I had two meditation sessions this past week where I found myself falling asleep. One was with work, so an actual 45minute to an hour long session, Thursday evening, and the other one was a 15minute app guided session just a few hours ago. Why this is concerning? Because your body is telling you, You actually need to sleep! So before I head to bed on this rainy Sunday.. I wanted to share some of my self care rituals with you which I practiced pre-marathon, but also post-marathon and yes, even now as I have two big weeks coming up at work! For everyone who is running the NYC Marathon in less than a week and everyone else who is trying to incorporate more self care rituals, read on:
1. Meditation + stillness practice: find what suits you best. It could be checking out an app for your phone, like Headspace or Whil, or visiting a studio such as Inscape or MNDFL here in New York, or even taking part in a 3-4 day meditation training with Thom Knoles, a full on 10 day-Vipassana retreat or being part of our Districtvision programs to kick off your mindfulness practice.
Whatever it is that you choose, try to practice daily. The above tools and trainings can help kick start your journey but you have to be willing to practice on your own as well. Similar to running, consistency is key and the effects on your overall mood and energy will show! I promise! You might even get better at running..
2. Slowing down + breathing exercises: my entrance into mindfulness was picking up a book by Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh when I was 14 and since then, I've been learning to be more aware and mindful about my actions.
Give yourself a tech break and go for a walk. Don't even take a camera with you. Solely focus on the act of eating is a way to be fully present, too. No phone, no newspaper, no lunch date, just sit and chew. I also like to take the time to make some tea and really enjoy it in the morning hours. Whenever I find my heart racing, my mood dropping, my breathing speeding up, I give myself permission to drop everything around me, step outside and check in with myself. You will also find me in the kitchen looking outside the window to slow down. Yoga has also tremendously helped me to be more aware and practice my breathing. Dwelling, the act of just being doesn't happen too often nowadays so make an effort to really incorporate this act of 'slowing down' into your life and morning / evening routines to connect with yourself on a daily basis.
3. Rolling out + massages: your body your temple. I like to massage my body with body oils, especially the organic ones from Dr. Hauschka or with my new addition the Arnica oil from Weleda, after every shower I take. It's nice to connect with our bodies differently and our feet and legs need it the most when we're adding more and more mileage to our training. Rolling out has helped to prevent me from injuries, too even though it hurts a lot, but we should be doing it every single day.
4. Creative work + stimulation: it can be anything. Drawing, writing, cooking, reading, visiting the theatre, playing music, singing, dancing, crafting, building something with your hands, taking pictures, volunteering, interacting with children, learning a new language. Whatever it is that stimulates your mind and your soul, it will give you a nice break from running (and thinking and talking about running + work and life ha!) and you will instantly feel good! Create balance.
5. Give back, share + listen: first and foremost become your own best friend and listen to your own needs before anyone else's. Know that saying No to others means saying Yes to yourself. And then, if there is energy, definitely fill yourself up with positive people, surround yourself with your loved ones. Share your stories, exchange and listen to each other.
6. Sleep: I can't emphasize this enough, and apparently I need lots of it, too so.. make sure you're getting enough sleep before you head out into the world to conquer and prosper!
Your body and mind will thank you!
Taking care of yourself means you are a responsible human being who is in charge of your own energies and your own actions. By doing that, you are equipped to be a better friend, sister, brother, son, daughter, mother, father, co-worker, teammate and overall being that can tackle any challenge in this world.
So, if you're running your first marathon next weekend here in NYC, get some sleep, some rest and fill yourself up with all the good food and good energy. I'll be thinking of you!