I was tossing, I was turning, my mind was going a mile a minute, and most importantly it was 1am and I wasn’t sleeping.

This was the eve of Labor day here in the US, the unofficial end of summer, the week of ‘back to school’ mentality, and I was up all night worrying about every single tiny detail of my life.

Ever happen to you?

Here are 3 simple things to do when your mind is on overdrive:

1. Breathe

When your thoughts are going a mile a minute, your breathing is probably speeding up as well and increasing your anxiety. Zone in on your breath to focus your attention and heighten your experience of this present moment.

Try this:

  • Lightly close your lips
  • Breathe in and out through your nose
  • Count how long it takes you to inhale
  • Match that count to the count of your exhale

Ex: Inhale for 1-2-3-4, Exhale for 1-2-3-4.

Continue for at least 8 breath cycles. 

2. Write it out + be curious about the struggle

Remind yourself of this: The one thing we can count on? Impermanence.

Things will always change. So what you're struggling with right now? It may be monumental* or it may be minute, but no matter what it WILL shift, change, and make you grow over time.

Maybe it will be a catalyst for saying No to an unhealthy relationship, maybe it will be the brick wall forcing you to follow a different career, maybe it will be the injury that urges you to listen more deeply to your body.

This moment always changes.

What if instead of rushing to figure out all the details, you had patience and curiosity around where you are right now?

My favorite tool for being curious is simple pen and paper.

Get your pen to the page and write out all your questions (and perhaps some answers will pop up too).

  • What’s bothering me right now?
  • What is this really about?
  • What’s important about this?
  • What do I truly want?
  • What’s the next step I need to take to get closer to what I want?
  • What do I KNOW about this?
  • What don’t I know about this?
  • Where do I feel this in my body right now?
  • And now?... And now?

You might find that after writing it out, it’s already shifted.

*I’m referring to ‘struggles’ that are not putting you in danger, abuse, or extreme risk. If you are experiencing that, please seek professional help to change your situation as soon as possible.

3. MOVE

Get up and move your body! Gentle, slow, and steady movements can help relax your nervous system, help relieve places in your body where you’re holding onto tension, and get you from feeling stuck and frustrated to creative and inspired!

My favorite quote from Julia Cameron speaks to this,

Exercise is often the going that moves us from stagnation to inspiration, from problem to solution, from self-pity to self-respect.

We do learn by going. We learn we are stronger than we thought. We learn to look at things with a new perspective.

We learn to solve our problems by tapping our own inner resources and listening for inspiration, not only from others but from ourselves.

Seemingly without effort, our answers come while we swim or stride or ride or run.

By definition, this is one of the fruits of exercise: ‘exercise: the act of bringing into play or realizing in action’ (Webster’s Ninth).

Follow along with me in these short videos to join me in moving your body:

Over to you... 

Tell me, which one of these resonates with you the most? 

Do you have go-to simple tricks you do when you need to calm your racing mind? 

I'd love to hear about them in the comments below! 

With love and a calm mind, 

xoxo elyse


Hi, I'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Start moving NOW with these short stretch breaks to help reduce your pain and improve your posture.
It's FREE and you'll also get to join into our Fit & Flexible community!