Piles. I couldn’t get my mind off of them — endless piles of laundry, unopened mail, and germ-filled tissues that loved to congregate on tables and couches instead of the trash can.
It was a Tuesday morning, my oldest was in school, and my youngest was napping. Yes, napping (cue Hallelujah chorus). These days, her naps are few and far between, so to say this is a coveted time would be an understatement. I willingly collapsed and sunk into the couch for a brief moment of reprieve. The past few weeks have been tough. I feel like my family has been in an endless cycle of winter colds, a variety of flu viruses have circulated through every member of the household. We are out of sync, and as a result things are out of order.
In addition, my OCD symptoms have been starting to increase lately, making it increasingly hard for me to tackle overwhelming tasks. These tasks turn into piles. It is easy for me to worry and obsess over the piles, but it takes some willpower for me to take action and begin to sift through things that may cause me anxiety. I am constantly seeking order, and if things have spiraled into chaos (or what I consider to be chaos) I often choose fight or flight, and it is easier for me to flee. I have been working to break these patterns with much success; however, lately I have been faltering.
Anyway, while my toddler is napping and I engage in a little self-talk. After all, I am making a conscious effort to try to be a healthier and in turn happier mom. This past month, I began practicing yoga after a year’s hiatus. Due to a doctor’s appointment, I missed my session this week, so I figured I should try to squeeze in a yoga video at home. [Sidebar: I really enjoy Leslie Fightmaster’s channel, Fightmaster Yoga on YouTube.] I found a video that was focused for stress and depression and dedicated the next 38 minutes to it. It felt great. Afterwards, I drank a ton of water, I sifted through my piles of unopened mail. I paid bills, did laundry, and when my baby woke up I greeted her with a smile and ample attention for the taking.
I was focused on the idea that yoga was solely for relief — a tool for decompression, something I needed. Instead, I should view yoga as something I have. Yoga is a tool at my disposal, something to help prepare or cope with the world. Something I can use to be proactive, not reactive. A gift that I am giving myself to strengthen my mentality and physicality to deal with life. I had been looking at yoga wrong. In fact, the week before I became annoyed that after yoga I had an extremely stressful day. I believe I even said that my yoga session went to waste. How wrong I was.
Finding balance throughout the day is essential when it comes to coping with stress and living the best way I can. I started thinking about a child’s school day. It is structured with breaks, transitions, ebbs and flows that make the time pass and time as productive as possible, time to recharge and reset. Things happen that are beyond our control. There are things we can control. I am going to embrace those things with a loving and confident hand and equip myself to handle the tough things with support.
Of course, these “things” go beyond piles of bills or laundry. Problems, heartache, tragedies, and struggles become piles in our lives and minds. I need to remember to keep going and take what we can as help or tools become available and try to conquer. Every day you try is a fight — no matter how small or large the obstacle. Self-care helps to strengthen, cope, and conquer. This is why taking care of myself has become a priority.
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