When did we all become SO busy? With To Do lists growing too long to fathom, social engagements coming out of our ears and WhatsApp groups taking over our lives it’s hard to deny that life as we know it can sometimes feel nothing short of Chaotic. Keeping on top of scheduling in time for work, spending quality time with friends & family, socialising with colleagues, squeezing in any kind of hobby & on top of that, crow-barring any kind of physical fitness into the diary can be overwhelming… Let alone even thinking about scheduling in any time for your own wellbeing – I need a lay down just thinking about it! But it’s becoming more and more crucial that we make space for self-care if we want to feel well in ourselves and find ourselves moving with the flow of our lives rather than fighting to stay afloat.
If you look up the word Holistic in the Oxford Dictionary it’s described as ‘considering a whole thing or being to be more than a collection or parts’ and ‘treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms.’ I believe very passionately that we need to start looking at our health holistically rather than in parts. Of course, it’s important to look after our Bodies but why do we treat our physical health with so much more importance than our mental health or our well-being. Surely they are pieces of the same jigsaw & essentially all connected because as human beings, we are so much more than the vessel that carries us around, and it’s up to you who you want to ‘be’ when you are being.
Being in the ‘Flow’ will mean something different and unique to us all because what feels natural and ‘in the Flow’ to you might feel uncomfortable & out of my comfort zone to me. In positive psychology, a ‘flow state is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity’. Imagine that you are moving to a pace that suits your life, things feel like they are flowing naturally without too much force & the puzzle pieces of life somehow slot together without any super glue holding things together until they may otherwise crumble under the strain of the chaos.
Now that’s not to say that Finding Your Flow means never being stressed and living in a constant state of Nirvana. Let’s be real – life is made up of ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and troughs – that’s what keeps things interesting! And a certain level of Stress & Adrenalin is healthy and keeps our nervous systems flowing from one state to the other. The Parasympathetic: The Rest & Digest state to Sympathetic: Fight or Flight. We need a comfortable dose of both to get us up in the morning & to help us peacefully fall back to sleep at night.
The problem more and more of us now face is that we feel that we are spending the majority of our time gasping for air in a place of chaos and less and less time living harmoniously in a state of Flow.
Fear not! There are some very simple things you can do to help you find your Flow & cultivate more calm:
1. Give yourself a break – mentally
I used to apologise for every late reply, every slightly delayed email, every missed FB message but then I realised everyone else is busy too and I need to stop punishing myself for being ‘out of Flow’ sometimes! Remind yourself regularly that you are human – not a machine. Give yourself a break and the permission to not always have to be on top of everything!
2. Give yourself a break – physically
If you are feeling chaotic and out of Flow one of the best things you can do is move – run, walk, do some yoga! Clear your head. We need to start prioritising our health – mentally and physically in the same way we prioritise our deadlines! Practicing Yoga in the morning before work can make you more productive, more focused and feel more relaxed. It’s a great way to start the day in a positive way which can help you find your flow if you make time and space to connect back in with yourself (warning: Yoga is addictive, I say this after getting so obsessed I became a teacher!)
3. Take more mindful moments, especially when you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed
Learn to pause and take a breath – literally! If you are feeling out of flow then stop, take a moment to yourself, take a few deep conscious breaths, notice what’s around you, the smells, the sights, how you are feeling, maybe you can notice something beautiful or recognize why you are feeling this way? Is it really as bad as you are making it out to be – we tend to catastrophise situations when we are so ‘in them’ – taking ourselves out of the situation, even for a moment, can help to put things into perspective.
4. Start the day in a grateful way
Some of the most relaxed, focused and content people I know, including some of the best Yoga Teachers in London, practice Gratitude. This is a really effective Mindfulness Technique that can help you to appreciate everything you already have in your life rather that constantly striving for the next or ‘better’ thing. Try jotting down 3 things you are Grateful for or 3 things that bring your Joy every morning when you wake up.
5. Connecting with your purpose
Finding purpose in life can vastly improve your wellbeing, get you feeling fully in your flow and in harmony with the world.
Try splitting a piece of paper into 3 columns and writing 3 lists. On one list all the things that bring you joy in life, on the second list of all the things that give you a sense of purpose and on the 3rd make a list of the things you spend the majority of your time doing.
