When someone else is feeling overwhelmed, over worked or over anxious, I have all the right answers. I find myself saying "meditate, sit still, force yourself to be uncomfortable with waiting, do yoga, write down your feelings" to them. And this is great advice! I just wish I would do it too. When it comes to my own feelings of anxiety, all I do is make conscious and subconscious excuses as to why I can't.
"I'm too busy"
"I'll do yoga after this task"
"I'll practise being mindful in the car"
"I'll journal tonight" then when tonight comes around, I think, "it's too late now, I'll journal in the morning"
I'm calling myself out on my own bullshit. Yep. I'm sick of half heartedly looking after myself and only doing things that help me when I'm in a crisis (in other words, too late) or when it's convenient. I have all the resources, including WAY too many meditation apps on my phone, and all the knowledge about how to help myself but I never end up consistently following my own advice. I always end up waiting for the most convenient time to do yoga, the most non disruptive time to meditate or I wait for the rare occasion that I'm ready for bed early to journal. This has got to stop. Meditation and journaling can only truly help if I consistently practise them. I need to make my habits permanent. To do so, I'm gonna start by identifying my (weak) reasons why I don't do things to look after myself mentally. Hopefully this will enable me to finally make some progress towards a clearer, happier, calmer more grounded self.
Just to clarify, when I talk about journaling, I'm talking about writing whatever comes into my head at the time. So sometimes it's a to do list bullet journal style, but more often it's thoughts and feelings. This helps me work through some tough stuff and organise my thoughts.
Reason 1: "I don't have time"
Ok hands up if this is also your favourite go-to excuse for everything related to health. "I don't have time to cook" "I don't have time to exercise" and my favourite "I don't have time to sit down and do nothing, there's too much on my plate" BULLSHIT! Meditation is 5 minutes out of my day. I 100% have time. I don't have to sit still for 20 minutes, 5 minutes a day is all it takes. But it has got to be consistent. The mind is a muscle and it must be trained everyday. Apps these days make it so easy as well; all I have to do is press play. Click here for my favourite health apps
I'm going to start looking at meditation and yoga as a means for survival. If I don't meditate, I start to unravel and come apart. If I don't do yoga or stretching, then I start to get pain and niggles that won't go away. If you want to know the exact stretches and flows that I do, follow along with my new ebook which includes my sleep tips and foam rolling instructions.
Not having time for meditation is the most backwards thing I say to myself because on the times that I do it, I become more productive. I deal with stress better so that I spend more time on task and less time worrying about everything else there's still to be done. I know this and yet I still haven't committed…
Reason 2: "I'll do it at _____"
This is a classic. If it's night time, I say I'll do it in the morning. If it's morning, I'll say I do it at night. But as meditation taught me, all you have is the present. There's nothing I can do about the past or the future. All I have is here and now.
I have got to stop saying "I'll do it later" because later doesn't exist. "Later" never comes around. I end up infinitely waiting for the most convenient time to do my self care when actually, it's never going to be convenient. I'm always on the go. I'm never going to want to stop to take 5 minutes out. But as I said earlier, it's a matter of survival and I must.
Reason 3: "It's too late in the day and now it's cutting into my sleep time"
I am soooo guilty of this, it's not funny. The thing is, by taking 5 minutes to sit down and write my thoughts down before bed, it will mean I have a clearer head when I get into bed and I will fall asleep quicker! So those 5 minutes I spend out of bed, I will get back by falling asleep sooner. I know this. But I still don't follow my own advice. I would rather spend my time over thinking in bed wishing I had just taken some time to clear my head before getting into bed.
Well, NO MORE. I'm done making this weak as excuse. From now on even if it's midnight I will still write down what's going on in my head so I can have a more peaceful sleep.
Reason 4: "I'm scared of the ugly truth"
The thing with meditation and especially journaling is that you run the risk of uncovering some hard truths about yourself. Feeling vulnerable and being honest with my darkest self is hard. It's uncomfortable. I think this is my biggest barrier. I know that writing down my feelings and what is going on in my head is going to help me and free me but in doing so, I am forced to look at what I'm thinking, explore where the thoughts came from and evaluate why they're there. And that's not easy. Meditation is similar. Sometimes when my body is still and I allow my mind to run free, I am forced to listen to the way I am thinking. Sometimes it is not pretty. I may encounter a thought process I do not like. Acknowledging that thought and letting it go may not be as easy as my apps tell me it is. And then I will be forced to deal with the ugly truth.
So it comes down to fear of the ugly truth. What lies hidden underneath, facing it and letting it go will make me stronger but the process may be painful. It will be hard but I'm taking the plunge. I must face the truth because it is my truth and I owe it to myself to be honest and face my reality. Facing my own truth will help me become a better, more compassionate human and a stronger athlete.
- Meditate once a day for a minimum of 5 minutes
- Journal every night about whatever is in my head
- Stretch or yoga WITHOUT screens in front of me everyday
- No screens until after breakfast
- No phone after dinner (we'll see how long this lasts haha)
If you would like to join me but don't know where to start, click here for my ebooks. These are the exact stretches I developed to help me unwind and relax. Let's do this together! No more excuses!!