Our mental state plays a profound role in our lives and how we show up in the world — individually and collectively. The world is full of so many stressors, and you may be holding A LOT for yourself and your community.
Studies show that nearly 75% of people living a modern, western lifestyle report feeling stressed, exhausted, irritability and anger, nervousness, lack of energy, the urge to cry, fatigue, headache, upset stomach, muscle tension, and the loss of sex drive.
As you navigate your unique exposure to stressors in your environment, community, and even your relationships, what comes up for you?
Whatever your answer is, know that you are not alone, and you are exactly right.
Cultivating emotional resilience
As we continue to work together toward a more just and sustainable world, it’s critical that we also develop the tools to clear our own emotional field. From that space of clarity, you are better equipped to show up to care for yourself and your communities, and also receive the loving care you deserve.
Here are four simple emotional resilience practices to incorporate into your daily routine. Try alternating between them, or pick one or two that work best for you. Feel free to adapt or evolve them so that they work uniquely well for your unique self.
Incorporate Nurturing and Fulfilling Activities
One of the best ways to de-stress is to intentionally create time in your life to enjoy nurturing and fulfilling activities. Think about what activities fill your heart with joy, and prioritize them in the same way you prioritize accomplishing tasks related to work — indeed these are equally important. Consider activities that require less mental strain, and that engage more of your senses — your sense of sight, smell, taste and touch. Activities that enliven your senses are, inherently, sensual, and reconnect you with your divine feminine energy.
They may be very simple activities — including:
Going on a walk, especially at sunrise or sunset to take in the colors of the sky
Having an unhurried, fully focused talk with a friend…ideally someone who makes you laugh
Cooking and sharing healthy food
Making love simply for the sake of enjoyment and connection — (alone or with a partner!)
Yoga Nidra means “yogic sleep” and it describes a state of conscious deep sleep for extreme relaxation and subtle spiritual exploration. Calming and soothing, it incorporates guided imagery of the body to achieve a state of deep relaxation while maintaining acute awareness and attention. Research on the overall benefits of yoga nidra has revealed improvements in emotional self-regulation—with reduced levels of depression, stress, and anxiety—and an increase in mood, quality of life, and well-being.
To engage with this powerful practice, lay in shivasana (“corpse pose”) and listen to a guided yoga nidra recording. If you are unfamiliar, “shivasana” is a yoga pose in which you simply lay on your back with your legs out stretched and your arms down by your sides. Then simply press play on a yoga nidra recording and gently follow along with the guided imagery. You can find some great recordings on Spotify, such as the one by Kalyana Yoga. If you fall asleep while listening, that’s perfect — you’re still getting the benefit on subtle level. This can be practiced at any time of day, and is a great practice if you have trouble falling asleep at night, as it will help to calm you.
Yoni steaming, also known as vaginal steaming, is a practice in which a woman allows the warmth of herbal steam to permeate the exterior of her vagina. Respected by healers around the globe, yoni steaming is an opportunity to reconnect with your body and utilize the wisdom of plant medicine to heal your cycle.
Slowing down for a moment to do this deeply healing self-nurturance practice not only supports your sacred cycle, but it helps get your nervous system out of the pattern of fight-or-flight response. Yoni steaming is about healing your cycle and ensuring you feel your absolute best physically, but it is also about taking the time to go deep with yourself, connecting your unique spirit so that you can better serve your family, community and the planet.
Yin Yoga is a slow, deeply restful and connected form of yoga that takes very minimal effort. It opens the channels of the body and increases flexibility while calming the mind and nervous system. This is a form of yoga that you can do even while you're tired.
Here is the one I recommend: Evening Yin Yoga with Affirmations for Sleep & Relaxation
Enjoy this 45 minute yin yoga class to help prepare you for a deep, restful night's sleep. It's a full body stretch with chest and hip openers, hamstring stretches, twists, a supported inversion and relaxing savasana at the end.
In each pose you'll hear the instructor state one affirmation which you are encouraged to internally repeat to yourself. The purpose of these affirmations is to give your mind something to focus on. Notice how each statement makes you feel and observe how the body responds.
I have done my best today and I am willing to forgive the rest.
All is well and I am supported.I am free to be in the present moment.
As I inhale peace, I exhale release.
I am deeply grateful for all that I have.
I love and appreciate my body.
I rest inside this pause.
I allow myself to surrender and release control.
I am grounded and safe.
I embrace my dreams.
I give myself permission to rest.
“Everything in nature must rest. The Earth cannot exist without deep pauses. Farmers allow the soil to rest before planting seeds. Our bodies deserve nothing less.” — The Nap Ministry
Another VERY important aspect of reducing stress is to ensure that you are getting ample rest. This is key so that you can allow your body to naturally process stress, detoxify and repair. It is absolutely vital that you get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If it’s possible for you, start winding down at around 7 pm. According to Ayurveda, this is the time when it is natural to slow your pace and prepare the body for sleep. By 9 pm, be sure you have shut off all electronics, as the blue light can negatively impact your circadian rhythm and contribute to sleep challenges. Let your brain decompress.
The times are calling for us to re-center our collective need for slowing down, experiencing all of our senses, connecting with the divine, and appreciating the beauty of life outside the hustle. As you take the time to intentionally clear your emotional field, take note of what becomes more possible, and what vision takes flight.
Sierra Brashear, MA is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, DONA-trained doula, herbal alchemist, wellness educator and founder of Vibrant Souls yoni steams. Inspired by the rhythms and elements of nature, Sierra weaves her knowledge of Ayurveda into the products and lifestyle design programs she offers. She invites you to join her 16-week program, The Art of Fertility | Journey to Conception — to clear toxins and nourish your mind and body in preparation for an easeful conception and healthy pregnancy. Sierra is also co-founder of Cultivate Balance and Moon Bath, and lives in Boulder, Colorado.