This time of year -- wedding season -- is particularly stressful for me, and most days I have a fleeting moment where I'd like to bang my head against the nearest wall than push forward with all the things I have on my to-do list. Of course, I love what I do for a living, and I'm lucky. But it can be overwhelming just like anything else. The e-mail box gets clogged, I get writer's block and deadlines loom over my head just like they did in college or when I worked a 9-5 job in my past life. The biggest thing that contributes to my stress level -- I'm sure of it -- is technology. I've found that I have a major problem unplugging. I love social media. I impulsively check my e-mail on my phone if I'm away from my computer. I like getting Etsy push notifications. Since I like what I do, I find that it's hard for me to pull away from the computer some days. I feel like my desk chair is literally stuck to my body because I sit here from morning to nighttime and plug away. I hate to admit that my phone is the last thing I see before I go to bed most nights, and it's the first thing I see when I wake up. And I sleep next to a living, breathing, human being! I'm aware that's a little more than unhealthy. But, I'm sure like many of you, I'm addicted.
Since the fall, I've been going to yoga every Thursday night with two of my girlfriends in Athens, who also happen to be my neighbors. In the past, I ran to calm my nerves. I still run, usually with James, but I've found that yoga really helps, too. Our instructor is the best -- her passion for yoga is contagious. Yoga has allowed me to reduce stress by focusing more on the poses and my breathing than the to-do list that's constantly hovering over me. The meditation part of class has taught me a new way to clear my mind, focus more on breathing, and really take a step back from what is happening in my day-to-day life. Since the fall, I've found that when I'm feeling particularly stressed, I need to take several minutes in quiet, away from technology, shut my eyes and just breathe. I let the rushing thoughts come and go, but I focus more on my breathing and my posture and relax. Soon enough, my crowded mind is cleared, and I feel so much better. It sounds so simple, but it really works.
What do you all do to decompress? Are you addicted to technology and find it's hard to flip off the switch, like me? I'd love to hear what you all have to say!
Photo here via "Meditating With Children: The Art of Concentration and Centering," by Deborah Rozman. University of the Trees Press, Boulder Creek, CA, 1975.