When I started the new year, I took a long time to really think about what I wanted the year to look like. The word that kept coming to me, and has kept coming to me ever since, is calm. I might come across as quite a relaxed person to most people who meet me, but the truth is that inside my mind is a constant race. I'm always thinking, be it about what my next shoot should be, what my next business move should be, what I need to do this week, etc. I'm sure that most people are exactly the same, however I have a tendency to lean towards a more stressful mind. And we all know that stress is baaaaad for us.
So what have I actually been doing to feel calm?
I've performed yoga on and off for about 7 years now. I always enjoyed it, and when I was in my last of university even toyed with the idea of jetting off to Asia and doing teacher training. However, Atlas Magazine was also taking off, so that idea was put away. I didn't do a lot of yoga after uni, and instead began to do a lot more weight training, and cardio based exercise. I loved it, and it was fun. However, towards the end of the year, I began to feel like all that fast paced, hard exercise was starting to do more damage than good. I felt constantly tired, like I couldn't switch off my mind, and I just felt stressed out!
So I began to look into what I could do to make it better, and yoga was one of the first things which came to mind. I've since started to attend local classes, and I am adoring it. I feel like, maybe, this time, I'm ready for yoga. I'm ready to get stuck in, to enjoy the process, and almost just start from the beginning. Every time I've come out of a class, whether it was a more intense "power yoga" class, or something I tried for the first time last week, restorative yoga (if you've never done this, TRY IT!), I go home with a complete sense of calm. My entire body feels relaxed, I sleep better, my mind isn't racing. It's pretty amazing.
I've talked about meditation before, and yes I know what you're probably thinking: "Meditation is so trendy right now." And perhaps it is, but I believe that's for a reason: it's actually pretty effective. I find meditation hard still, and sometimes I don't want to do it, but the same thing happens every time I do: I feel better. So I'm making a point to take time daily to breath and sit in silence, even if its just for 5 minutes.
I'm currently looking into trying TM Meditation, and was pretty excited to see that there seems to be a big community of TM Meditation in Cornwall! So, stay tuned for that.
"Wait, isn't mindfullness the same thing as meditation?" Nope, not really. The art of "mindfullness" is still quite new to me, so I won't go into loads of detail here on what it is or how to do it, but I'm reading "Frazzled" by Ruby Wax at the moment, and I'm loving it. Mindfullness is essentially paying attention to your senses, to the moment you're in, and actually noticing it. It's so easy to just go around on auto pilot, not really noticing our environment, how our bodies feel, how the sun feels on our face. I know that I've been guilty of that, for sure! So, I'm working on making a change and learning to be more present, to really experience the moments that I'm in, while I'm in them. Because after all, if you're always thinking about the past and the future, are you ever really living? *That blew my mind*
So there we go, something quite different from me, but this blog is hopefully a place where I can share with you more than just business and photography. I want it to be about me, and hopefully while I learn things about life as well as running a business, I can help you along the way, too. :)
Do you practice yoga, or meditation? I'd love to hear how you experience these things!
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Last week I had a bit of a burn out. Atlas was doing really well (but requiring a lot of time), work was busy, and I was feeling overwhelmed. I've always got so much on my mind between my part time job and Atlas that sometimes it becomes all too much. I usually don't realise I'm exhausted until I hit full on burn out. This is how it goes down:
- Olivia comes home grumpy
- Olivia begins to cry about something stupid
- Olivia eats a lot of dark chocolate
- Olivia goes to sleep
- Olivia wakes up still tired, and decides that actually, Olivia needs to have a day off
- Olivia takes the day off, feels a bit guilty about it, but actually feels great
All truth. That's how it pans out. It's a brutal experience. *Sorry Tom.*
I'm working on taking things easier, and allowing myself at least one day off a week. It's easier said than done; when you run your own business that you're working really hard to build and improve on, it's always on your mind. Work in progress is better than nothing though, right?
So what do I do when I'm having some time off (or just a bit of a more relaxed day)?
- Go for a walk. Theres so many places to go in Cornwall that theres never "no where to go." Getting fresh air does me so much good, and really lets me clear my head.
- Read a magazine. I know, I know, this may sound like work because my job is running a magazine... but theres nothing more relaxing than sitting down with a new magazine and getting absorbed by beautiful images and words.
- Watch TV. I don't do this a lot, but I make sure to sit down and watch The Great British Bake Off every Wednesday night. I can't watch TV in the day time, because I feel like I'm wasting valuable time to be doing something else (there I go again! work work work) but after dinner in the evenings, it calms me right down.
- Work out. Most people will say I'm nuts for finding a work out relaxing, but it's actually one thing I find helps the most. When I had said burn out I mentioned earlier, I has a personal training session booked in for that day. Needless to say I didn't feel like going, but once I was there and we got going, I felt revived. It was probably that session which gave me back my energy!
- Bake. There's a reason this blog exists!
- Meditation. I have a history of panic attacks (more on that another day), and did a few sessions of hypnotherapy to help me get over them. It was after doing these and noticing how big a difference it made that I began to meditate. I can't say I do it a lot, but when I'm feeling really panicky or stressed and need to calm right down, I find a guided meditation on Youtube, or use the app Headspace.
- Call my mum. Talking to someone about how you're feeling, or what ever it is that's stressing you out is really helpful.
- Write. I never used to enjoy writing, and I don't think I'm particularly good at it, but there's something quite therapeutic about it (this isn't a break through by the way, theres a reason people have kept diaries for centuries). This blog stems from that.
What do you do when you need to relax? Let me know if you have any advice for me!