Breathing is so natural that you shouldn't have to think about doing it…right?
You would think so… but I have learned that maybe... it's not so easy.
About a year ago, I noticed that every once in a while that my chest would get really tight and I would have a hard time breathing. I also noticed that I seemed to be holding my breath in more often.
I thought that maybe I had allergies or walking pneumonia, but my chest wasn’t tight all the time - only once in a while. After a few weeks of observing myself, I thought that that maybe it could be stress.
At the time, I was going to school full time and working 2 jobs… and maybe quite LITERALLY, I wasn’t giving myself the chance to breathe. My hectic schedule with little to no breaks offered me no opportunities to just sit and breathe.
I knew that I definitely needed to make some changes.
I noticed that I tended to hold my breath when I was working on long and strenuous tasks. And when I noticed this, I would stop and force myself to breathe several times before continuing.
But over time, I discovered that this wasn’t enough. I didn’t just need to make time to physically breathe, I needed to make time to mentally and emotionally breathe.
It was all related.
I realized that taking breaks for rest and relaxation is not just a luxury, IT IS A NECESSITY. I NEEDED to consciously plan out moments of relaxation (baths, taking a walk, meditation, etc.) in my schedule.
Heck, I don’t even want to call it “relaxation”. I want to call it “breathing.”
So even if I feel like “I’m on a roll” or “I don’t want to quit just yet” or “I just want to get this over done with”, I need to “force” myself to take a break because I HAVE to breathe.
I hate to use the world “force” because it seems so negative. But when you’re sick and not hungry, you still have to “force” yourself to eat, or your body won’t get the nutrients that it needs to get better. And when you're body is sick with stress, you will initially need to “force” it to rest and breathe.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture where working around the clock is normal and breaks waste time (and time is money). And I knew that at first this shift would feel unnatural, unproductive, or even lazy - but that it is all just part of the de-programming process.
But in my first few months, I have noticed some positive side effects like:
Throughout this whole experience I have learned that life isn’t meant to be a marathon - it is a constant ebb and flow, a contraction and expansion, a breathing in...and then breathing out.
So let's breathe.
Now I want to know:
What do you do to “breathe”?
Do you need to be “breathing” more often?
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