Written by: Zoe Speirs, contributing writer. Follow more of her journey on her Instagram, @boporecoverywarrior.
When life gets a bit hectic, stressors begin to pile on top of each other making you feel a bit lost amongst the endless to-do lists. It’s easy to let yourself go into autopilot to try to cope with everything – and that’s understandable. We all do it. But moments like these are a great opportunity for self-reflection. To pause and take a moment to find something that helps us reconnect with ourselves.
For me, I discovered that I loved pilates in the midst of University lectures, assessments, and exams. Those 45-60 minutes that I dedicated purely to myself once or twice a week, where I could reconnect my mind and body and forget about everything I needed to do, calmed me down. Pilates is how I’ve started reintroducing exercise in my eating disorder recovery journey, and it has helped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It’s based on breathing techniques and dynamic movements, and it allows me to practise mindfulness by being completely present. The practise allows my mind and body to reconnect; to find balance again as my racing thoughts slow.
Pilates allows me to express myself in a way I didn’t think I ever could, purely through mindfulness. I feel so empowered after taking the time to engage my body in pilates. The fact that it helps me get off the treadmill that is life and bring down the pace of my rushing thoughts a notch or two is one of the most important aspects of the practise for me.
When we think about the topic of self-expression, we often think of those that are talented at art, makeup, dance, and other creative activities. But self-expression is not limited to those areas. You can express yourself in a 101 different ways (and more), whether that be from movement, such as pilates or dance, art, or spending time reading. Self-expression is a way of expressing one’s thoughts, feelings or emotions, and sometimes, just doing things purely for you does exactly that because it helps put you back in the present; helps you be mindful; helps slow your thoughts down and lets you just be. There is no wrong way to express oneself.
Find something that helps you slow down your thoughts and intentionally set aside time to do it. That “you” time will help put into perspective those endless to-do lists. It will act as a reminder that our day to day worries aren’t the end-all-be-all. You’ll likely even find that allowing yourself this time will actually HELP you in your quest to conquer that list. Engaging in activities that allow ourselves to reconnect our mind, body, and spirit acts as a way to refill our cups. If you can or are able to, I would recommend trying pilates (biased, I know). Pilates continually reminds me of what my body is able to do. It changed my mindset from appearance oriented to one of appreciation for my body. Pilates allows me to express myself in an empowering and grounding way.
Prioritise yourself, try new things and allow time for self-expression, even when life gets busy. I promise you will reap the benefits from simply putting even half an hour a week towards your chosen form of self-expression.