There's a reason why you can't finish the to-do list despite spending longer and longer hours at your desk; we're simply not designed to be productive in this way. Want to know what to do about it? Warning: it involves change!
For those people who still feel exhausted after an 8 (or 10) hour sleep, or after a weekend of "doing nothing", have you tried restorative yoga? Learning just one or two restorative yoga practices that you can practice at home could literally transform your life. Lying with your legs up against the wall doesn't take strength, balance or flexibility, yet this simple action can rejuvenate the body, bring life back to tired legs, and lift energy in a more sustainable way than a glass of wine or chocolate bar can.
We all know the type. The one who likes to tell you what time they go up to practice, how long they practice for, and how far their practice has 'progressed'. The ones who tell you that yoga has changed their life and it can change your life as well, hell, it probably should change your life, because if you're not doing yoga all the time then surely something is wrong. Whether you're getting these messages from that ever so loud and proud person in the changing room or from the onslaught of social media challenges and Insta-worthy pics, it's not that difficult to be cornered by a spiritual snob, or - gasp - turn into one.
We live in a time of overwhelming amounts of information. Learning to discern and sift through through all of it is an art most of us are still learning. But how it would be feel to take a step back from all that information? To take a moment to consider whether your beliefs about yourself and the world are being fed by what you read and who you talk to? How would it feel to tear up those stories and write some new ones? And how it would feel if, in those new stories, .you believed that the best was yet to come?
No one likes being bored. Watching the clock tick down your last minutes at work, feeling at a loss of what to do if plans suddenly change, or simply feeling bored with your exercise routine, your wardrobe, or in extreme cases your entire life, we don't usually harbour fond feelings towards boredom. In a life where capturing every moment on social media can seem crucial to proving we have an exciting life, boredom is definitely not rated.
However, I'm here to suggest something different. That sometimes boredom can be, well, good.
In a world of aspiration and achievement, none of us really like to think we have demons. Some of us are reluctant to admit we even have weaknesses, or aspects of ourselves which we may be less proud of, but by welcoming in and accepting yourself in ourselves in our entirety is big part of all of our journeys, for healing, prosperity, fulfillment and freedom.
How often have you felt in direct competition with someone, maybe even yourself? Whether you're competing to get a better job, to look better in that dress, or earn more money, competition has the seal of approval in our society. After all, people are getting rich of the back of your latest gym membership, smart phone or sexy high heels.
It's not that wanting to be better is bad; in fact our desire to progress can see humans do miraculous things, it's when this desire becomes a desperate addiction born out of fear, self doubt and insecurity that it stop serves us.
When we feel competitive with one another, we mark ourselves out as separate. If I believe your success comes at the expense of my success, I am likely to resent, envy or feel critical of you. If I celebrate your success, I recognise there is enough for us all, that your success is an indicator that success is possible, and to feel happy, proud or inspired by you.
Personally, I used to feel really competitive, but not in the sense of wanting more money, success or than everyone else. My sense of competitiveness wasn't from a place of power, in fact, it was the exact opposite. I felt sure that there simply wasn't enough. It certainly felt like there weren't any jobs coming out of university, and it definitely felt like there wasn't enough money. I spent hours writing job applications, my desperation surely seeping through, frantically controlled myself when it came to money, and food, and fun, for that matter.
I didn't feel in competition with anyone in particular. But I was living as though I was, and by living in this way, I was pushing away the natural abundance that the universe has to offer, if only we welcome it in. It wasn't until I started to get closer to my true sense of purpose, of what I wanted to do and be in this world, that I was able to step away from the fear and jealousy that was keeping me trapped in 'not enough' territory, and begin to explore real possibility and opportunities in abundance.
Sounds easy? Or impossible. Right now perhaps you don't feel there is enough, right now you feel trapped and lost and worried. Those feelings are all OK. But I invite you to consider how would it feel to really live from a different truth, how would that be? If you were to approach life from a place of creation rather than competition, how would life look? If we saw each other as potential friends, colleagues, collaborators and peers rather than as direct competition, would this create more ease in our lives?
I believe it would. And not only this, I believe it would create more everything in our lives, more opportunities, more abundance, more success. Together we feel strong, separated we feel weak, lost and confused, as the recent Brexit situation proved.
Where does your biggest competition lie? I dare you to journal about this, and be REALLY truthful. I never used to think I was competitive because I didn't want to win races, but now I see that I was deeply competitive based on fear, based on the belief that there wasn't enough, and based on my understanding that resources were scarce. If we cling and hold onto things too tightly, they want to leave. If we learn to allow movement to flow - be that the flow of energy, our creativity even our relationships - then we open ourselves up to new growth. There is enough in this world, if we learn how to share, and not keep for ourselves.
Whenever you feel yourself getting tense, competitive or fearful, just remember one thing: we are here to create. Whether that's through the creation of your family, your work or your hobbies, learning to open up and create can give us great pleasure and expose us to the full possibilities in life and our greatest potential.
Yoga is good for stress, right? Well, yeah. Kind of. But if you're approaching yoga with the same "cultural values" of competitiveness, envy and insecurity that you apply to every other aspect of life, then yoga might be part of the problem, not the solution. There is one simple thing you can do though - try restorative yoga.