Can you make any connections with the things you’ve listed? Can you see any imbalances on your list?
If you feel a sense of fulfilment & joy when you are helping your friends or volunteering but you are so busy working that you don’t have the time to do it regularly then maybe it’s time to introduce more boundaries with work. If like me, Yoga helps you feel in the Flow and gives you a sense of purpose maybe you could save to do a training. This kind of self -reflection can be incredibly useful if you are feeling a bit stuck or lost and help you take notice of what makes you feel happy and at peace with yourself & the world around you.
6. Try Vision Boarding
I’m not exaggerating when I say that for me, learning to create Vision Boards was transformational, it gave me the time out of my busy, up-beat life to give some downtime to my goals & what really matters to me. In our demanding modern world it can be so hard to make the time to connect back with yourself & remember that under your To Do lists and busy schedule there is a Soul that needs tending to too.
Finding your flow & feeling content within yourself helps you to also become less and less effected by external things and situations. Meditation is a transformational practice and can really help to improve focus, reduce stress and help you find a state of flow. If you’ve never meditated before and find it quite a daunting idea do not panic! Technology has made meditating simpler than ever before – try downloading one of the many many apps out there or YouTube is an amazing resource. I personally love CALM as an app & listening to Deepak Chopra’s Morning Meditations before I start the day.
Join us for Mental Health Awareness Week, we are running a week of online discussions, supportive content and workshops designed to help support your Mental Health and to give you the time and space for reflection and self-care. Karma included in all ticket sales – raising for CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably.
MoreYoga Late Night Lock In – Cultivating Calm: An evening of Yoga, Psychology & Sound Healing
Friday 10th May at MoreYoga Soho at 7pm – 9:30pm FIND OUT MORE
Manifesting Magic: A Yoga & Vision Board Workshop
Sunday 12th May @ MoreYoga Hackney at 1-4pm FIND OUT MORE
About Liz Joy Oakley
Liz Joy Oakley is Head of Vibes at MoreYoga and teaches Yoga & Meditation specializing in Yoga for Anxiety. Liz came to Yoga after being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension and Generalized Anxiety and left the Fashion Industry to work in Wellness and help others to lead healthier lives holistically.
Liz is passionate about helping people achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle and aims to cultivate joy through her work. She now works in London facilitating workshops and events based around yoga, meditation, improving mental health, happiness, nutrition and wellbeing.
Late Night Lock In, Episode 10: Cultivating Calm – An evening of Yoga, Psychology and Sound Healing.
Friday 10 May 2019
7 – 9.30pm
£25 with 15% going to CALM
Are you feeling frazzled and in desperate need of making some space for self-care? Are you tired of hitting the pub after a long week on a Friday night only to feel worse the next day? Late Night Lock Ins are an alternative night out and to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week we invite you to join us for an evening of nurturing Yoga, a Therapeutic Workshop to help you learn the tools & techniques to cultivate more Calm in your body, mind & spirit before we settle under our blankets and close our evening with a Healing Gong Bath. Good Karma included in each ticket purchase as 15% of all proceeds will go to CALM charity.
Manifesting Magic: Episode 4
Yoga and Vision Board Workshop
Sunday 12 May 2019
1pm – 4pm
£25 with 15% going to CALM
When was the last time you slowed down enough to really connect with your inner most dreams and desires? As part of Mental Health Awareness Week programme we’re indulging in some well-deserved (and much needed!) self-care in the form of a nurturing afternoon of Yoga & Mindful Vision Boarding. Join us to drop into your body, connect with your intentions and manifest some magic!
Ascent & Asana: Discover the synergy between climbing and yoga
Thursday 16 May 2019
6.30 – 9pm
MoreYoga Latimer Road
with Guest Speaker Bonita Norris
“Living and working in London, I know how tough it is for people to find the time to be truly mindful within their day. Bringing together these two incredibly mindful forms of exercise is the perfect way to show how great Climbing and Yoga is for mental health. Especially when done side by side. It’s given me a wonderful sense of clarity to be able to regularly practise yoga alongside my climbing training.”