Do you ever feel “blah?” As I write this I am glancing from my computer screen to a window that is streaked with rain. Through the blurred glass I see the gray water of Bellingham Bay and the eternally gray Washington sky. I suddenly feel tired and in need of a hot bath and my bed. But it’s only 10 in the morning. I just feel so tired. The way I feel can be summed up in one word, “blah.” Maybe I just need some more coffee and a chocolate stuffed croissant. That should give me the energy I’m craving, right?
Now, I have been here, in this situation, many times before and even though I’m back in Washington only for a visit, the old habits are kicking in. The gray sky and rainy weather send my energy down and my reaction is to gulp caffeine and eat sugar. Although delicious, this short-term fix can take me up and then crash me down hard. Usually, this combination results in more exhaustion as well as crankiness. I don’t want to continue with the old habits so here’s what I’m going to do instead, and if you ever feel the same way, maybe you’ll join me.
First, I’m going to rest in Child’s Pose, which is perhaps the most comforting yoga pose (step-by-step instruction below). I find that it brings groundedness and quiet to my body and mind allowing for more peace and silence within. Rather than crawling under the covers of my bed to sleep off this fatigue, I’m going to rest in child’s pose to calm my brain and relieve the stress and tiredness in my body. This gentle pose also stretches my hips, thighs, and ankles, which are in need of some TLC after sitting in an uncomfortable chair for a few hours this morning.
Next, I’m going to blend up a delicious banana-almond-flax smoothie. This specific blend (see recipe below) is sweet, creamy, and fights the low energy and depressed moods I often experience this time of year when spring is in sight but the cold, gray, wet winter is still clinging on. The potassium in the bananas is also a stress-buster and who couldn’t use a little stress relief?
While sipping on my smoothie I’m going to put on some of my favorite music and write in my gratitude journal. Today I’m feeling the need for some high-energy tunes so I put on Florence and The Machine. Her powerful voice and funky beats inspire and energize me. My gratitude journal is home to what I love in any particular moment. Sometimes I write down one thing, sometimes I write down 20. No matter the number, each item is something I am wholeheartedly grateful for. Today that list includes a view of the bay, my best friend who has added sparkle and comfort to my life for over 10 years, yummy smelling candles, gentle and juicy yoga classes, and the unwavering love and support of my mom.
I have completely forgotten about the coffee and chocolate stuffed croissant, it actually doesn’t sound good anymore. And my energy is flowing again from my toes to my fingers. The truth? I feel alive. I really do. My heart is expressing gratitude for this gray day instead of dread, my mind is sparking creative ideas like corn in a popper, and I’m now, for the first time, noticing the birds filling their bellies with seed from a window feeder. Hmmmm, what else is there to explore on this magnificent day…..
- Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
- Sit up tall, imagining a line is pulling you from the crown of your head to the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down and chin level with the floor.
- Bring your hands, head and chest down towards the floor slowly. Lay your head on the floor, if possible, with your arms stretched forward on the floor. Allow your hips and pelvis to settle in between your heels and inner thighs.
- Stretch the base of your head away from the neck leaving your forehead resting on the floor, feeling a nice stretch in the back of the neck.
- Circle your arms around to your sides with your palms facing up. Allow your shoulders to sink towards the floor letting your natural body weight pull them down, stretching the shoulder blades across your back.
- Breathe, rest, enjoy.
- 1 medium or large banana, preferably frozen, sliced
- 2/3 cup buttermilk, yogurt or almond milk
- 1 tablespoon roasted unsalted almond butter
- 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
- A couple of drops of almond extract or vanilla
Place all of the ingredients in a blender, along with a few ice cubes if the bananas have not been previously frozen. Blend until smooth. Yield: One serving.
[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Amanda Upton, a life coach, career coach, educator and yoga teacher based out of Brattleboro, Vermont. Her passion is supporting men and women in creating a life they really want and love. Along with putting her heart and soul into her work, she dances wherever and whenever she can, swims in lakes, oceans, swimming holes, and pools, practices yoga on and off the mat, and cooks lots of veggies and Mexican food. Visit her website, rootdowncoaching.com, follower her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook].