The past months for me have been eye opening. As most of you know I am nine plus months pregnant right now. My due date has passed. Also for those of you that personally know me, you know that I don’t have a “rest” button. My life typically has been go-go-go. From work, to teaching yoga, to practicing yoga, to traveling I never really allowed myself much down time. Weekends rarely consisted of doing nothing. And if they did, I felt lazy and unaccomplished. The past nine months have truly
forced enabled me to slow it down.
One of the things that I learned from slowing down is to LISTEN more to my body. Before it was not uncommon for me to stay up late, wake up early, get home late and do it all over again. The amount of sleep I have received since becoming pregnant has been much needed and appreciated. I read an article once that said if you had to pick between getting eight hours of sleep or getting five and waking up to go to the gym – choose sleep. It is crazy what a good night’s sleep does for your body. For me six hours was an average night before and now it’s more like eight or nine. My five times plus a week yoga practice has dwindled down to two or three but I feel great. I wake up feeling truly refreshed and recharged.
Everything for me has become slow these days. I walk much slower than before, things take me longer. While this can be frustrating some times, I have actually grown to appreciate it. My yoga practice is completely different from before. I can’t move quickly with a belly in the way. But instead what I can do, while different than before, has taught me so much. When I am on my mat I truly have different intentions now and am more in tune with my body. When you are able to tune in and not just go through the motions things show themselves in a different light.
Winter is a time of darkness. The days are shorter, in general the climate is colder. A lot of animals go into hibernation in the winter time. It is a perfect time of year to SLOW DOWN. You too can use this season for a “hibernation” of sorts. It is a perfect season to take more time for yourself to reflect. Slowing down can help you become more in tune with your needs and wants. January is typically a time for resolutions, to set the stage for a new beginning. Use winter as a season to open your eyes to what is around you, set goals, evaluate what you hope to accomplish or even purge from your life. It is a time to sit in the darkness and reassess and reset.
For the first time in a long time I don’t feel guilty about “doing nothing”. I haven’t beat myself up about not making it to yoga. Or having a cookie (or two!). I haven’t used my pregnancy as an excuse to let myself go but I have used it as an excuse to slow myself down. Being a girl that is VERY independent and is used to doing most things on her own LETTING my husband take care of me has been a nice change of pace (he might be sick of it by now though?!). But the difference is I know deep down I need this more than ever before. I need to slow down to prepare for what’s to come.
Spring is a time when everything grows in the light. The days are longer, the earth is greener, plants and flowers and even the animals reemerge from the darkness. Life cycles begin again. But they are not the same. Everything is reenergized and fresh. Just like nature we are offered the same opportunity. We can use winter as a time to reflect, slow down and then enter the new season recharged and with a new lease on life.
Don’t feel guilty about giving yourself time to do nothing. Say no to people a little more. That doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you self AWARE. Aware enough to know that you need time to decompress, to slow down, to reset yourself for what’s to come. And don’t feel like you need an excuse to do so. While my body is totally different now than it ever has, the mental clarity I have from actually slowing down and deep thinking is completely worth it. So this winter I encourage you to take a step back, even block off your calendars, say you are “busy” and by being “busy” it can be synomous for “busy taking care of myself”. That way when spring arrives you are ready to come in refreshed and recharged to deal with whatever lemons life might give you!