Tuesday, January 17, 2012

resetting my system

Do you ever feel like you are out of balance? As though your operating system needs an update and a reboot (I can't believe I'm using computer lingo!)?

This past weekend I certainly felt like hitting the "reset" button. I think that I've been feeling this imbalance that has been slowly building up over time as a result of some not-so-great habits.

I've been reading a little bit about Ayurveda (translates to "the science for longevity"). I'm not reading any particular books, just websites for now - such as this one and this one. I've always wanted to study Ayurveda a bit more systematically, but my "main" area of study has been my priority. I have a feeling I'll just be a perpetual student of life. After I get those elusive three letters behind my name, I'd like to study yoga more fully again, as well as Ayurveda, and photography, a new language, and....

Ok, back to my imbalance. As I wrote about in this old post, I believe my predominant dosha (mind-body-state) is vata. Lately, I've been feeling very distracted and unable to focus, both during work and rest periods. I toss and turn at night, thus affecting my energy level and alertness the following day.

I also started thinking about times in which I felt my system was in balance - when I felt energized, alert, creative, and rested. As I reflected more, the list below started making more sense to me...


I would say the second bullet point has been difficult for me: maintain a consistent daily routine. As I no longer have a regular 8-5 day job and work at home most of the time (except for 2 days on campus), structuring my time productively has been a challenge. When I did work a regular job, I was busybusybusy and yet I made time for movement and creative outlets as well as social activities and volunteering. My life was full.

It's because I had a consistent schedule. Consistency is grounding. This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but it's amazing how much of a lifestyle change working at home is. On some days, I have tried to actually get dressed in the morning as though I were going to work, even if it was a work-at-home day. I've heard of other work-at-home folks who really get dressed in corporate attire, have a separate physical space for working at home, and only get out of their home office to take a scheduled lunch break and scheduled breaks in between. And they swear by it as being effective. Wow - that's a lot of discipline! With my work-at-home situation, it's been all too easy to lounge in comfy yoga pants with my messy bed-head while working... and it's been all too easy to get distracted.

Keep exercise gentle and regulated. I have been thinking about this one too, especially after reading a friend's blog post about exercise (a great read!), particularly on increasing stimulation and exercise intensity to stay challenged and continue strengthening muscles. But I suppose I can still challenge myself and increase intensity in gentle ways. Especially thinking about how I'm (a) already in my thirties and losing bone density right this minute, and (b) osteoporosis runs in my family - I do need to incorporate more challenging exercises into my routine, while listening to the needs of my body. I've been doing the 21-day yoga challenge to keep myself inspired and motivated rather than sticking to my same old routine of only favored poses. It truly is important to mix it up and practice poses you don't like as much (as long as they are still safe and appropriate for you) to stimulate other muscles not otherwise challenged, and to challenge the mind as well (hello, revolved triangle). Last weekend's yoga challenge video was a lot of core work (it felt more like Pilates!), and boy did I feel it the next day - only goes to show how much I've neglected my core.

On sleep... Last week, I was also on a better sleep schedule. I got 7-8 hours of good sleep and started my days earlier than usual. And then the weekend rolls around... and I slept in both days, resulting in a lot of tossing and turning the following night. I'm feeling the effects of that now. I think that there's room to be forgiving in terms of my sleep schedule on the weekend, but sleeping in for maybe 30 minutes later than usual is probably more reasonable than sleeping in for 2 hours past my weekday wake-up time. 

"Express your creativity in focused and satisfying ways and allocate space and time for this." I like this piece of advice. I know I do better overall when I have a creative outlet - whether it has to do with food or photography, or even just home design/improvement and rearranging things at home in artful ways.

"up at the trees" original print by this friend, printed in wallet size and arranged asymmetrically in multiples

How do you stay balanced?

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