Teaching yoga is a demanding job. It requires a lot of energy out and if I’m not careful to replenish those stores, I’m left feeling depleted and run down.
To be honest, that’s been my reality lately. My responsibilities have increased and with that shift, so have the demands on my time. Everything feels like an uphill climb. From the time my alarm buzzes me awake until I tumble into bed at night, I am in a constant state of frenzied forward motion. To make matters worse, my Hashimoto’s disease has been flaring badly (no doubt due to an increase in stress). One of the many symptoms I suffer from is unrelenting insomnia. For the past month, I haven’t been able to fall asleep until after 3 am no matter what I try. This only leads to more exhaustion and stress, which fuels the cycle to continue unabated.
I wanted to scream. Or cry. Or both.
Something had to change. I could not go on like this. Of course, I made an appointment to see my doctor so that we can align my medication with the current state of my thyroid’s decline.
Then I got out paper and pen and made two lists:
THINGS I CAN’T CONTROL
THINGS I CAN CONTROL
With regard to the things I can’t control, I made it a point to come to a place of acceptance and then lovingly set that list aside. Burden lifted. It is what it is.
Next, I took a careful look at the second list. This list was filled with the daily tasks and responsibilities that are within my control to change. I scrutinized each item like an IRS agent performing an audit. Where was there “fat” or wasted time? Was there a way I could streamline my workflow and tighten up the way I process things? Which items required timely action and which could be grouped together to be handled later? Was there a way I could get more done during those little gaps in my day, like when I arrive early to class and wait to teach?
I pulled out another piece of paper and drew a grid with the days of the week at the top, broken down into chunks of time below. I scheduled in all of the permanent pieces first (ie. those things that are not within my control to change at this time). Then I fit in everything else. The pieces within my control got added in a way that not only makes sense but also allows me time for the things that refill my well – like journaling, meditation, reading, exercise, etc.
What a difference! I now feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Even though I have yet to face the week and put it all to the test, I feel better just knowing there’s a plan in place. A way to move forward that takes care of me to the best of my ability. It all comes down to self-care.
Can you relate? I know you can because I hear as much nearly every time I teach. Our current culture leaves a great many of us feeling as if we are forever moving uphill. It is my sincerest hope that in sharing this experience you might be spurred to examine your own life with an eye toward streamlining your responsibilities while increasing self-care. In so doing, maybe we can finally crest the summit and skip merrily downhill together.