This weekend I’m dropping physical tension and adding meditative stretching.
I guess the physical nature of this weekend’s challenge is largely a reflection of the tiring fortnight I’ve had. With all the stuff with Dad, and with my overseas visitors around for most of these two weeks, I’ve done a lot of sitting, thinking, worrying, talking, deciding and driving, driving, driving. A lot of driving. I don’t mind driving, and I don’t mind driving people around, but I don’t think I’ve ever done such a lot of driving with such a lot of people in the car in such a concentrated period of time before, and it’s taken its toll.
So, I’m dropping physical tension. By that, I’m mostly talking about the tension that I hold in my shoulders, neck and even my head. I’m rather prone to headaches and migraines, and have a few chronic back and shoulder niggles. I few days ago, I noticed that my shoulders were hunched and my jaw clenched, so I tried a breathing exercise where I focused on breathing in to each of the areas of tension and breathing out all of the tension from each area, one at a time. What really surprised me was how well it worked for the parts of my head that felt heavy and achey.
Today is my visitors’ last day and I know we’ll be doing a lot of driving around and going to and fro to get them all sorted for the long flight home this evening (Australia is such a long way away from most places). And I have woken up with a headache. So I want to notice when I am a bit tense through driving, concentrating or tiredness and take a few moments to breathe the tension out.
As I’ve already alluded, I have a few chronic shoulder and back niggles. I do have some stretches the from the physiotherapist that I used to do regularly, but I don’t do so often now because it’s mostly under control. I have also started to do a little yoga from a DVD. However, when my back, in particular, does flare up, it’s excruiciating. Considering how little exercise and how much hunching, sitting, driving etc. that I have been doing, I want to make sure I put more stretching back into my routine. More to the point, however, I want to put it before I go to bed to see if it helps me to calm my mind before I attempt to sleep, and I want to put it in the morning to see if it helps me to feel refreshed and positive for the day. In that way, I don’t just want to do a few back stretches while watching television (which would be perfectly acceptable for my physical health alone), I want to set aside ten minutes where I’m either in silence or listening to calm music and just allow myself to relax.
If I’m honest, I think another reason I’ve chosen such physical things this weekend is that I’m fighting shy of the more mental/emotional challenges after last weekend. I don’t mean that I won’t try again, because it’s important that I do, but I realised how difficult those habits are to remember even for two days and I’d like to try them again when I have a strong chance of turning them into something more habitual. Since Saturday, at least, will be as busy and full as last weekend, I’m reluctant to try something similar when the chances of success are lower. It feels a little like cheating, to pick and choose weekends but, ultimately, this is about finding things that I can bring into my life for more than a weekend. Last weekend reminded me that big successes are built on small successes and so it’s sensible to optimise my chance of small success first.
And now I should go and do some meditative stretching!