My, my, life can get a little insane. A lot insane, lately! Sometimes I’m not sure how a person does it. The world seems to be speeding up. It’s exciting, but it can be stressful for some of us.
I know the pace of life can be exhilarating but also stressful for me. I think I am one of those highly sensitive people — I love the rush of stimulation, but I also need a break. I can easily work myself up into a whirl of anxiety about stuff. Add to this that I’m probably an introvert and you can see that I might need help relaxing at times.
But, lucky me, I have a houseful of teachers. This is where my cats come in. Here’s what they’d say to me if they could talk — and maybe they do talk! I just have to learn to listen to their behavior.
My cats know me soooo well and they know yoga works for me. I just need to remember to do my yoga. Yes, I have a daily practice (I am a teacher, so I probably better have a daily practice!). But the cats remind me to breathe and sit still. All I have to do is watch their beautiful stretching and relaxing (even meditating!), and I’m reminded of very easy tools, which are right at my fingertips. I just have to remember these tools! We all have tools — what are yours?
Lest I take myself too seriously (goddess forbid!), my cats are there to make me laugh at myself. It’s pretty easy to get worked up about stuff when you’re putting your heart and soul out into the world. It’s a vulnerable place to be in, no doubt about it. So when I’m launching something new into the world (a book, in my case; for you it might be a song lyric, a blog post, a book, a painting, a proposal, a new job, a new idea, a life change) it does me good to remember that the thing — whatever it is — is not me. My cats know this! They’d love me whether I had a book or not. Well, maybe they would. They do seem to prefer that the books be about them! Fortunately, the books and the stories ARE often about them. Still, I have no doubt that my cats would tell me to shift my focus away from stuff I can’t control. Because why get all worked up about nothing!? Cats have the right ideas. Besides, there are better things to do.
Look to your cat for inspiration when you’re anxious about something. They spend at least three-fourths of the day sleeping. I don’t want to turn into a slug, but maybe if I would lie down with them, just for five minutes, I’d feel a little less anxious about deadlines, demands, and the stuff of life. And I bet I wouldn’t have to lie down for long and I’d have pretty quick cat company — maybe multiple cat company.
We have a new kitten in the house and he is so much fun! He’s completely about play, love, and sleep. And it’s been another great reminder. Fun seems to drive away stress. It’s pretty hard to be stressed about much when you’re laughing at the antics of your cute kitten. He or she will lure you into play — let them! Play and laughter are very very powerful.
Cats won’t stop playing until they’re ready to stop, much like a dog with a fetch toy. We’ll want to go back to our human activity right away. This is so engrained in us. Blame it on the workaholic mentality in this country! Relax a little. (I’ll try, too.) Let your cat teach you to lighten up, and keep lightening up.
This is the best cat reminder, ever. It is, after all, their universe, not mine. This leaves absolutely no leeway for me to get stressed out about anything! I’m too busy caring for the cats. Litter boxes, feeding, brushing, playing, claws clipped, quality nap-‘n-lap time — it’s all good! And it’s good for me as well as the kitties. Result: a more relaxed Cat. (That’s me — Cat.)
So, how do your cats help you relax? Do they have their own unique strategies? What have they taught you about facing life? Share your stories in comments!
For more about cats and relaxing, see:
About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.