Ayurveda Day 96: The Cycle of Stress

So this blog is super late. Normally I write after every class. You’ve probably noticed this schedule has been slowly getting away from me.

I’ve had midterms to study for and I have admittedly not felt motivated to do much of anything. I just wrote the midterm today, and though I can’t talk about it much (people still need to write theirs), I can say there was an awful amount of information to memorize. I’ve spent weeks studying and countless hours memorizing the same flash cards over and over again.

Sometimes in life we have things that throw us curve balls. In Ayurveda, we talk about regular routines and their importance – doing abyhanga, neti, nasya…having a daily meditation practice…doing pranayama…eating at regular times and following the food guidelines. It can be a lot to manage sometimes and it does take discipline to do all of these everyday. I am FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR from perfect. The only difference between an Ayurvedic Practitioner and others is that we just are aware of the path – we know what it takes to be healthy. Doesn’t mean it’s any easier for us!

So I was living a somewhat decent life, taking care of my health. But this midterm had me stressed out. Things started to fall to the wayside. My daily practices stopped. I ran out of groceries and still haven’t bought any two weeks later. I’ve been eating out more as a result, and that always leads to unhealthy choices. I’ve been staying up late studying, and sleeping in. I’ve let a whole bunch of things just domino out of control and it all has just caused one thing:

Stress.

It’s cyclical. It causes itself! I was stressed about the midterm, so I started to lose sight of that which reduces my stress, making me more stressed, and so on. What an unfortunate cycle.

But the reality is, life does throw you anomalies like this. Even though I knew the midterm was coming and could’ve prepared myself better in my life to stay healthy, I didn’t. It was just all too much and I couldn’t stand to add one more thing to my load. Something had to give. Unfortunately, that thing was all my daily routines.

After I finished my midterm I vented a bit about my stress to my girlfriend. I then came home and took my dog, Indy, for a walk. I suddenly completely changed my mood. I was happy and excited to go out with her and she was excited to. I was talking to her playfully and we went to the park to play with other dogs, to the river for a swim, and came back (she’s popped now and lazing in the sun on the patio). Why the sudden change in demeanor?

As soon as the midterm was over, I felt a huge burden lifted from me. I felt like now I had the capacity again to get back to normal. But this is a dangerous loop to be in. What can I learn from this?

I have finals and a research paper in a few months to “stress” about. But if I take a lesson from this and get my affairs in order with plenty of time to spare – go shopping, prepare meals, continue my daily practices, etc. – then I can set myself up for success.

It may seem like it’s okay to just “suck it up” and deal with the stress and chaos for a time. After all, it’s temporary and fleeting. But while you “suck it up”, you’re actually being sucked dry of ojas, and lowering your immunity. It’s not worth it.

The lesson here is that during stressful times, the correct response isn’t to reduce your energy – it’s to actually increase it. Raise your willpower and put it into that which will refuel you. Otherwise, the stress just controls you and you’ll be a slave to it again the next time something comes along that just makes you throw up your hands and quit.

But man am I glad those midterms are over!

With gratitude,
S

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One thought on “Ayurveda Day 96: The Cycle of Stress

  1. Thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience over the last 3 weeks. I needed to get my daughter a new school since we had already pulled her out of the previous one. There was a lot of running around, rejection and dejection and the uncertainty was stressful. Finally, we got through last week and after that my body gave way. The IBS came back after a very very long time. Once i identified the reason, it was easier to get back and hopefully such imbalances will get fewer and farther between.
    While I did maintain a small semblance of some routine, not having the same discipline had a direct impact on my energy levels , physical and mental.

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