*warning! When I filmed this, I was feeling overwhelmed myself, hence, the quick entry into my crazy breathing. haha!*
Have you ever been in a situation where you're humming along, feeling really good, taking on projects, and then all of a sudden, *WHAM!*
You're hit with this overwhelm of, "Oh my gosh. I just said yes to all these things. I have so much other stuff that I have to do. And now I'm kind of paralyzed in not knowing what to do first, or how to get out from under this. I feel so panicked that I feel like I want to move really fast, but I actually feel stricken, like I can't move at all."
The fix starts with our breath and our mind because, really, we're not physically sitting underneath a pile of overwhelming stuff. Our mind is going and going and going, and telling us, "Oh my gosh. We have so much to do!" But the pile is not physically there so we need to set our mind free and clear in order to accomplish what is most necessary.
Our goal today will have a lot to do with how to settle that mind. Let's go!
1) Stand up, breathe big and deep. Stand up! Shake out your hands! Shake out your legs! Take in a BIG, DEEP, inhale through the nose. Bring in the prana! Then exhale BIG, DEEP (still shaking your hands and feet, wiggle out the overwhelming energies and breathe). Do it 10x in a row, rest, and repeat. Big breath in. Big breath out. Big, coming from your lower belly.
Self check: How many times a day do you breathe like that? The nostrils are the closest passageway to the mind, so when we breathe, we bring in Prana (vital life force, vital energy). The mind starts to settle down because it goes, "Okay. I'm getting nourished. I can focus. It's not that bad." So we need to bring in the Prana and remember to use our breath as a tool.
Why did I shake my hands and feet? Because we are just energy beings. Move the energy, remove the stagnation and heavy overwhelm surrounding you. Move it.
Now! if you're doing this at work, close your office door, so somebody doesn't think anything weird. Or, invite them in and teach them how to do it, too! Ha!
2) Pen to Paper. After you do that, bring everything down to pen and paper. Write down all the stuff you need to do this week and then trim out everything that's not necessary. I'm telling you do this pen on paper because the computer and the phone or wherever else you might keep track of your projects and all the things that you need to do is vata increasing (distracting, causes mind to race, causes overwhelm). Screens do not bring clarity. They make our mind more agitated and more busy.
So close down the computer. Write down, "What I MUST to do this week."
And then, we're going to build space between projects.
"Is this thing absolutely necessary to do this week? No. I can do that next week." Move it away.
You'll just start to push away the non-essential tasks for this week (or day), so you'll end up with maybe 3-5 MUSTS. Much better. You can manage that. Going forward, plan and sort with pen on paper before running to the computer for execution.
3) Say no before you say yes. We like to say yes to everybody.
We really do, but let me ask you a hard question. How many yes's are you giving yourSELF every single day? Are you saying yes to breathing everyday? Are you saying yes to exercising at least 15 to 30 minutes every single day? Are you saying yes to putting the very best foods into your body? Are you saying yes to being present with your kids or your partner or your family and being in this peaceful, loving state, full of compassion and joy and...judgment-free zone?
If you don't have those things built for yourself, say yes to yourself before you say yes to anybody else. Now I realize there's a balance there. What I like to do is say, "Hang on. Let me just make sure. Let me check my calendar before I confirm on that." Just like building space between our projects and when we absolutely need to execute them, I build space here too.
It is so rare that I need to act urgently (has not always been the case! I used to run like a crazy!)...because I've practiced on building my life that way.
An example, I have a six year old, and she gets invited to a lot of little birthday parties and little fun events. But I know that too many little fun events can become an overwhelming race. Ya feel that? Me too. So, my husband and will say yes to one big, fun activity in the afternoon or in the morning, but not to both. We don't go to two birthday parties in the same day. It's too much. I want her to have calm and peace to just play at home with some little things. She can cut out paper. She can make decorations. She can do her magnet tiles. She can make her Legos. All of those things that just help her focus without feeling like she's racing from place to place. I encourage you to do that too. Say no before you say yes.
4) Get outside. We know that in Ayurveda, we are part of nature. Get outside and sit down for five minutes, eyes closed. Okay. Yes. Again, I'm gonna make you breathe. So get outside. Sit down for five minutes. You're gonna inhale and exhale. Mouth closed.
This breath is calming. When you inhale, you''ll think the word "so" and on the exhale you're gonna think the word "hum" and that is, "so hum, so hum".
It literally means, "I am that," or "I am the divine," reminding ourselves that we have all the strength and everything that we need from within. Five minutes of that just peaceful breathing and peaceful mantra outside in our great mother nature that takes such good care of us will bring us back to center so we can focus.
5) Aromatherapy. Whatever smells that you like! Like I said, the nostrils are the closest passageway to the mind. So whatever we can get into our nose, whether it be breath or whether it is really nice calming smells, grounding smells, loving, happy, scents that make us feel calm and peaceful, we are gonna be far better off and that overwhelm will start to melt away.
Frankincense is particularly fantastic. It clears the mind. It promotes peace and clarity in the mind as well as grounding. Patchouli is also nice. Lavender also good. You could do incense or essential oils. Put that oil on your wrist *SNIFF!* Take a big smell. Burn that incense if you need to. It's really up to you, but have something already set near your desk or wherever you're going back to work.
I hope these help you clear your mind, find your ground and adhere to the most important tasks to move you forward today. Overwhelm is only in our mind and these practices will help us gain full control over our mind.
I hope this helps as we keep bringing Ayurveda to life!