There are days in all our lives when we feel run down, spread too thin, lost, without purpose, or just tired. I become tired often, so often it is as though I live in a perpetual state of tiredness. During these times or days or maybe weeks, it is common to question personal decisions. I remind myself to slow down, take a step back from my thoughts, and get in touch with reality. The questions (doubts) still pop up, but I take time to dig deeper so I do not make drastic decisions in the heat of the moment.
How do I really feel? Am I feeling or thinking like this because of fatigue or is it real? What can I do to better this situation? Is my frustration worth it? WHY did I begin this certain activity, and what did I plan to get out of it? If I give it up, will I feel lighter afterwards or regret my decision?
I have lived in a smaller city for a year and a half and began teaching yoga almost immediately following the move. To say that it has taken a while to develop a group of consistent students would be a major understatement. Over the past 13 months (minus 6 weeks of maternity leave), I have gathered only about 6-10 regular students total in different locations. I have a connection to each location and appreciate the yogis who schedule in class as a part of their routine. However, it is not always consistent. I have cancelled classes more often than I have wanted due to having an infant whose needs are sporadic. He is an infant, and his needs are my very first priority. And there have been MANY other times when I show up to teach, and no one shows. Before the baby, no shows were annoying but nothing to get worked up about. Still not getting worked up, no shows are now highly inconvenient to my breastfed baby and me.
After several conversations with my husband (and with myself), I wisely decided to let some classes dissolve for a few months, maybe several months. My hope is that the yoga classes left will be bigger, more inclusive, and never cancelled. My bigger hope is that this will cause less rushing around for Lucca and me. He deserves a mother who is calm, rested, and whole.
I feel I was also holding on to false hope: empty promises of people coming to class, trying to handle too much with a young baby, not allowing myself to receive help, and not contributing any financial help to our family while running around to class with no students. I was trying to do too much, even though it wasn’t much at all. I advertised in the paper and online, marketed through Facebook, and shared my yoga offerings by word of mouth. The effort was there, but the yogis were not. This went on for over a year, and very, very few students appeared. In the future, I hope the demand for more classes is present and the curiosity of yoga is alive.
It is not ideal to step back from something I am so passionate about – sharing the love of yoga. But this is what is best at the moment. I will now teach one class a week with a few pop-up classes once or twice a month.
During the weeks of questioning my schedule, I realized I had not given myself the time I needed to recover from childbirth. There was healing to be done, rest to be had, and help I had to learn to ask for. My personal yoga practice is limited, and I need to get in touch with it in order to teach others. I need to rest when the baby rests, instead of packing for class and literally running around to get things in order. The baby does not always nap in his swing, and I have had to accept – AND CHERISH – the sweet moments I hold him while he sleeps. While he sleeps on my chest, I can read, make grocery lists, or write this blog. My mother-in-law now comes over two afternoons a week so I am able to clean, do laundry, or pump breastmilk. It has never been easy for me to ask for help, and I wish I practiced it more when I was pregnant.
I’m strangely excited to have more time at home with my baby boy. I say strangely because I am a stay-at-home mother. But now, we have more freedom! There is no rush to get things done or no stress over his missing a nap and worrying how I’ll lead a class with an overtired baby. I am able to use my yoga and honor my thoughts, feelings, and ideas. If we don’t have a smooth day, we can go for a walk that both of us need without having to limit time in nature.
When you question yourself, take a step back. Are you thinking this way because of current stress, temporary setbacks, or not enough sleep? Or are you questioning your state because of something deeper? It is important to look at WHY you are feeling a certain way and if it is temporary or not. When you give yourself space to think and discuss your feelings, you are able to determine your needs more clearly.