Q: How can I maintain my mental health when working grueling hours week after week?

–  Sarah, 28

A: Our days are full and fast. We’re in the new age of Aquarius, which is all about action. And even though we can’t stop time, we can make time. Minute by minute, breath by breath, you can create time to care for your psyche and body.

Integration will keep you from insanity. Integration is about taking your favorite practices and sprinkling them into your schedule. Make them work for you. Don’t let your overachieving ego set expectations. A little can go a long, long way with these practices.  Here are a few that I recommend:

1. Leave 10-minutes earlier than you should. 

Ok, I know you’re thinking… “Dude, I already have 12 hour days!!! Why would I put in another 10 minutes?” BUT a 10-minute padding to your day does wonders for your mindset. You’ll feel ahead. You’ll no longer speed or scream at gridlock traffic. When you feel rushed, late or behind, your system starts pumping with cortisol and adrenaline. So, this practice is also kind to your actual heart. 

Tip: Just flip around something in your morning routine. For example, I leave 20-minutes earlier than I need to, arrive to my destination and then put my make-up on in the parking lot. That 20-minutes helps me beat rush hour traffic, making my commute quicker and my make-up still gets done.

2. Practice Walking Meditations.

Don’t have time to plop down on your cushion? No bigs! You can meditate while walking!* In Kundalini Yoga, it’s called the Breathwalk. You can do this while walking to your car or to the printer or while at the grocery store. You’ll be increasing your prana (life force) intake and also clearing your mind with mantra.

How to do the Breathwalk: Inhale through your nose for 4 consecutive steps and then exhale through your nose for 4 consecutive steps. And then repeat continuously. It will almost feel like you’re sniffing air – your lungs should feel completely full by the fourth “sniff.” When inhaling, your belly should be expanding like a balloon (many of us breathe backwards). You can mentally chant SA TA NA MA to pair with each step and breath. This mantra represents the cycle of life and helps to increase intuition, balance the brain’s hemispheres and put you in alignment with destiny.

*Side note: I still highly recommend finding at least 3-11 minutes for a “sitting” meditation if you can make time for it.

3. Take Advantage of your Notes App. 

Journaling is a well-researched mental health tool. The American Psychology Association conducted a study that found, “expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events and improves working memory.” I think we could all use some of that. The only problem is most of the time, picking up a pen and notebook after a long day is the last thing we want to do.

So, it’s time to get major use of your Notes app. If something is bothering you or causing worry, open up your Notes app on the spot and do a quick minute-mind-dump. Let your thumbs go wild and get that ish out of your system and into an OS that won’t be poisoned by it. It’s also fun to create gratitude lists or “Stuff that Went Good Today” lists while in line at Target or waiting for your carry out order. (Making positive lists like the ones just mentioned have also been found to combat depression and increase well-being in Positive Psychology studies.)

Tip: Next time you feel like opening up Instagram or Facebook, open up your Notes app instead and invest the time into yourself.

4. Shake Out the Stress.

THIS IS MY ALL TIME FAVE! Throughout the day, you’re in different environments surrounded by various people. Odds are that some of these places and people are not of the highest vibes. Our auras can get “dirty” just like our clothes… and if you’re not doing any form of energetic cleansing practice, your aura is probably filled with pains, projections and psyche poo that doesn’t belong to YOU. Ew. If you feel exhausted, drained and foggy… the events and characters in your day may be clogging up your energy.

You can do certain practices to strengthen the shield of your aura, so you collect less energetic junk. This may seem silly, but you should try “shaking out the stress” especially before walking into your home after a long day. This looks like standing on your porch, facing away from your front door and doing a good, full-body shake. Your neighbors may think you’re a psycho, but that’s the only risk here. Shake all of your limbs out, shake your head,  as if you’re getting dust out of a rug. Like, literally dust your shoulders off and intentionally imagine getting that energetic muck off.

Once you feel like the gunk is out of your big and vibrant electromagnetic field, reset it by closing your eyes and imagining a brilliant, white spotlight surrounding you at least 5 feet out and all around you. You can also chant the Mangalan Charn mantra which helps call upon protection and strengthen your shield. And it only takes 22 seconds to recite this mantra!

Mangalan Charn mantra (repeat 3 times) 
Aad Guray Nameh (I bow to the primal source of creation)
Jugaad Guray Nameh (I bow to the wisdom of all ages)
Sat Guray Nameh (I bow to the true identity of self)
Siri Guru Devay Nameh (I bow to Divine infinite wisdom)

Yes, some of these practices may make you look insane to the passerby… but they’ll actually keep you from insanity!

Good luck and I hope these practices add some light and healing to your day, Sarah!