FROM THE DESK OF: Nina
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the resolutions I made for 2016 – namely, the one about vulnerability. When look back on the past few months, I’d like to think that so far I’ve made a conscientious effort to face vulnerability head-on and push through when things scare the crap out of me.
I’ve tried my hand at online dating, meeting new people and forcing myself to embrace who I am. (That’s still a work in progress, but I think I am definitely getting better at it.)
I’ve started learning to accept anger/frustration as a valid emotion, allowing myself to soak that feeling in and start paying attention to why I might be feeling that way, so that I can act upon that feeling in a constructive and progressive manner.
I’ve decided to actively pursue business school (FOR REAL THIS TIME – I’ve been the girl who cried wolf for the past two years, I know), signing up for the GMAT and standing behind my decision, even when faced with so many questions about graduate education’s ROI when I don’t have a 100% clear plan of what exactly I’m going to do with another degree yet.
All of these steps have so far forced me to venture outside of my comfort zone, and have been pretty empowering so far. However, not all things are constant, and when those things slide a little off balance, it can be pretty tricky to push back into full gear.
Fortunately, when this happens, all is not lost! I’ve developed a few techniques that help me hit “refresh” and push through those moments of weakness. Here are a few of my favorites.
Breathing. A pretty basic activity, right? Well… kind of. We all obviously acquire oxygen on a regular basis, but to breathe mindfully is not always as intuitive as it may seem. I’ve been getting a little hippie-dippy lately and going to yoga every week, and in each class, mindful breathing is emphasized as a central part of the “practice.” (Gosh, I hate using that word… anyway, moving on.) The type of breathing I’m talking about is known as Ujjayi, which involves steady, ocean-like breathing intended to induce relaxation and energizing simultaneously. You can read more about it here, but to get used to the pace of this kind of breathing, I like to think of this as a pattern of 5-5-5-5: five counts inhale, five counts hold, five counts exhale, all five times. This is particularly helpful in the early morning when the alarm is screaming at you to get up and you are just not having it: one cycle of this should give you that extra push to scoot your boot outta bed and start the day.
Sip + inhale mint tea. Ah, mint tea… or, as I see it, a sauna in a cup. There is something about smell of mint that I find so incredibly comforting. That, combined with feeling the steam of the hot water against my face, makes for an express refresher that rejuvenates me when I’m feeling down in the dumps. My fave? Tazo zen Green Tea. I can never get enough of that lemongrass and spearmint, and it certainly does not hurt that these herbs have all of these bonus health benefits. What more could you ask for in a cup?
Drink cold brew + lavender honey tea. Together. This is a weird combination, I know, but when you are at the office for long hours and your mug needs to be constantly filled, you concoct strange beverages like this to keep things interesting. I keep a bottle of Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Concentrate in my fridge and a box of Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea in my desk drawer at work. Every so often, when I finish my honey lavender tea, I will forget to take out the tea bag when pouring my iced coffee. And you know what? I don’t even hate the taste. The remnants of honey lavender somehow balance out the earthiness of coffee. It’s like spring on an early sunny morning in a mug. If you’re down for a little weird, try it sometime.
Take a walk. Sometimes, a change in scenery is just the thing when you’re stuck in a rut. Strolling outside and taking in the fresh air really helps me take a step back and remember that whatever is bothering me at that moment is but a tiny speck of significance in the grand scheme of things.
And snowballing off of that, exercise. I know, I know… don’t hate me. But really! Exercising is the ultimate practice for getting into the right mindset of overcoming adversity. Pushing through pain and discomfort – and surviving to tell the tale – yields a sense of accomplishment that boosts my self-confidence. Not only does it do wonders for my anxiety (trust me, it’s a thing – read about it here), but it also empowers me, clears my mind, and puts me in the right “can-do” attitude to help me work through any challenge that may hit me for the day, knowing that I am completely capable of handling whatever life throws at me.