Self-Esteem and Personal Happiness

Permission to Pause / Sponsored by Athleta

I’m one of those people who goes to yoga classes, and while attempting to twist myself into a lopsided pretzel have a million things running through my mind. It doesn’t  matter how many times the instructor has me meditate or try to focus on the present. Thoughts like, “What’s on  my grocery list?” “Is my car in a towaway zone?” or “Did I forget to respond to an important email?” race through my mind faster than a session of cardio HIIT. It’s ironic that sometimes we have to give ourselves “permission to pause,” when taking breaks should be second nature. Yet in a world where everything is fast-paced and things are expected on demand, it’s important to remind ourselves that taking time to focus on only ourselves isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

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For the past few months leading up to my wedding, I had severe anxiety. It wasn’t because I was nervous about getting married or trying to make everything perfect, rather it was because I had so many things to do on my checklist that I was constantly worried about running out of time. I remember the days before my wedding I couldn’t sleep, and as I much as I kept trying not to, I constantly replayed my to- do list over and over in my head like a bad Justin Bieber remix.

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It wasn’t till my anxiety began to affect my health that my fiancee (now husband) was like, “you really need to relax.” And he was completely right. Not only had my anxiety affected me mentally, but it also began to affect my body negatively. It was then I knew things needed to change.

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After my wedding, I began taking more time for myself. The concept of permission to pause is so real to me because I experienced firsthand what it could be like if I continued in GO mode, never taking the time to relax or slow down. My health problems were the culmination of a few months, but what if that continued for years?

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Luckily one of my all-time favorite activewear brands, Athleta is running a “permission to pause” campaign, centered around mindfulness and restoration. The soft fabric and neutral colors of these pieces inspire me to relax, clear my mind, and take time for myself. Today I sat on a bench, enjoying my peaceful surroundings and thought about how thankful I am to have time to  myself to enjoy the little things. It’s not until we take time to pause that we can become the best version of ourselves when we start up again. I hope my story inspires you to take some time out for you today. And if you want to shop my the Restore line and my picks, you can click the links below!

Shop the entire line!

Studio Wrap

Restore Jogger Pants

Namaste.

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Happiness

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I’m not sure why happiness is so hard to find. I think from a young age we are taught to be hungry in life, to be competitive, to always be striving for more. While ambition is a good thing to have, it often prevents us from being truly happy because we are always evaluating our own deficiencies based on what others have.

I’m not sure if it’s an Asian mom thing, but back when I was growing up, our parents would always try to one-up their friends in a passive aggressive way. First it was who is better at piano. Then it was whose child got better grades in school. I remember one time my mom actually got mad at me because a stranger complimented her friend’s daughter on being “cute,” and didn’t say anything about me (also standing there). I was told to try to be cuter next time. Stand out more. Be more talkative. Smile more. Stop hiding from the adults. After that, she started making me wear dresses more often and would braid my hair like a little Chinese doll.

I think it’s my rebellion against the Chinese way of competing constantly with your peers, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less and less competitive. My new attitude has been criticized by nearly everyone in my life; people want to know why I don’t do more with my career. Why I still pursue modeling and acting even though I don’t make a ton of money doing it. And why I’m not continuously striving to be a woman CEO, like so many other women in the Bay Area working in tech.

But I think with that much ambition comes a certain level of stress, worry, and discontent. In my opinion it’s just not worth it.

I recently went to a yoga class where the instructor told us to clear our minds and use yoga to release all of the tension from the day. But I don’t want to use yoga as a means of relaxation and escape from my life. I want to have such a happy life that I don’t have to escape from it. A life that is content with what I have and doesn’t compare my accomplishments, ambitions, our material possessions to other people. A life as free from stress as possible and free from comparing myself to others.

For it’s not often that we look at our lives and say, “I have enough.”