Three weeks of the new year is under our belts. I'm not going to lie, it has been hard getting back into my groove, into my rhythm. Has it been for you too?
The holiday season combined with cold temps can play cruel jokes on our schedules. Especially if you're like me and love a self-imposed schedule. I decided to take a work break over the holidays and take a much needed break from commuting by taking a staycation. I did some yoga at home, I baked, I set some intentions, but since I work at home I also kept working. I didn't give my body the full break I promised it, so it took matters into its own hands. I came down with a horrible head cold on January 2nd and was down that whole week. Even when I felt a little better and tried to "work" my symptoms would flare up again. My body was really telling me something. I didn't and couldn't get on my mat. Then of course, once I gave in to hibernation mode it was hard to get out of it. Then before I knew it, I was scrambling to catch up on what I felt like I was behind on, then more work came my way, and then I was overwhelmed. The yoga schedule I loved seemed to be a distant memory. So last year.
What do we do when life takes us away from our self-care? How do we get back into the flow?
My answer to that is to stop. My story is not an unfamiliar one. We all get sidetracked from our gym/yoga routines, our good habits what ever form that is for you right now. I'm here to tell you that is okay. However, be aware of it!
Stop beating yourself up.
When I worked full time in my corporate job I used to yoyo my yoga practice all of the time. I'd stay late at work and miss my class, I'd be too tired, etc. I then would beat myself up for not going. Eventually, ironically as I studied yoga more and more, I decided to just stop beating myself up about it. If I missed a day, I missed a day. Yoga (insert your good habit here) needs to be enjoyed! If you are going to create negative energy around it, there's a good chance you will abandon it all together. You are not a bad person if you miss a day. Be aware of why you are missing and make the best of it. I didn't enjoy my "staycation" this past holiday season, because I let work guilt in and it prevented me from taking the true break I needed. In other words; live life! And when I mentioned be aware of it; well make sure you don't take every day off. Be aware of what your excuses are, find the root of it, and fix it. Just stop living in a cycle of guilt.
Stop Putting Yourself Last
Self-care is not selfish. Once we get sidetracked off of our good habits, it is hard to get back into the flow because we don't feel worthy of self-care. We've eaten too much sugar. We've taken the vacation but came back to a month's worth of work piling on our desks. We then make excuses that there is too much work to do. We trick ourselves into thinking that working harder, or taking greater care of others is self-care and we put ourselves last. Yes, you need to achieve your deadlines. Yes, the kids need this and that. They also need you to love yourself enough to know when a real break is a real break and when you are putting yourself last. Set the boundaries and know that you are not selfish.
Start back slowly.
Okay, we're getting back on track. Back into establishing our daily routines. Start back slowly. If it has been a while since you've been on your mat, go to a Level 1 class instead of that Power Yoga class. If Level 1 is your norm, go to a Gentle Yoga class or a restorative. Go for a walk. Take that time for yourself and just start. Remember also, yoga is more than the asana practice on your mat. On days, that I know I can't practice I make sure I either meditate or study it. Yes, it's my job to study yoga so I can teach, but I also believe that what is in your thoughts will manifest itself. So read about what you love. Learn more about what you want more of in your life. Stay positive. Get back into your routine or create a new one. This time be kinder to yourself and the next time you are sidetracked you will bounce back even faster.
Having a hard time practicing self-care this winter? Read my tips here.
Photo credits: Karen LaPorte