A friend of mine who owns a yoga studio remarked to me the other day that even though she’s at the studio most days, she struggles to find time to go to class.
“Do you have your workouts on your calendar?” I asked her. “Well, no,” she admitted, reinforcing in my mind that if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. (It’s her studio!)
Why has she not prioritized her own practice?
Because she’s juggling her job, her relationship, and her kids, and still sees her own mindful movement practice as a privilege: something that she gets to do once all the work is done, and everyone else’s needs are met. This is a trap a lot of Earth-type people – especially women — fall into: believing that their worth is tied up in how much they do for other people. They tend to discount and override their own needs, and their joy, in favor of taking care of others.
And then it’s easy to feel resentful, like life is just one relentless cycle of responsibilities, and like you’re missing out on having fun.
The guy on the mat next me gets it, though. “I was grouchy this morning. My wife said ‘get outta here. Go to yoga, and come back different.’ That’s why I’m here.”
One question that helps me hold myself accountable to sitting in meditation when my mind tells me I’m too busy, or, to having the discipline to enforce my own bedtime even when I’m in the middle of a good book is “who needs me on my A-game today?”
It’s a powerful re-frame (that I learned from high performance coach Brendan Burchard). Because if I don’t tend to these self-care basics, I’m more likely to snap at my husband. I’m less present for my coaching clients and patients. It takes me 3x as long to get anything done.
It’s like showing up to class without having done the homework: it feels awful.
How about you? Does your stress, anxiety, and frustration get displaced onto the people you love most? Is it perpetuating things like hormone imbalances, more frequent digestive or immune challenges, or having trouble sleeping?
Those can all tank your mood, your focus, your productivity, and your self-esteem – not to mention your relationships.
And they’re not likely to get better until you take a serious stand for yourself by establishing rock-solid routines that will allow you to move through life from a place of ease and capability.
You’re ready to start making life less chaotic. Let’s fix this.
There are ZERO daily push-ups or ice buckets involved, I promise.
My challenge to myself, and to you is this:
If you’re like me, simply DOING LESS is wicked hard because
A) I pride myself on getting things done and
B) Overfunctioning is how I manage stress: it’s a survival strategy I adopted early on
C) Staying in motion is often easier than resting and feeling what’s there to feel: the worry about the upcoming election, the gross mismanagement of the pandemic, the wildfires and the climate crisis they represent, all the things that are scary, maddening, frustrating, and heart-breaking.
Yet it’s critical that we not be in go-mode all the time. There are limits to our reserves, and yet most of us have been tapping into these reserves to adapt to this unprecedented year again and again.
When those reserves start to run dry, we experience burnout. In Episode 200 (yes, 200!!!) of my podcast, A Healthy Curiosity, we talk how to move from burnout to breakthrough. I share some of my own story about burnout prevention and recovery and cultivating resilience.
It’s especially critical NOW, at this stage in the pandemic that we stop operating in varying degrees of overwhelm and overwork, as it’s become clear that we need to stay the course not for a few weeks or a few months, but for the indefinite future.
And while you might have initially jumped into Emergency Mode reconfiguring your life back in March, continuing to operate in this gear is untenable: your hormones, digestion, sleep, immmunity, pain levels, and mental/ emotional state could all be adversely impacted.
One way I see this showing up for my clients and patients is acedia: spiritual apathy, numbness, lack of care about one’s self, soul, and purpose. Pausing long enough to recognize and experience what it is we’re feeling can help snap us out of acedia, and the numbing behaviors that perpetuate it.
What does this have to do with fall, you may wonder? Because this is the season where nature moves from yang mode (busy, active, hot, moving, expressive) to yin: restful, quiet, cool, still, inward, conserving. If our ancestors didn’t start conserving food, fuel, and energy, they might not have survived the winter.
This short video I created a few years back offer some practical tips on how to do that. It still applies, with one critical exception specific to our Covid situation: we need to counterbalance the natural downward-inward tendencies this time of year with our very real need as humans to stay connected to each other.
Creating new habits and routines that can help you fill up the well to feel calm, confident, content, and energized can be especially tough if you’re already stressed or suffering from acedia. It’s way easier with help.
As always, I’m here to support you in taking good care of yourself on all levels: body, mind, spirit. I’ve added additional hours to my acupuncture clinic schedule: call 541-757-4868 to get on it. And I have room in my coaching calendar for two people looking the upgrade their energy, confidence, and daily routines. Hit reply to raise your hand if that’s you.
Me, doing less, outside
Grab my free ebook: 5 Biohacks to Relieve Stress and start letting it go. You’ll also get other self-care tips and inspiration, just a few times a month.