Sometimes our lives feel crowded, don’t they? The funny (or not so funny) thing is that we make our lives this way. We’re crowding ourselves.
We can play the technology card—absolutely. We’re always on, plugged in, and this is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
For most of us, this is an occupational hazard. But if you’re a writer like yours truly, the screen time is that much worse. And when we’re glued to screens during our free time? By that point, screens have pretty much taken over our lives.
“We never really choose to live reactively. Instead, it just kind of happens. A little bit, every day. Until, one day, we wake up and realize, “my life is not my own.” Think about it. Did you choose, I will begin checking my email first thing before I get out of bed, and then respond to what everyone else says is important today?” – Jonathan Fields
Over the past two years, I started receiving strange compliments about my posture. Thanks to ballet and yoga, I tend to sit without resting my back against chairs so I’m straight as board.
Side story…my fabulous posture almost cost me my driver’s license test when I was sixteen, because the DMV guy thought I was terrified. He made me pull over, then gave me a pep talk to calm me down, or else he was going to fail me—yep, for my posture.
I explained to him that I did ballet, but he didn’t believe me. So I had to slouch uncomfortably for the remainder of the test, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I’m not really sure how I passed my driving test like that, but I did.
Anyway, now good posture is this crazy awesome sight to people. Because sadly, we have become a hunchback society that’s missing the world around us.
I’m really no different. I do plenty of yoga, foam rolling, and massage to try and fight it, but I have the same complaints as any fellow sitting addict. Headaches, eye strain (I highly recommend eye palming!), neck and upper back knots for days.
In the end we’re certainly not being forced to live this way, but we are being encouraged to. So it’s absolutely up to us to make a commitment to ourselves. And one of the best ways to do that is fine-tuning how we start and end each day.
It wasn’t until about six months ago that I got pretty good at this. The twenty or so years before that when I was a stubborn night owl, I was doing it wrong—I hated mornings, slept as late as possible, and rushed into my day.
I was late and stressed until the afternoon, and then like clockwork, I felt sluggish. It was a vicious cycle, and I wasn’t living the best life I knew I could live.
As life got busier and busier, I realized there were two parts of each day that were mine and nobody else’s…morning and night. So, I stopped sleeping. (Kidding!)
But I did create a routine where I started and ended each day the same way. On my yoga mat.
Sometimes it’s only five minutes, sometimes it’s an hour. There are days I meditate or practice yoga, and others where I just lay on my yoga mat and stare at the ceiling, or do some gentle stretches to music.
If I feel especially overwhelmed or exhausted, I just take child’s pose, press my forehead to the ground, and thank myself for being alive.
There are the simple pleasures that get me too. I love the sound my mat makes as it rolls open and slaps the floor. I love the comforting feel of the squishy rubber beneath my tired feet. I love the way it reminds me of being a kid, when I used to pretend a towel or couch cushion was a magic carpet that whisked me away.
My yoga mat is the one place I can just be.
Because it’s early enough, my inbox doesn’t matter. And when it’s late enough, the online chatter and screen light finally die down.
How we start and end each day is pretty critical. If you strip it down, it’s the precious time that surrounds our sleep—morning sets the tone and night sings the lullaby.
If you’re feeling off-balance, like you need more down-time in your life, I recommend checking out how you’re starting and ending each day. It may look very different for you—maybe the magic carpet yoga mat story just didn’t do it for you. Whatever it is that grounds you, building this healthy habit can really change your outlook, like it did for me.
How do you start and end each day? Share your me-time habits, or how you want to improve them!