Let’s try a little exercise: Take a moment to visualize your regular daily schedule in detail. Go through the ordinary tasks that populate your waking hours with the openness of an observer. What time do you wake up? How do you feel first thing in the morning? Are you rushing through your morning to get out of the house? How many responsibilities and/or people do you have to take care of? How do you get to work? What fills your day? Do you hurry through meals, conversations, and tasks with the feeling that there’s always more to do? What happens after work? Is there time to enjoy the things you care about in your life?
Did thinking of those things spark a bit of anxiety? You are not alone. For many people in their adult lives, it may seem as if there is very little time for the things we actually enjoy, as well as what’s needed to feel balanced on a day-to-day basis. Things like exercise, reading, meditating, cooking, meaningful conversation– can seem like a rare luxury.
Now, close your eyes and envision yourself on vacation. Go through the same step-by-step thought process: How do you spend your day? How does imagining this change the sensation in your body? Does simply thinking about relaxing have a relaxing effect on you? What do you do differently when you have nothing to do?
Every vacation has to come to an end, but Colibri Yoga Retreats helps you form new constructive habits and a sense of positivity that you can carry back to your daily life. You may not want to leave, but you’ll be eager to return with the tools you’ve attained, which will help you create a more balanced life, no matter where you are.
Step one for creating more time in your schedule: Put your phone down! All of us can admit to spending too much time on our phones, and it’s all too easy to get sucked into mindless scrolling when we’ve had a long, busy day. Even though it may feel good to “turn off” our brain, this is literally the opposite of being mindful.
On the first day of our retreats, we ask everyone to start becoming aware of the moments they are involuntarily reaching for their phones. No judgment. No criticism. Just awareness. Then you can choose when and how you want to spend your time. It might be less of a challenge to minimize your screen time while on vacation, but what happens upon your return? Can you keep up this habit? A good start is to set a fixed time frame in which you allow yourself to mindlessly play on the phone. Maybe it’s a half-hour over lunch or after dinner. Avoid reaching for it first thing in the morning and right before bed. Not only will you have more time to create healthy habits, but you will enjoy a more restful sleep.
Now that you have created more space in your schedule, you can fill it with something more meaningful to you, something that helps you feel happier and healthier. To practice self-care, you’ll have to find out what it is that you specifically need as an individual. If you feel stressed, you might take a soothing bath and do some breathing techniques while you soak. If you feel sluggish, you could take an invigorating yoga class. And if you feel as if your mind is going 1000 miles an hour, you will most likely benefit from a guided meditation.
Once you choose your new self-care practices, making them a daily habit can be the hardest part. At Colibri Yoga Retreats, we encourage everyone to come up with a morning ritual for themselves that feels authentic and helpful. This should be something they want to incorporate into their regular lives, hopefully taking these healthy habits with them after the retreat is over. Some options for your morning rituals are 30 min. of silence, journaling about dreams or otherwise, meditation for any amount of time, a few movements of the body. This could be one yoga pose or stretch, a few poses, or even a full practice. Even if this means that you have to wake up a little earlier, you will be amazed by how much more relaxed you feel throughout your day, and how much extra time you’ll have if you don’t start your day on your phone. We suggest finding similar rituals before bed as well. Journaling about the day, taking a moment to think about everything you are grateful for, or listening to an evening meditation to calm both the mind and nervous system all are great ways to unwind and feel fulfilled. We promise you’ll sleep more soundly, even when you’re not on vacation!
After creating more quality time in your day and adding these small, but essential practices to your routine, you can form new habits that will keep you present and more aware every day. Each moment seems to last longer if you savor and enjoy it. And even though every moment might not be perfect, these self-care practices will hopefully inspire you to become more present, with everyone and everything you encounter. That is the power of self-care.