In my house, we are getting down to that end of the school year hustle. Concerts, projects due, and an upcoming eight-day camping trip. My lists have lists this month, not to mention the craziness of working full-time sales, helping someone important to me, rebuilding a business that had been mismanaged (also known as the heftiest side hustle ever), and also trying to be a good human for my dog. We won’t talk about the dust bunnies that have accumulated or the laundry that seems like it will never be done, etc. I’ve never much been one to label myself as a single mom, because I am a mom, period. But, I have been feeling it lately! We are all “busy”. However, these past couple months with unexpected side hustles and crazy work schedules and trips, I am feeling it. Even just to have another person take out the trash or gather up the recycling would seem amazing. So, needless to say, I’ve had some stuff going on. I logged over 400 hours of work last month (yes, you read that correctly, four hundred).
Working all of those hours and having tons of school obligations for my son, all while trying to maintain my health (and sanity for that matter), came with a few lessons.
Let me back this story up a little and get really, really real. Two years ago, I was almost one hundred pounds heavier than I am right now. Life was unbalanced, I was unbalanced. My months were nowhere near as crazy as this last one and I constantly felt like I was coming unglued. I held everything in. Literally. Emotions, physical weight, ALL OF IT. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to be a full-time, overweight yoga teacher? I constantly felt this (mostly self-imposed) pressure of “how in the world can you teach anyone anything?” How could I possibly be effective?
Because progress, not perfection. Because. And here it comes, yoga is not about touching your toes, it is absolutely about what happens on the way down. Read that again. Yoga is about growth, and growth is usually always uncomfortable and messy. Fast forward to now. I have less time, but I have learned so much more. In the craziness of working a million hours and not getting the workouts in like I normally would, I do what I can. I realize now looking back, that maybe I was effective because I was relatable.
Amid all the craziness of now, I have actually taken my laptop to a quiet corner to find my moment of calm. How is this groundbreaking you might ask? Because when you have been overweight, and you get off schedule (and actually see a couple pounds creep back on), you (I) feel like everything has to get done perfectly - workout for at least an hour a day, full yoga practice, sleep, meal prep, meditation. For me, when I was overweight, something would be “off” in my eating or with my workouts and, inevitably, I would start over on Monday. It would have to be perfect or I would seemingly just throw my hands up.
This last month, my workouts and eating have been less than ideal, but what I’ve learned for myself is finding my own calm, even if that is less than 5 minutes, of supporting myself every day. This too shall pass, and it passes a hell of a lot easier when I’m aware of what’s happening and actually choosing to do something for myself each day, even if it is only 2 minutes, with one of these moment of calm videos in a corner by myself (yes, even the teacher needs to be the student).
All this is to say, I have learned a ton. Yes, I can do a handstand. Yes, I can touch my toes. But what is more valuable in the long run are the lessons learned at failing at those things. It’s that supporting myself with a couple minutes of calm is healthier than trying to do everything “perfectly.” I don’t know about you, but when I feel the pressure of having to be perfect, but not having the ideal time or conditions, nine time out of ten, workouts and healthy habits won’t happen at all. Being able to do a handstand doesn’t get me very far in navigating challenging months and life situations but coming back to my moments of calm does. Breathing on purpose does. Having more awareness does.
Life will inevitably always throw you curve balls and or give you opportunities to grow. Is it cool to be able to touch your toes or do some fancy backbend, absolutely! But do you know what’s cooler? Sanity and coming out of a challenging situation with grace. Falling but getting right back up again and again and again.
Thanks for hanging in there with me. We are here to support you, so you can find and create better ways to support yourself.