A really weird thing happened this week. Conforming to my typical trend of committing to new healthy lifestyle changes, after a few weeks the yoga went the same way as all the other fads I’ve tried over the years to “make positive changes” in my life. Come off it! Yoga? Really Emma? Who was I kidding?! Bye bye yoga! I hate that I’m so predictable.
Just like I had struggled to cope with the changes with the Stay At Home orders, it seemed now I was preoccupied with the idea of going to work. Don’t get me wrong, part of me was so excited to get back into the classroom and meet new people. But you’ve all seen the arguments for schools doing in person versus virtual teaching. As a parent and a school employee my mind was conflicted on the best way forward.
However, covid hibernation has given me plenty of time for “soul searching” and “inward reflection” about how I approach life and its adventures. One of the revelations was that, although I would love to be considered spontaneous and adaptable, (who wouldn’t be?) I really struggle with accepting change. I apparently crave predictability in life. This surprised me as I am very unorganized and often running back to my house to fetch my lunch or keys or kids! Life always seemed to be one big rush.
However, after a bit of that reflection malarky I saw it: I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to embrace the need for routine. In my experience from being around my autistic friends, the need for structure and consistency that autism often requires, also helped me function effectively too. I realized although I’m not autistic, I enjoyed having a set framework to my day. Unexpected changes made those around me uncomfortable and therefore, I unconsciously began to enjoy the reliability and reassurance that predictability brings. This explained why I had been so anxious as the pandemic suddenly imposed sweeping changes to everyone’s lives. Work life, school life, vacations and social activities, grocery shopping. Everything was changed. Geez, I didn’t even know if there would ever be toilet paper again! And it also helped me recognize that part of my anxiety at returning to work (aside from the increased exposure to a deadly virus and potential for hospital bills) was that the ending of my quarantine also signaled another re-shaping of my daily routine. Feck!
So I did what I do best in these situations: throw all self care methods out of the window, seek consolation in chocolate and not sleep for worrying.
And yoga? Who was I trying to kid?! I’d filled my Instagram full of beautiful yoga types whose incredibly complicated poses had me turning my phone upside down trying to work out where on earth their lithe limb attached to their beautifully toned body. Here I was full of embarrassment, awkwardly trying to contort myself even in the comfort and privacy of my own living room before anyone was up. Yes, these yogis inspired me. Yes, I wanted to emulate their success but frankly I still needed to put my hands on the floor to get up from sitting criss cross apple sauce for 30 seconds.
Before the anxiety got the better of me, I was usually doing up to an hour, five days a week. I messed around with the music I’d listen to whilst doing it to find the perfect vibe for my transcendental quest. Pan pipes were a bit too new agey for me and Luke Bryan got me involuntarily shaking it for him too much which seemed counter productive for my static holds. I found I liked classical but discovered my favorite by far, was piano music. A bit of Einaudi was wonderful. It became the perfect start to my day. Yes, it gave me a sense of peace and purpose, and who doesn’t enjoy a humble brag even if it’s to yourself as there’s no one around but I genuinely liked knowing I was doing something healthy.
I’d even gone as far as buying the t-shirt…well, yoga leggings or pants as they call them here. But let’s be honest, if I were to brave sunlight in my shiny new active wear, I would be more likely be featured in “People of Walmart” posts than any aspirational yoga type article. Who was I trying to kid indeed!
Obviously, the diet went straight out the window too under the guise of allowing for all the birthday cake. Finally liberated from the constraints of the Weight Watchers app, I started feeling sluggish from all the excess deliciousness I was devouring now. I’m the queen of self sabotage and this is how in late July, the yoga practice landed unceremoniously on top of that discarded diet!
So I went back to work. Despite my apprehension, it was great. Everyone was friendly (and socially distancing compliant). Talking to people about things other than Minecraft, and SCP’s was wonderful. Holey Moley, I was tired by the end of each day-I’d forgotten how much brain power meeting people and working involved but it was exciting to be back at it. With my new insight, I hastily planned my new routine: get up, coffee, shower, wake kids, abandon kids, work, come home to loving family who’ve missed me (turns out the dog is the only one who rushes to greet me), find abandoned plates and drinking vessels, complete spelling tutorials, cook dinner, put washing on, tidy up, and Netflix. Oh sweet routine! Thank you for hugging me tight when I need it. But wait….I told you something weird happened this week….
My routine didn’t feel quite right….something was missing….
Bloody hell!! The yoga! It seems although I thought I’d banished yoga to the list of failed lifestyle changes and had made peace with that, yoga had not done with me. It kept creeping into my mind, distracting me from Facebook. Wanting an explanation for our break up. We were good together it kept whispering…I tried explaining it was just a fling and meant nothing: a mere distraction from covid. That I never stay in relationships with exercise as they’re always too needy. But it wouldn’t take no for an answer. Yoga kept reminding me of all the good times we’d shared in our brief encounter. How it made me feel so relaxed by clearing my mind. I countered I’d always faked the clearing the mind bit. I never once achieved that…I was always counting instead. But I couldn’t deny the relaxation it boasted of. So we’re giving it another go….I’ve said one day at a time and we may not spend as much time together as before. We’re not ready for any kind of Facebook Official status shennanigans but may be we do have something special. We started again slowly midweek and the spark has been well and truly reignited. My routine feels right.
So this post was for a bit of accountability. I still keep laughing and asking myself “Yoga tho? Really Emma?” Yes, it seems however unlikely, yoga has unexpectedly given me peace or a brain break-whatever you want to call it. I think it’s really important with the way everything feels so stressful at the minute to find these activities that basically soothe the soul. I need my calm place. I need something to quieten my mind from all the anxieties life seems to be throwing at us. The kids are due to return to class on Wednesday. Virtually at least for the next six weeks. I still haven’t quite made peace with that decision. So I’m going to try keep up with the yoga because like Reo Speedwagon says I can’t fight this feeling anymore that it’s helping me. I’m going to need something to distract me even if it’s just for half an hour. Apparently I’m not quite ready to hang up my yoga pants.
But do not fear, my procrastination sensibilities have not been abandoned quite yet…I’ve still got to re-open that damn Weight Watchers app. I did make a salad the other day but then school only went and gave us an ice cream! Who could say no to that…I’m sure a lot of people but not me- it was bloody lovely!
Anyway, what’s your calm place? Can I steal it? If it’s not chocolate, I may need it for helping me with the diet one day….