It seems counterintuitive that life should be so hectic in the Winter months. Isn’t it supposed to be a time for drinking tea on the couch, knitting, and watching endless cooking shows?
This is my fifth Winter in Melbourne (crazy!) and every year, the months of May – August are my busiest. I think there are two main factors at play here:
- Melbourne is cold or cool for at least six months of the year, so when it’s warm, people want to go outside. From the week before Christmas to the end of January, the city slows to a crawl and everyone heads to the beach. I’ve yet to figure out how so many people can take six weeks off work to go and stay at their beach houses in Appollo Bay or Dromana.
- The Australian tax year starts on 1 July. Since I my business provides yoga for people cooped up in offices, this affects me: everyone is in their new budget year and looking for ways to spend on health and wellness. I love that they choose yoga!
What this does mean, though, is that in the months when my energy is lower, I am always working hardest.
It’s got me to thinking about how easy it is to do – overdo, even.
And how hard it sometimes gets to just be.
Doing is a peculiar form of laziness: it’s staying in a whirlwind of activity so that you don’t have to confront the fact that the world doesn’t stop without you, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t answer that email right away, and a few dirty dishes never killed anyone.
I probably fail at my ‘being’ practice more often than I succeed, but when I get it right, my quality of life is so much better.
Here are 7 elements of my strategy for just being:
- Life first, then work. This means I limit my working week to 50-60 hours, and the rest of the time is offline, for the people I care about, and exercise.
- Weekends are for family and friends. These days, I very seldom teach on the weekend unless it’s for a special event like a retreat, and I prioritise my social and family life over work and further education. I am a workaholic and this is hard for me, but if I don’t act as though it’s my first priority, then clearly it isn’t, you know?
- Meditate. It’s like a reset for the craziness inside my head. Even just a few minutes helps.
- Unplug. I’ve been spending much less time on social networks like Facebook, and am less anxious because of that. It’s so easy to start believing that there is real urgency to ‘liking’ someone’s status or replying to a comment. It adds stress that doesn’t need to be there. That said, I must admit I get anxious that people are going to forget about me if I am NOT on Facebook or Pinterest, or whatever. It’s a balancing act, I guess.
- No computer after 9pm. Ha! I only do this when someone else is around to enforce it. But it’s one of the single biggest factors in making sure I sleep well and feel rested the next day.
- Spend time alone, and spend time with your right people.
- Make sure you see the sky every day. Not through a window. Leave the house. Go for a walk. Often a walk will decompress me in a way that yoga can’t, because I run my business from home, and when I am doing my yoga, I often feel a sense of urgency about getting back to it. Whereas with a walk, I usually leave my phone behind, and it’s like an hour of sanctuary. Nobody can find me, I can’t check email…it’s GREAT. I get hundreds of emails every day, so this is a really important way for me to remember that I can only do what I can do. No more.