Were you holding in your breath a little before actually reminding yourself to stay alive in tbe most basic way possible? Yeah, me, too.
It’s that time of year where I always feel like my chest is constricted and I can only swallow shallow bits of oxygen to break up my speeding thoughts and feet, running to make every end meet.
Whether this applies to the end of the semester, an abundance of schoolwork, or just the looming holiday season and all the “tidings” it brings with gifts, decor and every little detail, it’s pretty easy to get stressed. And forget to just breathe.
Not only is it just an involuntary function that we should automatically be grateful for, to provide us the chance to live, but also, it has the power to ground us back in the present moment, centered around the feeling of simply existing.
Because funny enough, we can forget what that feels like, or fail to acknowledge it. We live inside our heads so much, we just float through the days without thinking much about every feeling we’re experiencing. The senses always active as we walk, engage with others, and carry out everything on that nagging to-do list.
There’s something beautiful about taking a deep breath, a time where for just a short moment, we can find a sense of stillness within ourselves. The stream of consciousness on a constant repeat turns into steamy clouds drifting by.
I often neglect the little self-care practices I know really benefit my well-being, but seem too out of the way from my other priorities. This means not doing much, if any, prayer or meditation, two activities that specifically take me away from the bustle of life and ground me in the foundation of peace and calmness.
A deep breath, one that comes deep within the gut and fills the entire body with air, is sometimes all we need to remind ourselves that what is clouding our vision and tensing our muscles (many of which we don’t notice until we unclench them) is a fleeting time, something that is temporary and will soon be over. And when that’s over, you’ll still be left with you, your roots, your life. Still standing, still going strong.
With the Thanksgiving break just around the corner, I hope that allots you a chance to breathe. Really breathe. Not half-breathing to get by, but breathing that nourishes every aspect of your well-being. I’m grateful for the breath as probably the most simple way to become more mindful each day. It’s that first step you can take to remember what it’s like to be alive and not trapped in a hypothetical future or long-gone past.
I’m grateful for the feeling I get when my chest rises and belly fills with fresh air. I’m grateful that I’m in a setting where I can breathe and I don’t inhale excess pollution and smog because healthy air is a basic human right we all deserve.I’m grateful for that deep sigh of relief that comes from finishing something stressful, like every muscle in your body relaxes and you can rest easy in sweet silence.
I’m grateful that a time for relief is soon near for me, as I hope it is for you, too.And if not, if you feel like you’re a sinking ship, drowning deeper into muddy waters, breathe. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Close your eyes, and let that breath travel through your entire being, providing clarity and comfort. This is the foundation we all need to even begin embodying our best selves.
Do you incorporate a time to just breathe or meditate in your day? If not, I challenge you (and me!) to make a conscious effort to sneak in that extra bit of mindfulness. Who knows how big of an impact something so simple but so crucial can make…
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie