First and foremost, how cool is this picture?! I took it while attending the second week of the Coachella Music Festival. In order to enter this insanely cool contraption, you must stand in a long line, in 100-105 degree heat, and wait 30-90 minutes until it is your turn to enter.
As I sat down, sipped water from my Camelbak, and observed this abstract piece of art, I couldn’t help but compare every sense of its being to the “Rat Race” we humans typically find ourselves submerged in. Except the long line to get into this cool swirly building is substituted for school, long hours at work, stressful nights, deadlines & self-doubt. In order to get into this contraption, you must spend approximately 20% of your day at the Festival waiting in line before you get to enter. Seems pretty consistent with that of life, huh? We are urged from an early age to excel in every endeavor we partake in. Get the best grades, get first place, get the best job, work for the biggest Company, make the most money. And in order to accomplish all of these things, we stand in line for a bit, and eventually dive head first into the “Rat Race of Life.” This seems pretty normal from the inside, looking out as most of us are accustomed to this sort of living. My point here is that although the grind gets us to where we are going and where we want to be, we need to remember to take a little time for ourselves along the way. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, there are times in your life and career when you have no choice but to get after it, relentlessly, but there are also times when you need to pause, take a water break from this insanely intense, all-consuming Rat Race of life.
I have been and am currently in dire need of a water break. In fact, I am currently taking a water break. I have been going hard for quite a while. To be completely honest, I haven’t take the foot off of the gas pedal since graduating high school. And now, being 6 years out of college with a great job and a solid income, I have granted myself a water break. Was it easy to accept that I needed this break? HELL NO! I am an avid overachiever who has a HUGE issue with boredom. In fact, our entire culture has an issue with boredom. We hate it. We need to be constantly engaged. We need to be constantly moving, constantly doing, constantly creating, constantly outworking our peers. We live in such a hypercompetitive environment nowadays with so many Type A personalities that we feel we must CONSTANTLY be working towards our goal in order to be “successful” when in fact, water breaks, pauses, and reconnecting are just as, if not, MORE important on the road to “success.”
My current water break consists of unplugging for 6 whole weeks. I am heading to Puerto Vallarta for several days to learn (and teach) more yoga. Additionally, I will be visiting with friends and family around the Nation and reconnecting with my higher self as an attempt to hit the “reset” button so that I can come back re-energized, re-focused, and ready to take on any and all challenges that come my way! Because let’s face it, I am just as addicted to the Rat Race as anybody else, but we must allow ourselves these intermittent breaks in order to maintain sanity while on this incredibly difficult, yet gratifying journey.
Now I realize not everybody has the ability to take 6 weeks off and leave the Country, so I have listed out 3 of my absolute favorite activities that can be implemented on a daily basis which help to reset and reconnect one to one’s highest self:
1. Stay off the phone for the first hour of the day: I recently came across this idea and decided to give it a shot this week. As soon as my phone’s alarm went off between 4:30am-4:50am each day this week, I hit “stop” and left my phone in its place, without touching or attending to it, for a full hour. The results have been nothing short of REMARKABLE! The people who are most effective and most efficient are those who can see through the noise and separate themselves from the “matrix”. By checking one’s phone as soon as one wakes up, one gives away one’s power and sovereignty, right away! While it is true we receive our dopamine fix as soon as we turn on our screen, this destructive behavior rewires our brain and trains us to be distracted all of the time. Because when you check your e-mail for instance, you are only training yourself how to respond, how to react to everybody else’s demands, their requests. Instead of reaching for the phone during the first hour of your day, try meditating for 20 minutes, drink a full 16 oz. glass of water, plan your day, write down 3 goals you plan to accomplish during the day. By abiding by this golden rule, you are going to place yourself back in the driver’s seat, both mentally, and physically!
2. “Run & Read”: Will Smith said it best: “the two most important things (to do) are run and read, everyday.” Now you don’t absolutely need to run, but the point I am trying to drive home here is to do something physically and something mentally each and every day. This will keep you engaged and active while simultaneously creating space between your thoughts and the stress you might experience on a daily basis.
3. Reconnect with nature: Being in nature allows the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s command center, to dial down and rest, like an overused muscle. Simply put, being in nature reduces stress and is imperative for a fully functioning mind and body. Being in nature has a positive impact on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes and social interactions. These in turn help us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience. So go read a book outside, go meditate outside, go outside and reflect on 3 different things or people you are grateful for! The more we can gravitate towards being outdoors, reconnecting with nature, the higher sense of well-being we will experience!
I implore you this weekend (and beyond) to implement one or more of the 3 strategies described above. Grant yourself permission to unplug, to reset, to reconnect. Once initiated, I promise you, you will come back more creative, more fulfilled, and more inspired than you ever were before!