My husband and I once were only friends. He lived on my couch for a summer, one when I was pretty wild and young, and in the mornings, following most big nights out, we would play video games in an effort to recover. Every once in a while the batteries in the remotes would be dead and we would have to put the game on hold and wait for them to return to life. Their batteries needed a recharge.
I find that I notice this quality now less in video game remotes and more in my own human condition. As I see it, we humans have three energetic areas that can run out of energy and grow weak to the point of needing a recharge. We have a physical body, a mental body, and an emotional body. Stick with me if you are already a cynic and stating, I have just one body. I hear you, but you will know this to be true if you give it a second. I have noticed, that while my emotional body feels strong, my hips and legs are tired from adding bike riding into my routine. I also find that while I may spend the day in front of the computer, and have an inner pang of guilt about the donut I ate for “lunch,” that my mind is too tired to get my body going. Or after a big heated conversation with a loved one, I cannot find the brain power to write my next blog or respond to my expanding inbox. Have you experienced this too?
What are choices we can make that acknowledge the need for a recharge? We don’t have the blinking light my video game remotes had 10+ years ago, so here are some ideas:
1. Build a Routine Around Bedtime and Wake Up Time
For thousands of years, the Ayurvedans have asked us to be mindful and consistent about our sleep. To go to sleep at the same time every night and to wake up at the same time every morning, 7 days a week, is one of the tools they offer to all of us for greater vitality. At my house where there is more than one opinion about what time we should all go to bed, I know how challenging this can be. What can you commit to seven days a week? Ayurveda would ask you to shift with the sun and seasons, for these purposes, committing to sleeping from 11p to 7a every day will do for me (or any combination of hours that honors your daily need for sleep). Sleep is one of the most literal ways to recharge on a daily basis, so why do we sacrifice it so often?
Want to learn more about Ayurveda? Deepak Chopra has a lot of resources and even a quiz to help best understand your own needs and composition.
2. Meditate and Move Daily
I know, I know. You have heard this one before. The reason you are hearing it again is we all need to be reminded. As life gets busy, self-care is the first thing to go. We wonder how we can muster the strength to exercise or the time to sit still. I know all the excuses because I use them all myself. However, the other day, as we woke up, my husband looked over at me and said, “I sleep so much better on the nights I exercise.” In our day and age, we are all on sensory overload and our minds are much more fatigued than we notice. By sitting down for meditation, either first thing in your day or last thing before bed, or both, you allow the mind to understand it does not need to go, go, go all the time. The commitment of meditation practice prepares us to receive the charge we are offering it. Even 5 minutes of seated stillness helps. As for exercise, in many ways, moving our body helps us to catch up to the fatigue of the mind. It helps our nervous system understand we have plenty of food and are not in danger. And to be honest, sometimes all it takes is a few sun salutations before I wake up to how much rest my body is really in need of.
Want an easy way to add both of these practices into your day? Try yogadownload.com for plenty of classes (yoga and otherwise) as well as guided meditation and breathing work. You can practice with me or many other phenomenal teachers.
3. Put Down Your Devices and Go Outside
Just like the first two, we all know this is so good for us, but committing to it is so tricky. Just this past weekend, I found myself on a trail with three Apple devices in my bag. They all dinged and buzzed and took me out of nature and back into the screen. The lesson I learned is, to leave the device at home. You certainly don’t have to do this for hours upon hours, but each day following lunch (or breakfast, or dinner, or any meal really), what if you plugged your device in for a recharge, put on your shoes, and took a 15-minute walk outside. Or better yet, what if once a season, or once a year, you enrolled in a retreat (yoga, fitness, writing, reading, wine tasting, whatever you fancy) where the wifi is weak but nature offers you an even better connection.
Looking for ideas on where to retreat? I am leading my annual fall yoga and hiking retreat in Fraser, CO on October 7-9. Space is limited, but all are welcome.
The wise ones have always said that acknowledgment is the first step to change. And if you know your head, your heart, or even your body is in deep need of a break, please take care of you. You can only offer the world what you have to give. We all need time here and there. Today could be the beginning of your journey to regain your energy and strength. I know it is mine.