In my last post I wrote about some struggles that I’ve been having. Today I had my first session with a counselor (thank you to everyone who made recommendations and who reached out – it means the world to me). During the session we talked about self care and stress relief a bit. I described my lifestyle to her (which includes yoga, meditation, eating relatively healthy, no smoking or drinking). For stress relief I’ve most often turned to working out. It’s always allowed me to get the pent up energy out. Do you ever react to situations and find yourself shaking (internally perhaps, or externally)? I always have. And the way I’ve always coped with that is to distance myself from whatever has triggered it and work out. I used to run. I would run so fast sometimes because of that energy was built up inside. It would exhaust it right out of me! I haven’t been able to run for a long time. A recurring problem with my hip meant that wasn’t an option anymore. But then I would do power yoga with lots of jumps into various positions. I would practice jumping back into low plank from standing forward bend, from crow pose, from anything I could think of really. But I ended up with arthritis in my big toe joints so that’s completely out of the question now. But I could still do some pretty tough flow yoga that got me sweating and feeling pretty wrung out. I did this kind of yoga almost everyday up until about a year ago. Slowly, I started doing less until I do more like 3 classes a week now. It would seem the physical release of tension isn’t for me. Message received.
That means new coping strategies. The counselor I spoke to talked about mindfulness. Now, of course I know what mindfulness is, I write about it all the time! And I practice it – you know when things are easy. If you asked some of my yoga students they would tell you that I’ve often talked about doing difficult things in yoga class to prepare us for difficult times off the mat. And I completely believe that. The problem is I’m not doing that. Yes, I’m calling myself out as being a hypocrite. I want people to do as I say, not as I do! I know coping strategies. I know breath work, I know feeling where the tension builds in my body. I know tensing and releasing muscle groups. I know relaxation imagery. I know I can put on music anytime – I have a lot of meditative music. I can take a walk – I don’t have to go fast. Why am I not doing any of this? Why is it that I lose all of my knowledge base when I feel stressed, depressed or angry? It’s like I’m sabotaging myself.
Today I will make a new commitment. Instead of feeling bad about all the things I can’t do to rid myself of stress and anxiety I will start using the tools that are available to me. I will start taking better care of me. And I’ll work on feeling grateful that I can do as much as I can.