No matter what you were doing/celebrating/enduring/avoiding/ this month, it is almost over and so is this year.
Obviously, things don’t magically change with the end of a specific period of time but that ending can help us to shift our thinking a little bit. It gives us something for our brain to use as a pivot point.
So even though there are a lot of things we don’t have control over, we can choose to think about many things in different ways and we can choose to be kind to ourselves about the challenges we have faced (and the ones we are facing)
Making space to rest can help with that.
When we have restful moments, we can reflect, we can get ourselves out of the automatic momentum of doing and see how we might want to approach things differently.
And, of course, rest is just good in itself.
You don’t have to earn your rest.
You don’t have to have worked hard to ‘deserve’ it.
It is not selfish to rest.
Rest is part of the cycle of living and I hope you can make some space for it today and every day.
Perhaps your current life commitments don’t allow for a lot of rest, but I hope you can find or make small spaces for it here and there.
And, please, don’t fall into the trap that my pre-ADHD-meds-self used to fall into. Don’t think that you have to finish everything first so you can take a long rest because short ones won’t be ‘worth it.’ Wearing yourself out makes things worse, short rests are helpful, and pushing through tiredness over and over is disheartening.
Here’s your gold star for your efforts to make space and to find rest today, whatever that space and rest might entail – ⭐️
Wishing you ease and self-kindness today and every day.
Here’s Adriene with a short yoga break.:
And here’s a short guided meditation. It says it is for intense anxiety but I wasn’t experiencing intense anxiety when I did it. I don’t know if it works for that but it was a lovely practice for someone seeking a little extra ease.
Part 1: Have you read Diane’s post from earlier today? I love how she has found her own way of making space for herself right now and her plans for making space for herself in the new year.
Diane is sharing a great example of how soemone can create space for themselves on their own terms. She assessed what she needed and what she had available and she found a way to match the two.
Making doesn’t have to be about doing videos or measuring up to anyone else’s standards, it’s about making room in your own life to do the things that soothe you, that fuel your energy, or that give you peace of mind. Diane is doing what she can, with the resources she has, to make the space that she needs in her life.
Go Diane! ⭐️
Part 2: I have been light-heartedly chatting about making space for 27 days now, I know that while making space for myself is a matter of conscious choice/breaking a mental habit for me, that is not the case for everyone.
I recognize that we all have varying capacities/privileges that would allow us to choose how we can make space for ourselves. Perhaps you can’t just decide to do a video or soak in the tub or go outside for a while, but I hope that these posts can help you seek a little breathing room.
Even if the only ‘space’ you have is while you are waiting at the bus stop or in line at the store, I hope you can take a few breaths and allow yourself to pause your planning brain.
I wish I had the power to stop time so you could have the space to find ease. I wish I could wave a wand and make everything less worrying for you.
But since I am sadly lacking in magic powers, all I can offer is the reminder that your needs are valid. The desire for a break, for breathing room, for a little space for yourself is not selfish. It is not something you have to earn by wearing yourself out first.
Offering suggestions for videos seems kind of trite after acknowledging that not everyone has the capacity or privilege to do them but these posts were never about the videos themselves, really.
The videos are there to provide easy access to two kinds of space-making but these posts are truly here to remind you that your needs matter – even when you aren’t always getting those needs met.
If you can’t make space right now, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t trying hard enough. It probably means that there are too many competing priorities in your life and you have to put yourself and your needs last. I don’t mean for these posts to add to your to do list or to your stress.
I hope that you will have the capacity/ability/privilege to shift things and give yourself space but if you can’t right now, I hope that changes soon. I hope that your few deep breaths here and there can sustain you until you can have the space you need.
And here are some gold stars for your efforts to make space, your efforts to keep going, and your efforts to keep the rest of your life on the rails.
Here are our videos for today, a cardio warm-up (I especially liked the ones where you reached back overhead) and an anxiety-reducing breathing exercise that has a fun visual. The breathing exercise video has an explanation at the beginning so if you want to jump right to the practice, fast forward to about 2 minutes in.
I wish you ease and rest today, even if you have to find it a few seconds at a time for right now.
Christine’s post from yesterday hit me at just the right time. My son and his girlfriend had just left after a week-long visit. During that visit, I did little except cook or sit on the couch and knit while chatting. My vacation is officially over, but I have two statutory holidays before returning to work. There have been multiple discussions about setting goals and how to achieve them. A favourite app for tracking walks disappeared when I upgraded my phone recently and I haven’t decided what to replace it with, if anything. Today was very much a “between time” and I started working on what comes next.
I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions but I enjoy setting goals and tracking them. I will definitely be in on 222 workouts in 2022. I did well on that this year, and gave myself permission to count the movements that were little more than mental health breaks to get myself out of the house. Learning to acknowledge success in smaller chunks was huge for me, because I sometimes allow myself to be overwhelmed by big challenges.
