“Angie, how was your practice today?” my instructor asked as I left my hot yoga class recently.
“I hated it for the first 15 minutes,” I said with a smile. “But, I’m coming back on Saturday. If I only hate it for 14 minutes, I’ll call that progress.”
He flashed a knowing smile back at me; he was a beginner at one point in his life, too. He knows that discomfort is typically an unenjoyable experience and that the reward comes through patience, persistence, and perseverance.
I’m choosing to practice yoga as part of my journey to cultivate behaviors that allow me to be my best in COVID times. I know that in this pandemic I’ll continue to encounter challenges. Also, I know that people – clients, friends, family, my children – are looking to me for an example. I want to be in a place to honestly and authentically be positive and optimistic, which can be a struggle when it seems that lately we’re surrounded by so much negativity.
Year of Growth
I also want to remember this next year of my life as one of profound growth … not profound frustration. I know how much change can happen in a year – like last year when I went through a divorce. That massive life upheaval process took at least 12 months before I settled into my new context. Having experienced that much growth in such a relatively short time frame, I have a newfound appreciation for how much change can happen if you’re intentional about it.
In addition to yoga, which is helping me quiet my mind and feel more inspired, I’m developing these practices to help me strive for better emotions amidst COVID.
- Journaling first thing in the morning (before I check my phone, and power up my computer). In my journal, I’m listing three things I’m grateful for … even if it’s just a cup of hot coffee on my bedside table.
- Deleting social media apps off my phone so when I’m waiting around, I don’t have to be distracted by political arguments on Facebook or manufactured outrage. When I tune down the noise, I tune into peace and quiet.
- Saying “yes” to things I typically say “no” to … like, “Mom, will you jump into the cold lake with me?” or “Do you want to watch me play Fortnite?” My “yes’s” will hopefully lead to more interesting experiences that open my mind and enhance my life.
- Significantly cutting back on wine from my life, which is a big one for me. At the risk of sounding like a drunk, I have to admit that I love wine so much. A glass at the end of the day is my way of saying “You tried hard today, girl … good job!” Knowing alcohol is a depressant, and knowing that we’re living in a pretty depressed COVID world, I don’t need things to weigh me down. I need to look for things to pick me up.
Fight Against Habits
If you can’t tell by the list, I’m going to be putting up a pretty good fight against some of the habits I’ve been building for a very long time, many of which I’ve grown quite accustomed to. Some hold me back … and the new ones? Well, I’m hoping they will bring me greater peace, strength, and joy in my life.
My best hope for you is that you find something, beyond the constraints of living that COVID brings, that might make you uncomfortable but hopefully lead to greater experiences, growth, and more optimism. If you’re on this journey, too, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to learn about the changes you’re seeking to make and how you’re being intentional about enacting them.