just let go, even a few minutes (perhaps one for the home office!). Or just make an intentional physical and mental break, after working intensely.
At the end of a stressful day (especially if you have a headache), spend 15 minutes in Savasana and allow your systems to undergo a total reset. You should feel totally refreshed and restored afterwards.
1. Get two blankets, a scarf, a couple of cushions, and, put your socks on.
2. Place one folded blanket under your head, the cushions under your knees, and cover yourself up with the other blanket. Use the scarf to cover your eyes.
3. Set a gentle non-invasive timer, and feel yourself surrender to the floor.
[image with thanks to lululemon athletica via CC]