This February marks the end of a full year we have lived with coronavirus. And wow it has been hard. Hard physically, mentally, emotionally.
I have spent a lot of time trying to nurture my marriage and friendships so that they can be a safe space from all the other hard moments. After all the energy I have put into taking care of everything, I have been struggling to remember to take care of myself. So this month, I am practicing radical self-love.
For me, this looks like not punishing myself if I need to skip the gym on the days I cruelly tell myself have been “fat days.” Self-love also looks like pushing myself to workout when I’ve had an extra bad day because working out is still part of my self-care. It looks like examining my relationships with destructive behaviors that I have given too much power this past year, such as drinking alcohol on a stressful day, eating a ton of sugar when I’m bored, and online shopping for things I don’t need.
Another self-love thing I am trying is to talk about the things I am grateful for, so I remember it. The number one thing I am grateful for right now? My dogs. I don’t think I would have enjoyed all these weekends spent bingeing The Queen’s Gambit if I didn’t get to cuddle with two furballs. I am also grateful for my clarity. When I first started working out years ago, I was about 20 lbs heavier and it never crossed my mind I could be in better shape. When I started really getting into fitness, I loved the feeling of seeing my muscles and buying smaller clothes. Now I sometimes wish I never started because it’s hard to not chase that feeling of “look how good I could look.” But I am realizing that I need to stop worrying about that feeling and instead worry about what my body and mind need. My body needs exercise to feel good; my body doesn’t need to be a few pounds lighter to feel good.
It’s time for me to clear the noise in my head so this month I decided to try out some yoga. In the past I would have punished myself for choosing a yoga class instead of a HIIT class if I haven’t worked out the day before because I wanted to burn more calories. This is something I am learning to let go, even if the ONLY class I take that week is yoga.
There are plenty of classes for yoga beginners on Merritt On Demand (such as Yoga Fundamentals) but I chose a 60-minute Vinyasa Yoga with Jennifer Brock. This class was cleansing and relaxing and also so much more work than I thought it would be. Not because I haven’t been working out, but because I have only been working out my body. I can’t believe how difficult it was for me to get through even ten minutes without checking my phone or playing with my dogs (although you will see with this video that they don’t exactly leave me alone either… But please note the cute filter I put on the video! Playing with Instagram filters make things worth doing if I can make cool posts about it with new filters.)
I’ve gotten so restless that I can’t focus on anything anymore. This class was my wake-up call. After I gave myself the full hour, I felt lighter. And like I needed to do a lot of work on quieting my mind and being in control when my thoughts are running wild. I know yoga can help with that if I let it. The struggle is letting it.
Yoga is a such great practice for absolutely anyone, and I would encourage you to try it many times before giving up on it if you must. It was part of my regular fitness routine for over a year before COVID and I didn’t really notice any difference until I stopped going; I realized my body felt sore, tight, and restless. I’m making a promise to myself to get back to yoga because I desperately need to release the tension and quiet my mind again. I am grateful that I realized that and grateful that I took this class.
Merritt Clubs On Demand is available to members via the Merritt app.