Just a Mom
I had never heard the term “self care” until I became a mother. Prior to growing and bringing life into this world, I had always looked out for numero uno. I knew my priorities were going to shift once we brought home our little bundles of poop and vomit (aka, our daughters,) I just didn’t know how much they’d shift. The first few years have been all about survival, treading water to keep from drowning in all things babies bring into your life. My world revolved around my babies, and unless it was a Netflix show at night or a hair appointment booked six months in advance, there was little to no time I to myself.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom, and my world does revolve around my family, but having struggled with depression and anxiety my entire adult life (and probably childhood if we’re being honest) I felt myself going through an identity crisis. I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom, but at what point did I go from being Sara an intelligent, independent wife and mother, to just a mom? I was losing myself, I felt claustrophobic and was getting frustrated over the silliest things. I didn’t like who I was becoming, so before I completely lost track of myself I decided to make some changes. I made an appointment with a therapist, started taking a new medication for my anxiety and depression and started going to yoga.
Limited Yoga Knowledge
Up until a couple months ago, my knowledge of yoga was pretty limited. I had heard a few of the terms like downward dog and warrior pose, but other than a couple days in seventh grade P.E. where we watched a yoga video, I had never actually done yoga. That all changed this summer. It was your typical Friday morning-it was hot and I really didn’t feel like fighting my kids to put sunscreen on. We were all about to lose our minds, and I needed out of the house. Going to my local YMCA has turned into an oasis of sorts; I can zone out on the treadmill listening to a podcast while my girls play with new toys and kids at the free childcare. Since I’m usually dressed like I’m headed to the gym anyway (because being a mom is basically a day long workout) I loaded everyone into the minivan and we went to the Y. But this Friday was different. When I went to drop off my darling angels at the childcare there was a group of ladies waiting outside the aerobics room holding yoga mats. I really love and appreciate group fitness classes, so I thought Why not? How hard can it be, I’ll give it a try.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
The room was cool, the lights were off, and the music playing was what I imagine is played at those high end resort spas that celebrities are always posting about. I grabbed a mat and took a seat. Within seconds I was starting to feel a sense of calm wash over me. The instructor I had, Renae Brobst, was awesome and probably the reason I fell in love with yoga. She started the class by coming around and offering a few drops of essential oils. I’m not sure what the oil was supposed to do, but it definitely helped set the mood of the class. I was starting to get a little nervous that I’d make a fool of myself, but then the class started and Renae was able to describe the different poses in a way that my exhausted mom-brain could comprehend.
Was I perfect and able to do every pose? Nope. Did I stumble, fidget, and get my left leg confused with my right arm? Yes. But I did it, and as I was just starting to get confident in my breathing and poses. We were doing what is called Savasana, which is basically lying on your back, eyes closed, and deep breathing for a few minutes, or heaven if you ask me! The class ended and I felt like a new person. I was relaxed but had new energy; I loved it!
So I came back the next week. And the next week. And before I knew it I was planning my week around my weekly yoga class. I started wearing an essential oil bracelet and doing deep breathing exercises in the car or at home when I could feel my blood pressure start to rise. Each morning I tried to do my own version of Savasana, or meditation, before getting out of bed. I discovered Cosmic Kids online that teaches kids yoga and relaxation techniques, so I could do yoga at home with my toddlers. As I mentioned, having dealt with depression and anxiety I am hyper aware of stressful situations and knew the importance of self soothing tools, but I never felt equipped to actually implement them, until now. I usually dealt with my anxiety by avoiding these situations or just crawling into bed for an hour or two (both are not ideal when you have toddlers and a family depending on you).
Finding the Light
Yoga has given me a new sense of awareness, balance and center. I am by no means an expert, but I treasure those 45 minutes of peace, it makes me a better person, mother and wife. Having a dedicated time each week to just focus on breathing, zone out the chaos that life gives us, and to center your focus on what matters in your life is important to everyone, especially mothers. I encourage everyone to give yoga a chance. Go in with an open mind and I promise you’ll get something out of it. If nothing else, yoga pants are the bomb!