I have never been very good at taking time off or giving myself downtime without a serious guilt trip accompanying said downtime. From the time I was a kid I would go, go, go, go until I crashed and burned and had to rest. For most of the spring and summer I worked seven days a week. I realized that moving into fall I needed to make some changes to my schedule. I needed to have at least one day off each week. I am a recovering people-pleaser, and my job centers around taking care of others. Despite my fears of upsetting my clients or, worst case scenario (which my mind likes to jump to in a nanosecond), losing clients, I took a long, hard look at my schedule to figure out how to create space for at least one full day off each week.
Here’s the thing about yoga teachers, at least in NYC, most of us teach six or seven days a week. We love what we do, giving up our evenings and weekends to provide our students with classes that fit around their work and social schedules. We commute to multiple different studios and clients’ homes every day, which is amazing when the weather is beautiful and draining in the depths of winter or peak of summer. We are humans, and just like our students, we need time to take care of ourselves so that we don’t show up to teach depleted and grumpy.
Knowing full well that if I was going to continue to sustain myself teaching yoga I had to make some shifts in my packed schedule, I dug deep to find the courage to approach my clients about changing the times and/or days we met. In reality, very little shifting had to occur to allow for two full days off each week. The strongest response I received was mild disappointment. I did not lose any of my private clients, and I am better rested and prepared every time we meet.
I still struggle with fully relaxing, guilt-free on my days off, but I am realizing how important it is to have downtime. I have more time and energy to do things with friends, take classes for myself, cook and bake so that I have healthy meals and snacks on days that I do not have time to prepare meals, tend to my apartment so it feels more like a sanctuary and less like a tornado spun through it, and simply rest. I’m realizing how important rest is. I’m not twenty anymore, capable of running on little sleep and lots of coffee for days and days. And, I have more time to write. I needed a break from writing and blogging, but I have found myself missing both as of late. With my new schedule, I’m hoping to carve out time each week to return to this blog, sharing my ponderings and experiences teaching and practicing yoga.