The studies on anxiety and stress are in, and in news that will surprise no one, women experience anxiety and anxiety disorders at a much higher rate than men.
From the second we rise in the morning to the moment our heads hit our pillows at the end of the day, we’re told in countless ways that our bodies are not our own. We rush through the day, numbing ourselves with work, caffeine, mindless entertainment, and the mantra that we “just have to get through _____,” “I can relax as soon as I ______,” or “I’ll be happy as soon as ____ happens.” We live in these persistent loops of distraction, delaying our happiness and allowing our self-worth and self-love to lessen over time.
It’s no wonder we end up in a perpetual state of self-rejection and numbness. When we string enough of those moments together without pausing to strengthen the connection between our body and mind, our subconscious begins to disengage. We tune out just to cope — with food, binge-watching TV for hours, canceling plans to stay in our sweatpants. Or conversely, we try to control everything (hurting our relationships) and push ourselves past our limits until we blow a fuse and burn out.
Any of this sound familiar?
You aren’t alone in these feelings of fear and panic, but as Pema Chödrön once wisely said, “running away from the immediacy of our experience is like preferring death to life.”
Thankfully, it’s never too late to stop, take a beat, and turn your intention within — to embrace the chaos and begin to heal. Your body misses you. And while powerful and actionable self care and body love tools await you in Sheila Kelley’s online course Woman Ignited: Body Love 2020, there are actionable tools and small changes you can implement before the course begins on Oct 7. These techniques are easy to use, and will help to prepare you for the workshop in your near future.
Take a low-screen time challenge
Sure, you might be required to use a computer while at work… but how often do you go from staring at one screen for eight hours just to come home and fall into a binge-watch rabbit hole? Difficult as it might be to break the habit, excessive screen time — whether it’s on our phones or in front of the TV or computer — disconnects us from being more present and grounded. Try limiting your screen time to just an hour after work, and definitely cut the screen off two hours before bedtime for one week and see how you feel. What will you do with the time you have left? We have some ideas….
Meditate for a few minutes every day
When you’re moving too quickly through life, drinking too much coffee every day and never getting enough sleep (which let’s face it, is just about everyone), meditation can be an invaluable tool. Be patient with yourself when you first try it, and know that the ability to quiet your mind isn’t something that will come immediately. Try a meditation app, or simply set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Sit in whatever position is comfortable to you, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. In the beginning, your mind will race and it might be frustrating. Try breathing deeply, counting each breath, and becoming increasingly mindful of your body with each inhale and exhale.
Getting enough quality sleep at night is one of the best things you can do to recharge our body and mind. By implementing the tips above, you will likely find that you’re able to fall asleep more quickly. Put your laptop and phone away at least two hours before you go to bed, as the blue light can interfere with sleep patterns. Feeling scattered and restless before bed? Try journaling! Writing before bed can help to process feelings of stress and anxiety, making it easier to let go of any negativity you’ve been carrying.
Let Loose — in a class, on a dance floor, or in your own home
Did you know that when they move, dancers tap into brain waves linked to memory and emotional processes? In other words, when we allow ourselves to let loose and get down, we sync up with the parts of our brain that help us understand ourselves better. That might explain in part why, even when the lights are turned down low and your eyes are closed in an S Factor class or event, we feel so much more connected with ourselves. Our bodies are leading our minds to go deep and get that internal work done.
We can’t wait to see you online in Sheila’s upcoming course, Woman Ignited: Body Love, starting Oct. 7. Register today to completely change the way you feel in your body – and to really start to implement the tools all women need to reduce stress, invigorate passion and unleash sensuality and creativity in every part of our lives.