It’s 8:45 pm. You’ve had a wickedly long day. You made dinner, got the kids to bed, and now the comfort of the couch is beckoning. Netflix characters are whispering your name, tantalizing you with their fantastically entertaining lives. Just a few short steps and you can sink into the couch with a glass of wine, tune out, and check out.
Because don’t we deserve a little check out time?
But, we also deserve something better.
We deserve some checking in.
Now, let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with the occasional zoning out. I personally love to eat an indecently (I mean, huge) bowl of popcorn, drink a glass of wine, and watch the latest “Game of Thrones.” But if we are always zoning out to avoid our bodies and our feelings, then our avoidance is going to catch up with us. Covering up our stress with a bowl of popcorn may mask our symptoms temporarily, but true nourishment requires getting underneath our distractions and taking time for self-care.
Here are five tips to avoid the couch monster and nourish yourself:
1. Plan ahead
Plan your evening “retreat” earlier in the day. By the end of the day, our willpower is at its lowest, and—being human—we’ll want to take the easiest route to comfort. However, if you make a pre-planned date with yourself to roll out your mat, dim the lights, and enjoy your restorative practice, you will be far more likely to follow through.
2. Enjoy the sensual
Make your evening yoga routine delicious. Light scented candles, use yummy essentials oils, wear your softest clothes, and play music that calms and soothes your soul. Set aside this special time to be nourished and delighted by all your senses.
3. Practice with wisdom
Your evening practice should be mellow, restorative, and preparing you for sleep. Evening is the perfect time to enjoy gentle hatha, yin, or a restorative practice. Leave some time for pranayama and meditation and prepare your body to enjoy a deep and lovely rest.
If you’re really having a hard time getting to your mat, then make a bargain with yourself. “Five minutes or I’m going for the remote.” Set a timer for five minutes and begin your practice. If you haven’t found your groove by the time the alarm goes off, then you’ve done your due diligence and can jump on the couch. Often we just need those first 5-10 breaths on our mat to be reminded of why we want to be there.
5. Pay it forward
You’re not the only one who benefits from your self-care. Your loved ones, office mates, friends, and family all reap the benefits of a happier, more nourished you. If you struggle with taking time for yourself, consider the wonderful ripple effect that occurs when you are full and vibrant.
Nerd. Artist. Educator. Director of YYoga Teachers’ Development & College. Manages existential astonishment and life adventures through relentless inquiry and a devilish sense of humour.
Gratitude is an attitude that can be cultivated not only around Thanksgiving for blessings in our lives, but during each moment of life — towards ourselves! Our brains are programmed to protect and to survive, and when we live a life out in the world it is nearly impossible to avoid feelings of self-judgment or unworthiness.