If you are anything like me there are more balls in the air than you care to admit. From the first moment I open my eyes in the morning to the time I lay my head back down, I am running from one thing to the next with very little down time. Burnout is always just a short-step behind, and the requests keep on coming. So, how do we as parents get out of the "rat race" of work, emails to teachers, shopping trips, drop offs, and Zoom meetings? I can't say I have the answers, but I can ofter a few suggestions. (And maybe even commit to these myself.)
Sthira & Sukha
In yoga, the concepts of sthira and sukha provide consideration for the balance of "effort" and "ease" in our practice on the mat, and in life. Sthira which is a derivative for "steel" reflects the effort we put forth. Sukha is the more passive of the two denoting letting go and releasing effort. We can't have one without the other, and a balance of both is in our best interests. I think somewhere on a visceral level we know this. It's putting these principles into practice that proves challenging. As with most things, awareness is the first step to making change.
Baby Steps to Find Balance
Most babies don't just up and walk one day. There is a process of rolling over, creeping, crawling, and pulling up before the final when walking without holding on begins. To think that we can become aware of a problem, then change it instantly doesn't make much sense either. Here are a few steps to get you started. Think of this as gentle guidance from one parent to another.
Need an example? I am a very work-driven individual. In high school, I was an AP student who worked 2 jobs and wrote novels in my free time. Now I am a Mom of 3 with 3 jobs who writes novels in my free time. I don't watch TV. I rarely sit down to rest. And I work so much, I only see my family in passing. On my one day off a week, I clean the house, do laundry, scrub toilets, help with landscaping, and take yoga CE programs. I do.not.stop. How do I balance this out? I burn myself out, have to take emergency time off, spend a day or two in bed, then get right back into it again. My balancing practice would be to sit and meditate, listen to my mind activity, write down what popped up and then further write about these topics to get to the bottom of why I feel I need to work so hard. Get it?
Start today. Take 5 minutes to meditate and see what comes up. Let me know!
There was a point a few weeks after my youngest child was born where I had gone into a low and dark place. I constantly worried that my baby would get hurt and generally felt immobilized by this fear. My anxiety kept me up at night and left me restless during the day. I decided to head to Google to see if there was any information about what I could do.
This is when I first came across #imomsohard. At this time the program was offered on YouTube and I watched a video where Kristen and Jen joked about how they felt in the first weeks postpartum. I started to laugh and instantly felt seen and heard. Not only did these ladies get it, they approached the content boldly and with comedy. This became a turning point for me, and I found myself being able to feel stronger and more in control of myself.
Now a hit a podcast, #imomsohard is a MUST for parents. From vaginal injury to dealing with preteen angst, there is not topic they won't cover. Their banter and ability to see the humor in just about everything has kept me standing as a mom since I came across them. As a yoga teacher who services families, I always recommend this podcast. It may not have the educational content that some families are looking for, but it's a whole lot of fun. Even on my worst of days, I have cracked a smile and laughed out loud while listening to these two, tough moms.
Give 'em a try, and let me know what you think!
Listen to #imomsohard
P.S. This is NOT a sponsored blog post. It is my honest opinion about what works from a parent who has seen a lot and wants to support others.
If you took a look at the title of this blog post and scoffed, "Meditate in one minute? What is that going to do for me?" I'm here to tell you. A lot! It is common that our lives are so full that 10 or 15 minutes uninterrupted time can be a lot to ask of ourselves and those around us. This can be a deterrent to meditation. Even one minute of meditation carved into our busy lives can help us switch gears, calm our nervous systems, and gain some clarity.
Still don't believe me? Try this. Sit in a comfy spot, close your eyes, and count to 60. Done already? My friend, you just meditated for 1 minute. Meditation can certainly be more sophisticated, but it also doesn't always have to be. There are also a whole host of apps that can provide short, guided meditations or set timers to your desired meditation time.
My advice to anyone who wants to start to meditate is to start slow and start small. Gradually build over time, and be consistent. Below are a few of the benefits of meditated every day. Good luck and enjoy!
Benefits of Daily Meditation
As a prenatal yoga teacher, every so often I get asked how to activate or engage the core during pregnancy. Although not the easier to do, it IS possible to find some core engagement during pregnancy especially if that is important to you. And, no, we are not doing this with deep crunches and sit-ups. Core engagement in pregnancy can be done subtly and with breath. The good news is that when we can find some core stability in pregnancy, this can help with balance while pregnant and support recovery during the postpartum period. Below is an easy way to engage the core when or if you are interested.
Not pregnant? No worries. This method works for anyone whether you are pregnant or not...and at any age. Even kids can have fun with this one! Enjoy, and let me know how it goes.
This type of breathing automatically engages the core and draws your baby (or abdominal wall) in towards you. There is no need to strain, push and pull to get there. Have fun with this one!
Hi, I'm Valerie Kacian! I am a mom of three and a yoga teacher. I am also a writer who doesn't write enough. This is my way of giving you the answers you are looking for and also to keep in touch with my first baby, writing.