As a young 20-something, I worked in retail. Among those retailers, there was a late-night hat boutique that stayed open until 11pm, a mall kiosk selling handmade sandals from Kenya, and a busy second-hand shop that sorted through thousands of pounds of clothing every week. At all of those places, I was on my feet all day, sometimes for 9 or 12 hours, earning that hourly wage. There were a lot of late nights and (what felt like) early mornings. When my head was heavy with sleep and my feet were aching, I would get up and do that 9 days in a row. When I look back, I think “how did I do that?” There was a bit of determination and youthful vigor in there, but really, here’s how I got by.
- Know when to put down the coffee. That first cup of coffee in the morning is my happy place. I also know that I’m very sensitive to caffeine and I feel drained when I drink too much. This one took me awhile to figure out. Everyone is different, but recharging is easier when your adrenals are not burnt out.
- Nourish your body. Taking care of your body throughout the day can be as simple as reaching for a green juice, a smoothie, or getting hydrated. Raw fruits and veggies make great snacks. Typically, we should be drinking half our weight in ounces of water every day. (If you weigh 150lbs, divided by 2 is 75– so 75oz of water would be that person’s daily goal.) These little tweaks can make a HUGE difference in how to manage stress.
- Legs up the wall. Aching legs? Swollen feet? Back tension? Put those legs up! Honestly, this is the one thing I did when I was dog tired. It’s laying down plus an inversion. Inversions are any poses that either put your knees over the hips OR hips over the heart. These poses reverse the flow of blood and lymph and help clear out toxins. Scooch your butt right up again the wall, lift your legs and let them rest vertically. Your body should make an “L” shape. The torso should be flat on the floor or bed. Do a minimum of ten minutes. I used to fall asleep like this.
- Cobbler’s pose. Similar to putting your legs up the wall, cobbler’s pose can be done laying down. This restorative pose opens up the hips and releases the muscles in the lower back. Lay flat and put the soles of your feet together. Your knees will splay out. You can support the knees with pillows or just allow gravity and your breath to stretch and relax into it. It can be a bit intense, we keep A LOT of stress in our hips, but it’s so worth it. Put on some chill music, close your eyes, and do some deep listening. Breath through any emotion and let the music carry the time. You can fall asleep here, but ten minutes minimum.
- Anxiety-proof grounding technique. When we talk about “grounding,” put simply we’re talking about ways we get out of our head and sending stress into the ground or the earth. There are endless ways to do this, but this qigong exercise is simple and effective for preventing anxiety from getting the best of us. Stand with your feet flat and shoulder width apart. Inhale, reach your arms out, and lift your palms toward the sky (I imagine I’m collecting stars). Exhale slowly, flip your palms down at the top, and bring your hands down the center of your body. You’re creating these big circles with your arms and matching your breath to the movement. Do 5 rounds, as many times per day. I would do this in the basement or handicap bathroom stall.
There are so many ways to recharge yourself. This is what worked for me. Your fatigue or anxiety are specific to you and your lifestyle, so how you find balance is also unique to your needs. Keep in mind these tools are for managing day to day stress and recharging those batteries.
If you are really burnt out, you know, when tears are ready to flow at any moment, Reiki is a powerful and simple way to get back to balance. A friend who does Reiki or Reiki professional will clear those heavy emotions. You don’t have to power through or manage that alone.
Caroline Ruderman is a Reiki teacher and practitioner in Northampton, MA and has office hours Monday-Friday, including daytime and evening hours. Like her on Facebook or reach out with questions at CarolineRuderman@gmail.com.