Have you been worn out by the Back-to-School / Back-to-Work season? How about the shift from summertime to early fall? Are you sleeping well at night? Whether you have school-age kids or not, the “Back to School” season affects us all. It’s in the air, in the increased traffic on the road, in the new schedules and routines, and in the feeling that summer has come to an end. It often results in increased stress and fatigue.
For most of us, it takes a concentrated effort to move through that August to September transition. And, as I wrote last week, that transition was made more challenging by natural disasters and political storms. But once the transition is over, once the storms settle, what can we do to unwind, release the accumulated stress, and reset the “effort button”? The answer is just rest!
Ironically, rest is both the easiest way to support ourselves back to balance after a period of stress as well as one of the hardest things to do when we are stressed. Isn't the irony striking?
I find that when I am stressed, I don't sleep well at night. I know I'm not alone in this; that's how us humans are. Even when we actually manage to sleep the whole night, sleep is not as replenishing, not as deep when we're stressed. This is why I love Yoga Nidra so much. This powerful and effortless meditation cuts right through the stress and transports us to the center of calm, peace, and equanimity within. Better yet, it has the tendency of putting me right to sleep!
It may sound un-yogic, un-spiritual somehow to use meditation to fall asleep. I used to resist sleeping during meditation because I thought it meant I was doing the practice wrong. But, I gave all of that nonsense up when I realized that when I allow my body to rest during meditation, I am performing an act of lovingkindess and true compassion towards myself. To me, that's one of the greatest gifts of meditation--access to and (re)activation of your own self-love.
I often listen to Yoga Nidra recordings on headphones while lying in bed in order to fall asleep and sleep deeply at night. For this purpose, I highly recommend Unwinding, an MP3 downloadable meditation that you can play on any of your digital devices. And it's no secret that I also find acupressure a huge help; I always sleep so soundly after I receive it. Learn more and book your session @ shiraozsinai.com/acupressure1. (It's 50% off a 90 mins for your very first acupressure session from now until the end of October!).
May you always find your way back to deep rest and restore that which has been depleted,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
P.S. Accessing rest is made easier with meditation, acupressure, other healing modalities, and certainly with a trained professional. But you can also do it right now on your own! As soon as you have a few minutes to yourself, turn your attention to your breath. Don't try to breathe "better" or "smoother" somehow. Just notice your breath the way it is. Notice where you feel it. Notice how it feels. That's it! Whether you feel the difference or not, noticing your breath for a few minutes throughout the day is a sure way to restore your nervous system and invite balance back.
How has this transition been for you?
Shira Oz-Sinai is a spiritual teacher trained in iRest® Yoga Nidra meditation and Soul Lightening Acupressure®, two modalities that share the common principle of noticing what arises in awareness as the foundation to living life with ease and in deep and loving friendship with yourself. These are her musings.