I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately.
I think it’s due to the anxiety that comes with any new transition, whether I’m aware of it or not. As I lay in bed, my mind races with new items to add to my to-do list: the work I need to get done, the personal things I want to make time for. Then suddenly it’s 1 AM and I have to be up in 5 hours, so I’m anxious about not being able to sleep! You might find this cycle familiar.
At school, my field seminar professor has instructed our class to do one thing in the name of “self-care” per week. This could be meditation, reading a book for pleasure, going out to eat with a friend.
This morning, I set my alarm 30 minutes early so I would have time for a 20 minute yoga podcast. (I’ve had the same free podcasts since college, and never get tired of them.) Despite not having slept enough- I know I function best with at least 8 hours- I popped right up.
Before I got sick, I practiced yoga regularly, both at home and in classes. But the illness left my body pretty week initially, my muscles atrophied. Although I’m back to feeling like my usual self, I never got my body back into “yoga shape” again. Why? I was scared. I was afraid it would be too hard, that I would be way behind the friends and strangers in my class. I had a whole list of excuses.
But when my professor explained that as social workers, we need to have an outlet to relieve stress and check in with ourselves too, in addition to our clients- she is a big proponent of meditation, and begins each of our sessions with closed-eye breathing exercises- I knew it was time to bring yoga back into my life. It wouldn’t be about “getting into shape,” or meeting the weekly exercise quota I arbitrarily demanded of myself. It would be about giving myself twenty minutes of deep breaths and stretches, a vehicle to relaxation to help me set the tone for the day.
And so this morning found me in the dark, cross-legged in my living room, deeply inhaling and exhaling as snow fell outside my window. It was a small gift to myself, but a generous one nonetheless.