Next week marks the start of a new journey and a big shift in my life. The full story, in addition to what I have actually been up to the past 4.5 months, for a later time.
The biggest shift that’s happening next week is that my schedule is going to be shifting pretty significantly. While still flexible, I’ll no longer have the freedom (or responsibility) of figuring out exactly how I’ll structure my days. This is invigorating, exciting, and a bit anxiety provoking all at the same time.
For the last four months or so, I’ve had this same freedom, but I’ve also felt like the freedom was a responsibility to be productive and get stuff done. Doing enough where I’d have an answer to the inevitable questions, ‘‘what do you do all day?’ While I tried to embrace and enjoy this freedom, I felt challenged to let go, decompress, and relax.
Wednesday was my last (week)day of ‘full-freedom’…the freedom to do exactly what I desired, exactly when I wanted to do it. I decided this was a perfect time for a HAILEY DAY!
After deeming Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017, Hailey Day, so started the planning. What did I want to do? What did I really want to do? Was I wanting to do that because I felt like I should do that or because I actually felt like I wanted to? Did I want to relax at home or explore a new part of the city? Did I want coffee before or after yoga? When should I eat? Where should I eat? Would the timing be right?
OH MY G.
Yes, this is what happens inside my brain.
Someone, please start making all personal decisions for me.
The funny thing is, I’m generally happy in any scenario, but I put so much pressure on these moments that are supposed to be good to be really good and exceed my expectations. And let me tell you it’s really hard to exceed expectations in a moment that’s just supposed to bring you pure joy and relaxation.
I finally decided the plan…relax and breakfast at home while watching Live with Kelly & Ryan, yoga, massage, meet a friend for juice, mani/pedi and felt really good about it!
The day was going according to plan. I enjoyed my perfectly brewed, homemade, coffee with Kelly and left with ample time to make it to yoga in a relaxed state. I headed down the street towards the subway and naturally, started browsing instagram when I saw a comment that didn’t make me feel particularly good. Whether or not it should have, I really got in my own head about this comment. It started bogging me down and outweighing any other thoughts that I was having. It was literally all I could think about and made me feel guilty, ashamed, and just plain bad. I know my cycle with this type of thought and asked myself if I was really going to let this comment ruin my Hailey Day. No, no I was not.
LET GO MOMENT #1
Alright, as I was in the process of letting that S*&( go, I got on the subway and headed downtown feeling GOOD.
Then…I heard the announcement…’we’re experiencing extensive delays on the NRW train due to an earlier incident.’
OK, I can deal with this a delay is fine! I thought.
15 minutes later, I’m officially going to be late for yoga. There’s nothing worse than walking into yoga out of breath while everyone else is mid-meditation. Not to mention, it’s completely rude.
I decided it was time to get off the subway and try my luck in a cab. Super, now the class that was included on Class Pass is costing me at least $12.00.
This is when I would normally start freaking out, going crazy in my mind about how wrong this situation was, how I was wasting money, wouldn’t even get the most out of the class, and start taking it out on the people around me. Not. This. Time.
The traffic fire that caused the train delay and the fact that the trains were delayed was completely, 100% out of my control. I was going to be late for yoga, that was a fact of life for the day.
LET GO MOMENT #2
Even though I missed the centering beginning moments of class, it was great, and I fully benefitted. After yoga I walked through the farmers market and stumbled up on some Chloe’s soft-serve (SCORE! Things were looking up!)
After devouring my fruity soft-serve, I arrived 15 minutes early to my massage. I typically rush from event to event and wanted to give myself the full, relaxation effect of massage. When I went to check-in for my appointment the receptionist gave me a confused look…’how do you spell your name?’
GREAT. I thought to myself, I just knew something was off here.
You’re actually scheduled for our 5th avenue location, not our Union Square, she said.
There was no way I could make it up to 52nd and 5th in 15 minutes, especially not with these train delays, but again what could I do? When I made the appointment, the location wasn’t confirmed and I thought I had called the USQ location.
I took a deep breath and calmly and politely asked her if there was any way they could fit me in for the USQ location or reschedule the uptown appointment for 3pm. Low and behold, they could! They squeezed me in for a 3pm uptown and I headed in that direction
This wasn’t ideal because I had a plan for what I wanted to do post-massage all mapped out in my head, but it was what it was.
LET GO MOMENT #3
Fortunately, the rest of the day went according to plan and was great. In hindsight, these minor setbacks or change of plans are just that…minor.
They’re also incredibly valuable lessons, especially for a planner like me, in the art of letting go.
When we enable ourselves to let go of our expectations and embrace the present, we enable ourselves with the ability to enjoy more, stress less, and create magic in our own lives. The best things and the best moments in life can’t be planned, but trust me, I fully recognize and appreciate the difficulty in letting go of plans and expectations. I’m a big self-improvement girl, and yes there are plenty of things that need improving, so I’ve gained some tools over the years to help me tackle this challenging area.
4 Ways I’ve Learned to Let Go & Be Happy
I only control my actions & reactions
I have the tendency to want to control everything in my life including traffic, my schedule, cab drivers, other people’s actions and emotions. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic and it’s a waste of energy. Imagine if all of the energy you spent worrying about uncontrollable variables in your life you focused on things you can control?
When I start to feel frustrated about a situation, I think about the aspects of the situation I can control and if I am handling myself and reacting in the best, most productive way possible. If the answer is yes, then perfect, I’m doing everything I can do to make the most out of what is happening. If not, I simply change my course of action.
Look for the Silver Lining
Find the ‘blessing in disguise’. Often when what we perceive negative things happen in our lives, there’s always a silver lining. I consider myself to be a pretty positive person, whose glass is half full most of the time. However, there are certainly moments when I have to do a little bit of digging in order to find the halfway mark. Also know that there are some situations that simply don’t have a silver lining and are just plain awful. Perhaps the silver lining will come down the road with hindsight, but in the event there is 100% no silver lining, I recommend you feel the emotions as they come to you, which will enable you to be more likely to let it go down the road.
Incorporating more mindfulness into my life has allowed me to move through my day with more grace and positivity. There are two primary ways I do this:
- Meditate using an app like Calm or Headspace 1-2x per day for 5-20 minutes
- Practice daily gratitude by recording in a journal or simply thinking about all of the things I am grateful – big and small.
Being more mindful actually rewires your brain to be more proactive and calm. In our busy society and lives, taking a more active approach to embracing mindfulness is incredibly important. It also helps us be more compassionate people, with ourselves and with others. This is so important when you’re learning to let go and destress.
Gain Perspective and Evaluate
How many things do you get worked up about that just don’t really matter? I do…all the time. Taking a step back and gaining perspective over the situation and evaluating the gravity of the situation I’m stressed about allows me to let go when it’s not dire.
The yoga class is the perfect example. This was not a life changing scenario. No people, animals, or any living thing would not be harmed if I didn’t make it to yoga on Wednesday. If I had freaked out like I would have in the past, the impact on on my body, my mind, and the people around me would have been way worse than the fact that I missed a yoga class.
This can be done by simple asking ourselves, what’s the worst that could happen?
Do you ever feel like your stress about uncontrollable and unimportant situations is out of control? What do you do to set yourself straight? Let me know in the comments section below!