Stop trying so hard. After years of struggling and feeling like everything was an uphill battle, I had an epiphany. The more commitments, shopping trips, time on social media - the more miserable I became. Now I'm a proponent of less. Less effort equals less stress which equals more peace. Fewer commitments equals more personal time.
If you need a weekend with less effort and more relaxation, join us for a yoga retreat.
At the Summer Detox & Yoga Retreat a few weeks ago, I shared this secret with our guests (see photo above). They were absolutely thrilled. While we may be on the endless quest to find the perfect self care, real self care starts with this simple statement. Less is more. Ayurveda teaches us less effort. Too much effort leads to irritability, anger, frustration and judgement. Sound familiar? Less effort equals peace, calm, contentment and the ability to roll with it.
My favorite way to start the day is with Mason (he’s two now) and my cup of coffee out onto the deck in my backyard. We wake up to the sounds of our neighborhood coming to life and we watch the sun rise together. Before I made the discovery of less, I hit the computer as soon as my feet hit the floor.
I’ve found my life changes with small habits. One of my favorites is a corner in my bedroom where I’ve created a sanctuary for me. By spending a few moments every day in self- reflection and gratitude; I’ve discovered the space between effort and ease, which feels a lot like contentment to me.
There is a concept in Yoga of sukha which means ease or bliss. The challenge is to bring sukha not only to my yoga practice, but to my life. I admit I’ve forced a yoga pose, I’ve cursed and struggled. You know the pose, the one where the rest of the class looks like they aren’t even trying. So I try harder. That’s the point where I lose any ease or bliss. I remind myself the appearance of no effort, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s effortless.
Sometimes I look at social media and get instantly depressed. I wonder about those seemingly incredibly happy people – they have perfect children, a good looking and supportive partner, their house is gorgeous and they travel to exotic destinations. What am I doing wrong? But then I remember appearances can be deceiving. Most of us aren’t advertising our challenges on social media, but we all have struggles.
I’ve found when I compare myself to others, I feel unhappy and discontent. Comparison makes me expend so much effort – trying to be something I’m not. And I don’t want to live like that.
A common theme for women at a retreat - We're tired! We've been trying incredibly hard for years, sometimes decades.
After years of forcing and trying so hard at EVERYTHING, I’ve discovered this space between effort and ease, is actually quite sweet, once you get the hang of it.
Change Your Life with These Habits
- Meditate – I can’t say enough good things about meditation. It’s free, you don’t need any special props, and it can be done anytime and anywhere. The benefits of meditation are amazing; contributes to a good night’s sleep, strengthens your immune system, reduces aging and so much more. If you struggle to meditate on your own, try the app Headspace.
- Create a Sanctuary – Set up a place in your home that’s specifically for you. It can be a room or a corner in a room. Make it your space. You can meditate, journal, enjoy your morning coffee or tea. This is the space where you discover exactly what you need in your life. Create an altar with photos of loved ones, books that are meaningful to you, your bible, your journal, an item that has special meaning to you. Every time you see this space, you’ll be reminded to take care of yourself.
- Start Your Day Intentionally – Resist the urge to look at your phone first thing. Have an actual clock and an alarm. When you check e-mail, news and social media first, you start your day by reacting. Instead of looking at your phone, spend a few moments in self-reflection or journal, meditate, pray or read. Take a few moments of quiet time before you mindlessly jump into your day. This routine can be five minutes or 30 minutes, depending on your schedule.
I’ve incorporated these habits into my life and I’m more productive, I feel less overwhelmed and I start my day on my terms.
I encourage you to find the space between effort and ease, and discover more bliss and less struggle. What do you have to lose? You might just discover your sweet spot.