Welcome back to The Running Mind Blog! I haven’t been great about posting, but I also had a baby about two months ago, and, let me tell you, my mind has been running! Nothing bad, just busy with all the first-time mom stuff! I have definitely been using my tools to stave off postpartum anxiety and depression, and it has been a pretty smooth and successful journey so far, with some much anticipated bumps along the way and some not so expected surprises! If it was too easy, I would not be learning anything at all, so I am grateful for the challenges and work that have come my way since bebe girl Riley arrived. She was born on November 23 even though she was due Christmas Eve! We got to spend Christmas with our little bundle of joy, and as sleep deprived as I was, it was the best Christmas and gift EVER! Her name is Riley Katherine and she was born a whopping 6 pounds, 15 ounces, big for a premie! I can’t wait to teach her how to meditate, do yoga, and love life!
Since I haven’t posted since the New Year, Happy New Year! Feel free to jump to my old post about intention setting if you are interested, you can access it here.
2020 came and went and here we are. I know most people expect to hear about “what a year” 2020 was, but you all already know what happened in 2020 and I don’t need to recap. One thing I’ve really noticed on social media is that people are really soaking in the negative events of 2020. My feeds have been flooded with memes and posts about how horrible 2020 was. Some of them were funny, and I get it, but I think we begin to do ourselves a disservice when we so closely focus on the negative in our lives. You see, thoughts are energy, and when you think about something, you are expending energy and allowing it to manifest in your body and in your mind. You are inviting negative energy in to stay. When you ruminate on everything that’s wrong in the world and in your life, you are putting that negativity back out into the universe and flooding yourself with that energy.
I don’t mean to say that it’s totally ludicrous not to vent and complain, HEY, we are all human. I am just saying that it can be a worthwhile experiment to begin noticing where you expend most of your energy, in your words, thoughts, and actions. What is your daily internal monologue like?
There was a woman being interviewed on the news a few months ago (I wish I remembered her name!), and what she said really hit home for me. She was talking about reframing out mindsets and that so many people have been talking about how horrible 2020 was, but some people had an awful 2018 and 2019. She said some people have bad years every year, and when we focus on all the ugliness and let downs of 2020, we really aren’t evolving and growing. We don’t need to be overly positive, but she suggested reframing and asking ourselves instead, “what have I learned?” This is so much more powerful than “what have I lost?”
Mindset is everything. From a yoga perspective, maintaining a “pure” or sattvic mindset is one of the keys to healthy and wholehearted living. This pure mindset does not mean positive, but rather, neutral. It’s the difference between, “oh crap it’s such a rainy day,” and, “it’s raining.” If you can begin to redirect your negative thoughts and make them neutral statements, you’re well on your way to living a better life.
As we proceed into 2021, lots of us are more anxious than ever to nail the perfect resolution and manifest the highest good in our lives. How about this: who are you right now without all of the chaos and events of 2020? What kind of person are you DESPITE what the year has brought your way? How do you treat those around you? What brings you joy? Who do you love? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves.
The best way to avoid carrying negativity into 2021 is not to carry it! Let that shit go! Take some of this quarantined time to dig deep and learn more about yourself and what brings you ultimate joy and carry THAT into 2021.
As cliché as it sounds, having a baby in 2020 was a huge blessing for me. It took my focus to something so profound and pure. Although I’ve had some sleep deprived, dark days, I have not allowed all of the heartache to completely take over me. Sure, it is lonely living this new normal. I miss my grandparents and my friends, but I try to connect with them as often as possible via phone and FaceTime and just count the blessings. I can’t imagine what it is like for those who have lost loved ones and been so isolated this year, my heart goes out to all of you. And for those that suffer ANY year, my heart goes out to you. There will always be suffering in our world, but we can limit our own suffering by choosing to take a new route, a new mindset, detaching from that which is changing and accepting pain as a teacher. These are the yoga lessons that are the most dear to my heart.
If you have felt less than ideal over the past few months or are experiencing what we now call “pandemic anxiety,” here are some simple hacks and tips to reconnect with your higher self and find joy, or maybe just, peace:
- Find a new community to join/tune into: We need community now more than ever. Consider doing a group Facetime or Zoom with family/friends and playing an online game or just having conversation. Many churches, clubs, organizations have taken to meeting online. Search for some that interest you and tune in.
- Take an online in-person class: There are tons of FREE and not free online classes going on. Consider one where you meet on Zoom and see the same people every week. I started a postpartum yoga class that meets and socializes at the end of each session and it is so beneficial to talk to other women who are in my same phase of life. Since we can’t meet in person, online has been the next best option.
- Get outside and notice: Just getting outside to walk and look at the sky is proven to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. If you find it terribly boring, consider walking with a loved one or bringing headphones and tuning into your favorite podcast.
- Nurture your relationships: Whether digitally or in your household. Tell your friends and family you love them and take time for good old fashioned connection. Give someone in your household a long hug. If you live alone, facetime a friend for a while and look into their eyes. We really need these connections to thrive.
- Discover something new about yourself: there’s more downtime and more time for you to explore a new avenue, take a course, or start a new hobby. Do something fun and different. Novelty is shown to boost happiness.
I could add about ten more things to that list, but I think those listed above are the most helpful during these times. Of course, meditating, exercising, and nourishing your body with healthy foods always helps the mind and body!
Keep your heads up and your hearts open. We are all on this earth for a purpose and just as hard times will come, I believe that good times will follow. Mind your mindset! I will be starting work again in the Spring and will be offering virtual Yoga Therapy. Feel free to reach out for a free, 15-minute consultation. At present I am busy with my tiny human, but I’ll be back soon enough!
I am doing some of my own self-exploration to figure out what is next for my Yoga Therapy & wellness business post maternity leave. I know that there is another avenue/adventure I am meant to take my business on, but I am not quite sure what it is yet. For now, I focus on my bundle of joy and just ask the universe to present it to me when I am ready. I have been pretty diligent about a self-care routine to keep my mind and body healthy as can be. I was a bit worried about developing anxiety & depression postpartum, having a history and being off of medication. I have made a point to find time every day to connect with myself. On the hardest days this happens while breastfeeding. I simply tune into my breath and my feet on the floor and sometimes pray out loud. On days where baby is napping and not as fussy, I practice yoga by the kitchen window and meditate, workout on my patio, or walk in the sun. These simple acts have kept me connected and balanced, while also bringing me joy & bliss. Self-care routines do not need to be over complicated or fancy!
I am hoping to launch some workshops this year and hopefully a retreat! Stay tuned! In the meantime, here is my most recent and greatest blessing, Riley!
Stay true, stay connected.
With an abundance of love,