I recently took a 6 day Yin Yoga teacher training and while I am completely in love with the material, 6 full days of any kind of education is, well… a lot of days of education.
The change in routine in addition to being in a room for 8 hours a day with people I didn’t know, cramming a ton of brand new information into my brain was challenging, to say the least.
Right after we would do our final mediation of the day (yes-we meditated twice a day and it was glorious!!) our instructor would remind us to go home and be gentle with ourselves.
Those words are so sweet, aren’t they? Ahhhhhh. Go home and be gentle with yourself.
What do you picture when you hear that?
Changing in to your favorite jammies, opening up a bottle of wine and binge watching your favorite series while you eat take out from the container sounds pretty gentle, right?
While it sounds pretty dreamy and low stress, treating yourself to that form of self care is actually backfiring and creating more stress in your already stressed out body not only in the moment but also in the days to come.
It’s like you are pre-loading stress and here’s why:
1. Ordering take out is like giving your body the green light to over eat. When life is more stressful than usual, your body is *digesting* new information and new situations and the best way to be gentle with yourself now is to give your body highly nutritious foods and maybe even less food than usual because your body is already in overdrive trying to digest the new, stressful situation and you’ll most likely feel bloated and crappy in the morning from eating too much. And that alone, is stressful!
2. Numbing out in front of the tv or computer actually adds more stress to an already stressful situation in a few ways: you’re asking your brain to continue taking in and processing a lot of information, sights and sounds, when it is already overworked and that time your spending binge watching your favorite show is taking away from what your brain really needs, sleep, leaving you tired the next day. Stressful!
3. Alcohol has a reputation for relaxing you and that may be true if you keep it to one glass but any more than that and you are signing up for a crappy night’s sleep and brain fog. Stressful!
What’s the most gentle way you can care for yourself during times of stress?
Everything in moderation.
- Eat small a, healthy meal (Notice I didn’t say cook small healthy meals? 🙂 ) and enjoy a few bites of chocolate or your favorite treat for dessert.
- Limit your time in front of the tv or better yet, enjoy quiet time at the end of the day. Read, take a walk, take a bath, listen to soothing music, or meditate.
- Enjoy one glass of wine with dinner(not two) or a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea before bed.
Most of us have grown up feeling like when we are under stress, we’ve *earned* some extra indulgences but the most soothing, beneficial form of self care we can do is adopt moderation in times of stress.
Remember, your body and mind are already being taxed more than usual so adding a lot of anything – even if it seems enjoyable, will be counter productive to relaxation.
What are some of your favorite ways to de-stress? I’d love to know! Pop them into the comments below. (did you notice that I just rhymed? Totally didn’t mean to but I kinda like it so it’s gonna stay.)