“I can’t do what ten people tell me to do, so I guess I’ll remain the same…sittin’ on the dock of the bay, watchin’ the tide roll away.”
These are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs in the whole world. Though Otis Redding will always be the rightful owner and king of this piece, I particularly love the cover by Sarah Bareilles. She really brings the soul of the song to the forefront.
What exactly is the song about? This person drove 2,000 miles to the bay of San Francisco, and all they can do is sit on the dock and watch the waters roll in and out. During the apex, the words “I can’t do what ten people tell me to do, so I guess I’ll remain the same” really capture the heart of what the artist is trying to say.
Throughout each and every day it can be so overwhelming to take in the ideas, demands, thoughts and energies of the people around us. It often seems like everybody wants something from you and they need it sooner than you can give it to them. Not only is this exhausting, but it’s also an act of giving away our power without realizing it. That’s not to say that it is bad to serve others, obey your boss or help your children – these are all fantastic things of life that simply must, and should, be done. What I’m talking about is the subconscious task of moving your body through the motions of helping everyone else without ever taking a break to stop and listen to what your own needs/wants/desires are.
This is how we get tossed around, caught up in an unfulfilling environment, wondering what the heck ever happened to the dreams we set out to conquer many years ago. This also usually leads to burnout, breakdowns and addictions – all attempts in trying to numb-out or self-medicate in order to keep it all together and avoid the insane asylum (though it does sound quite serene in comparison).
Fortunately, a very small shift if your everyday routine can drastically help you avoid all of the above mentioned issues as well as prevent and protect yourself from any future breakdowns and burnouts.
I myself have experience burnout in all of its various forms. Sometimes even claiming “walking burnout” which is a form of “walking depression” meaning you’re psyche is depressed and so totally not excited about the life your putting it through, but because the call to perform, achieve and serve is greater, you continue to go through the motions anyway. I was first informed of this condition by a dear friend of mine in college. I think we all had walking depression at that time in our lives.
If you totally smell what I’m stepping in, here are a few short, simple, daily exercises I HIGHLY recommend incorporating into your morning routine in order to maintain balance with your deeper, more purposeful parts as you move about your day-to-day life. Each of the following have stereotypes and preconceived notions around them, but try to look at them now through the lens of perscriptions to your soul. These are tools to moving you back to your true center at the start of each day.
So many times we move so quickly – from the first snooze button to crawling into bed at the end of the day – that we don’t even take five seconds to stop and consider what we wish to receive from the gift of each day, much less what we want to feel and experience.
This is why it is so important to take as little as five minutes to tune in to your core parts, your heart of hearts, your soulful center and biggest dreams and feel into the essence, or magic, of what it means to be alive, present and active in your own life.
You can implement any one of the following activities without spending much time or money on prep work. I challenge you to try one for a full seven days and see if any shifts occur for you.
While widely popular at the moment, I think meditation still has a stigma around it that it is too hard to sit still and be quiet. This may be true, because it is hard to sit still and not think, but there are so many types of meditation that it may be only that you need to find which type works well for you. Some meditation techniques require chanting a mantra or affirmation while you sit, others require you to visualize certain objects or healing visions, and other still guide you through an active participation in feeling sensations throughout the body. There are hundreds of different styles beyond the traditional “sit on a pillow and don’t think” method. A quick google or YouTube search can bring up tons of guided meditations, as well as the app Calm. There are also lots of indiviuals who offer free meditations for download as part of their services. Laura Hollick is one of my favorites.
Yoga also has lots of stereotypes that may be holding you back from divng into it, however I believe it is a fantastic physical + spiritual exercise to help guide you back to focusing on your core-self. This can be especially helpful if you don’t care for sitting still and using your mind! Boho Beautiful is my all-time favorite YouTube instructor. She has videos for complete beginners as well as intermediate yogis. If you’re just starting out I recommend a quick five-minute stretch in the morning or before bed. The whole practice is to focus on your breathe and really be present for the actions your body is being led through. You’ll be amazed at all the amazing benefits even a brief daily yoga practice can bring.
Prayer is a great way to silence your crazy. I like to start by praying away all my worries and doubts (maybe set a timer, because you don’t want to get lost on the whirlwind of anxiety) then flow into gratitude. Gratitude prayer is hands down the quickest way to feel good, in my opinion. I thank God for the roof over my head, the food on my plate, the bones in my body, the breathe in my lungs, my friends, my family, anything that comes to mind. You can go on and on and you’re only going to feel better and better. What’s great about this is that you can carry your practice with you as you move about your day.
Journaling is a great way to release built up tension in your mind. There are lots of different techniques and methods but perhaps the best way to start is to simply pick up a pen each morning and allow what flows to flow. Be intentional about keeping your journal private – you can’t even read through it yourself. It’s simply a dumping ground for all the excessive thoughts, feelings and ideas that roll around cluttering up your precious mind space. I know I’ve written very angry things, hurtful things, crazy things – but it’s okay because your journal is a judgement-free zone that no one will ever lay eyes on, not even you. It’s about letting it all out. There’s something about putting pen to paper that really is very cathartic as well.
Energy Clearing + Protection
A coach of mine recommended this to me a while back and my life has forever been changed by it. Energy clearing is a form of focusing on the body’s energy centers (chakras) and cleaning out any “residue” from the day before. We quite often pick up on the energies and emotions of others and never do anything with that energy – it sits on our spirit and confuses us when we have misplaced emotions or strain. If you’re quite empathetic like many of us are, you may even notice having prolonged feelings or emotions after watching a hectic tv show or movie. Be careful little eyes what you see! Try this quick guided meditation to cleanse out old energies and protect yourself from taking on too much external energy. This really helps you hold your own space rather than shifting and sliding too much from external pressures.
There is tons of science and ancient tradition supporting the idea of breathing as a form of meditation. Breathing is essential in yoga, exercise and other healthy exercises, but did you know it can be a healing activity in and of itself? There are many different types of breathing that can be used to accomplish different thigns. Some breathe work stirs us up while others calm us down. If you’d like to learn about the benefits of breath work, try following Jessica Peppler on Instagram.