New Feature: Monday Motivation!

There’s just something about Mondays, right? I like to think they can set the tone for the rest of the week, so I’m introducing a new category for the blog- Monday Motivation!

First thing on Monday morning I’ll post something I find motivating with a sentence or two about how I plan to act on it. I really hope some of you will join in in the comments with your own ideas. Let’s start our weeks off on the awesome foot!


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Today I’m going to add extra time to my self-care activities: 5 minutes to meditation, 10 minutes to yoga, and 30 minutes to reading.

What can you do to make today the best?

Forget Perfection and Make it Work!

Recently, I outlined what a perfect morning routine looks like to me, and how I planned to start implementing it right away. That’s all well and good on a morning when I’m working from home, but what about when I’m in the office? Here’s some things you might not know about me:

  1. I have a long commute, on a good day I can get to and from work in just under an hour. On a bad day, 90+ minutes.
  2. I use public transportation, and it takes two trains, buses, or a combination to get me from Chi to Evanston with waits for each, plus just under two miles of walking (each way). My actual time on any given train or bus is generally less than 20 minutes (less than 10 on the purple line).

So, I definitely get how difficult it can be to fit in self-care in the morning!

Today “should” have been a 45-minute run followed by stretching and a moderately long seated meditation. Only I had a client first thing, and there’s no way I’m getting up at 5:00 am. Not gonna happen.

This morning wasn’t going to be perfect, but there was still time for better self-care than just a quick mindfulness meditation. I did 10 minutes of yoga while my yerba mate steeped, and then I drank the tea on my yoga mat and wrote in a journal.

In which our intrepid heroine attempts parallel feet at Howard terminal while waiting for the train
In which our intrepid heroine attempts parallel feet at Howard terminal while waiting for the train

Then I got creative. I had almost 10 minutes to wait for each train this morning; a perfect opportunity to practice Tadasana!* My yoga teacher likes to say that Tadasana, “is an everything pose, or a nothing pose”. I like to use the time I spend waiting for my train to arrive to make it an everything pose.

It’s this kind of flexibility that leads to better self-care. If you wait for everything to be perfect, you’re never going to get started.

How about you? Any clever ways you sneak in some extra care on busy days?


*This is not an endorsement for yoga journal and I am not a yoga teacher. I cannot overstate how strongly I believe that yoga should be learned in person from a qualified professional.

 

 

Show Some Love

The weather in Chicago has gone bananas today (big shock, right?) and I took a restorative yoga class this morning, so I’m in an introspective mood right now.

Have you seen the news ad campaign Whole Foods Market* put out recently? There’s one that I stop and stare at every time I walk past it:

Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love

That simple phrase gets right to the heart of much of the work I’ve been doing and writing about.

For so many years I asked demanded so much from my body, and gave so little back in return. My self-care routine for my first five years of massage practice was eating “healthy” (lots of convenience food, which was all-natural, but still), getting a massage once a month or so, and riding my bike. I had no creative pursuits outside of my profession, and I spent tons of time sitting on my couch and watching T.V.

I want to be very careful to be clear right now, none of that made me a bad person, and it doesn’t mean I deserved the injury I sustained. For my body, that just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t allowing myself as much self-care as I needed and deserved.

That’s why I love that ad so much. What all of my adventuring the past two years has boiled down to is this: I am showing my body that I love it. Slowly, day by day, I am learning to thrive.


*In the interest of full disclosure, my spouse is an employee of Whole Foods Market. They did not pay me to write this and I’m pretty sure I would love this campaign just as much if my household had no affiliation with the store whatsoever.

 

Think Community

The first yoga class I ever took was a free community class held by Patricia Hyland on Sunday evenings. It was an amazing introduction to yoga; Patricia was so warm and welcoming, plus it was free! I have also gone to some amazing community meditation classes and events.

One of the aspects of yoga and meditation that resonates most strongly with me is the idea of community and generosity that so many studios and individuals embrace. In spite of needing to make a living*, there are so many options out there for people with limited means to still get the benefits of attending these types of classes and workshops.

Once again, our friend the Internet makes it easier than ever to find local resources. Just use the search engine of your choice and search for “free (yoga/meditation) your city” and give a couple classes a try. Here’s a website listing free and donation yoga classes for Chicago.


*It was such a good day when I realized that I had enough money to start paying for classes again. I get more out of them because I am paying in time and money now, so I am even more present. Plus, it feels great to make a financial contribution toward someone else living their dream.