The loss of my Walking to Mordor app made me sad, but it really wasn’t much more than a distance listing with excerpts from The Lord of the Rings trilogy to mark stops along the way. I had gotten about 1/4 of the way (somewhere over 700 km), so this year’s goal will be to re-read the books, and go on social walks or to do errands as often as possible (ideally at least once a week, but I may choose to cycle instead). I am not going to bother with another tracking app beyond what is already on my phone, or to push myself to do anything as physically demanding as the women in this picture.
I am resolutely refusing to set any sort of goal around riding, as Miss Fancy and I have not been getting along well lately. She resists being caught, and it has been so long since I have ridden that I worry my technique is what is making her cranky. I don’t want to set myself up for something I will hate doing. My daughter bought me a couple of lessons for Christmas, so maybe that will help once I schedule them for March or April.
Circling back to Christine’s original post about making space, I have decided to read one magazine a week. I have a weakness for magazines that pile up beside my bed. If I read one each week, that gives me quiet time and (eventually) a little physical space. It’s not quite meditation, but it will do.
It is not in my nature to stay in the reflective mood of this “between time”. Even as I wrote this piece, I found myself considering what I could more or differently, despite having spent much of the last year trying to accept that I am getting older, I can say no to things I no longer enjoy, and I don’t have to say yes to every new idea or challenge. Thank you Christine for having spent an entire month encouraging me to make space for myself. I didn’t try a single one of your exercises or quick meditations. In fact, I didn’t think I needed that space. I was wrong – I just needed to figure out what it meant for me. I am going to hang onto that reflective feeling for as long as possible, and give myself a gold star for my efforts.
Diane Harper lives in Ottawa, where she is slowly learning that balance is more important than juggling all the things.
We’re officially into that weird point of December where no one seems sure what day it is or what’s open or what they are supposed to be doing. And the range of Covid restrictions in various places is amplifying the confusion this year.
All of that adds up to even more reason to try and make some space for yourself – in whichever way works best for you today.
(That’s often the tricky part of making space for ourselves, I find. It’s hard to know what we are going to need from day to day and how much space we’ll require to give ourselves what we need.)
So, I’m just going to remind you that making space for yourself is a valid and important thing to do. You deserve gentle care. You deserve to have room in your own life. You deserve to feel good.
And if feeling good is out of reach right now, then I hope you can find a way to feel as good as possible in your current situation, even if the only space you can create is 10 extra seconds in the bathroom to squeeze your shoulders up by your ears and then let them slowly sink downward again.
Since we are in the in-between and everyone may need different things, I’ve picked out two choices for each video. Relaxing yoga/energizing cardio and meditation for hope/meditation for energy.
I hope you can find what you need today, in these videos or elsewhere.
I wish you ease.
Here’s your star for your efforts. ⭐️
Your hard work counts.
If you need to relax today, this yoga stretch video could be a good place to start.
If relaxing stretches aren’t your thing today, this fun dance video might be just the movement you need to create some space for yourself.
If you are feeling a bit overdone emotionally today, this guided meditation could help you untie some mental knots.
If you are feeling a bit blah and need some mental energy, this next meditation might be the answer.
I was slightly reluctant to post this (quite lovely) meditation because it is labelled for ‘productivity’ and I hate that word. Not everything has to be ‘productive’ and our cultural push for ‘productivity’ is one big reason we need to consciously make space for ourselves instead of being able to let it happen more organically.
However, that being said, it is an enjoyable meditation and is NOT pushing productivity. I feel like that word is in the title to help the video be picked up in searches rather than being part of the channel’s philosophy per se.
So, to be clear, I am definitely not criticizing the channel for putting the word productivity in the title and I am not suggesting that YOU need to be productive. I found this meditation energizing and I hope you do, too.
I hope you find space today, with these videos or in your own way.
Remember: No one else gets to decide what space you need or how you make that space. 💚 you are the boss of you. 😉
Every Christmas Eve, I am thankful for the space that The Wiggles created for me with their ‘Rockin’ Santa’ DVD.
The year my youngest son was born, my oldest was 3. Both of them were premies, and the baby had arrived 5 weeks earlier than expected so Christmas Eve found me with a 5 week old baby and a 3 year old and the kind of volume of tasks that only someone with a fluctuating concept of time would have thought they could accomplish in a single day.
I was trying to be a good Mom to both kids and to do at least some of the Christmas prep before my husband got home at 2pm so we could work together.
To say I was overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
After a couple of hours of trying to entertain my big kid while I took care of the baby, I was getting increasingly frazzled and was feeling far more cranky than merry.
Then I suddenly remembered that I had bought a copy of the Wiggles ‘Santa’s Rockin’ and tucked it away for Christmas. By some miracle, I was able to find it even though I had put it ‘somewhere safe.’
I hyped it up to my oldest, popped it in the machine, and crossed my fingers.
HE LOVED IT.
He watched it over and over, dancing, singing and laughing the whole time, every time.
I wore the baby in sling and did a bunch of Christmas preparations and stopped to dance with my big kid every few songs.
Instead of my day being hectic and stressful, it was wonderful and fun.
In fact, if you like corny jokes (and I do!) you could say that on one specific Christmas, they gave me enough Wiggle-room to enjoy the last part of my preparations, stress-free.
So, given that it is Christmas Eve, I’m inviting you to make some space for yourself by dancing along with this song from The Wiggles.
I know that you may not celebrate Christmas but perhaps as you celebrate Friday, you could also celebrate that day years ago when this Mom put aside any idea of too-much-tv-guilt and made space for herself and her family to have a more relaxed day by letting her son (and herself) dance to The Wiggles over and over.
If dancing isn’t on your menu today, perhaps this meditation will help you find space instead.
Whether you dance, meditate, or just sit with a cup of tea. I wish you peace, ease, and SPACE today and always.
And here’s a star for your efforts to find all of those things: ⭐️
For those of us who celebrate Christmas, it’s going to be tricky to find a little space during these next three days.
And for those of us who don’t, you will still be facing similar challenges as you try to maintain space for yourself amidst the commitments, activities, and obligations of a full life.
The pressures might be different in each case but the results are the same – very little room to take good care of yourself.
I hope that you can figure out a way to make a little space today. Maybe with these videos, maybe with something else.
I know that I often feel like I don’t have five minutes to spare but later in the day I will realize how often I checked my phone or scrolled through social media posts.
Hanging out on social media isn’t a bad thing, as long as it feels like a real break and you feel like you are connecting with the people whose posts you see. But, I often find that when I feel ‘too busy’ to do a short exercise video or ‘too agitated’ to meditation, I’ll hop on social media to get a break and it won’t feel good. It will add to my feeling of busy-ness, it will amplify my agitation.
In those cases, social media feels like an easy way to take a moment for myself but it’s not really taking a break, it’s just kind of checking out. It would be better for me to take just a minute and breathe deeply or to do a few neck stretches and then make a decision about how to proceed through the rest of my list, rather than numbly scrolling through Facebook and losing track of time.
Now, I am speaking from my own experience, I am not criticizing you and I am not condemning social media. Social media is a great tool in many ways. And you know yourself best, you can tell if you are taking a break or just checking out. And I hope you can do things in the way that serves you best.
If you have decided that movement or meditation would be good for you right now, here are your videos for today.
Remember, you can do just part of them if that makes sense for you. Please be kind to yourself about this and about everything else. (Your gold star is below the videos.)
I really enjoyed this back stretch routine. It’s straightforward and clear and made my back feel quite relaxed.
And here’s our meditation. This one felt really short to me today, I hope that’s a good sign for my subconscious state of mind.
Whether you try these videos, do your own making space thing, or just take a view deep breaths while you drive, you type, or you cook, I hope you have a little room for yourself today.
On Day 22, we have a 2 minute movement video and a 2 minute meditation.
Not only is the fun (for me at least – two 2 minute things on the 22nd!) but it’s a good reminder that we don’t always need a ton of time to help ourselves feel a little better.
Sure, obviously it would be ideal if we always had lots of time to create however much space we need at a given moment – and I hope that happens for us- but the reality is that most of us have a lot on the go all the time.
And it is much better for us to create two minutes of space and expand that however and whenever we can rather than abandoning the idea of creating space for ourselves because we don’t have hours and hours to spend creating it right now.
Whether you have two minutes or two hours or anything in between today, I wish you ease and rest.
And here is your gold star for your efforts today: ⭐️
First, here are our two minutes of movement:
And here’s our meditation:
I hope you find space today, no matter how much time you have. Even 2 deep breaths is a good start!
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice so I thought I’d seek out some solstice-related yoga and meditation.
Well, that was an adventure. If you have lots of space in your day today, search YouTube for ‘Winter Solstice Yoga’ – you could spend all day being mindful, listening to music, doing asanas and yoga nidra, and still not run out of videos so I’m sure you can find something to match your time, space, and mood today.
Since I am working on the assumption that you probably have to work to squeeze in your movement and breathing space during December, I selected two short videos.
Please remember, though, that your space-making is for you and for your own purposes so please, please, please, choose what you have time for and what makes you happy.
Here’s your star for your hard work, no matter what that entails for you today: ⭐️
Side note: I just found these printable solstice colouring sheets for adults. If colouring is your kind of things, those could be a good meditative way to make space, too. The good thing about a winter scene is that you don’t even need colouring pencils or crayons, you could use a pencil and a black or blue pen and just fill everything in with patterns.
Here‘s a lovely short yin yoga practice that I found. I enjoyed how straightforward it was and I love doing ‘thread the needle.’
And here’s a short meditation/ritual/practice for Winter Solstice that I found very restful.
If you are in the Southern Hemisphere and today is your summer solstice, maybe you would like these practices instead: