How I put myself back together again
It has been almost 20 days since my last post - sorry guys! It's not that I don't love you, because I really, truly do, but I have had one of those months where you can barely find enough time to make yourself a cup of tea, let alone write a blog post. But today I just want to tell you what's been going on and how I've made my way back here. In the last month my whole life has, for the second time in just over three years, been completely and utterly overhauled. I am living in a new (and very big city) with new people, riding my bike almost 20km each day (my legs are sore!), attending uni for the first time, making new friends, learning new and challenging things, teaching yoga classes, and all the while trying to maintain a healthy balance of rest, relaxation and nourishing foods. But I am going to be frank here and say it hasn't been easy. I lost control for a little while, I was overwhelmed and I had to go back to square one to get myself back on track.
Let me begin by saying I have always tended to be a control-freak/highly organised/perfectionist sort of person. I like to know exactly what is going on at all times and I like things to go my way. I also tend to underestimate how much rest time I need, and I keep pushing and pushing myself until I fall in an exhausted heap. And that's pretty much how my month of madness began.
So I completed my yoga teacher training, which consisted of a 20-day intensive with no breaks or days off, and then moved to Melbourne the next day. I didn't stop or rest during O-Week despite the huge amount of change that my mind and body was trying to process. At the end of O-Week I went on a camp with fellow students, but after just a few hours I knew something wasn't right. I had a headache and I was hot and feeling rather unwell. I told myself it was all in my head and went to the party that night anyway. I went to bed at midnight, exhausted and still not feeling to flash. I woke up a few hours later and started vomiting. In some strange twist of fate I was fulfilling the stereotypical O-Week expectations without having consumed a drop of alcohol. After minimal sleep I woke the next day feeling like I had been hit by a bus. Thankfully, the beautiful camp leaders took me home and I collapsed into bed. And slept. For 20 hours. In fact I spent the entire weekend in bed and on the couch; I could barely move. My body had been crying out for rest and I had ignored the messages until it finally hit me, hard.
After an entire weekend of rest I managed to make it to my first day of uni. My body was so sore that I couldn't practice yoga for five days. FIVE DAYS! Over the next week I did get better, but then I started to become overwhelmed with the amount of work from uni. All of sudden, although I was physically better, I was mentally and emotionally drained. I had a list of things to do as long as my leg and no energy to even attempt any of the tasks. For someone who is usually highly efficient and motivated it was not a pleasant time.
But then I made a choice: I chose to put myself back together again. And thankfully it only took about two or three weeks. Here's what I did:
1. Get up earlier and do yoga
Due to travel time being something that I was not used to having to factor into my day, during my first week or two at uni I was very lazy and inconsistent with my yoga practice. My daily morning practice had been abandoned and with it I lost my energy, concentration and focus during the day. I had joked during Year 12 that yoga was my sanity, but my little yoga sabbatical had proved that this was in fact the case. So I started to set my alarm, as early as I needed to, so that I had enough time to practice yoga in the morning. This small change alone made an ENORMOUS difference to my day. I will put it simply that whatever sleep you lose to practice yoga will be well and truly worth it. Not only that, but my muscles that were so incredibly sore from riding my bike to uni got the stretching they so desperately needed.
2. Make a timetable
In order to stay on top of my study I resorted to my tried-and-tested method of creating a timetable. I now have a colour-coded timetable that blocks out each hour of my week from 6am to 8pm that includes my uni commitments and blocks allocated to eating, resting, practicing/teaching yoga and studying. Whilst it may seem somewhat anal to have such a timetable, by scheduling my week it ensures that I have time for relaxation, exercise and sleep. I also use daily to-do lists and little stick-it notes, but not in such a way that makes me feel stressed, but more as a reminder for things that I need to attend to at some point. The combination of a timetable and plenty of lists mean that I can manage all of my study and still find time for things that nourish me - it's a win-win.
3. Speak up
When we are struggling, feeling overwhelmed, sad or stressed it can be so easy to simply bottle it up, plaster a smile on and go about the day. However doing this does not really allow us to deal with how we are feeling and in the long-term it can be quite detrimental to our mental and physical health. The best thing we can do is talk to someone we trust about how we are feeling. For me it was my Mum. I called her one day after uni, after a few days of feeling anxious and stressed, and told her everything. We discussed what was going on, she listened and then wisely reminded me that most changes take about 5 weeks to adapt to, and I was undergoing about 10 changes at once. If you do the maths that works out to about a year of adjusting! No matter what is going on in your life, I would hope that you have someone with whom you can talk about anything. And if you don't right now, then grab a notebook and pen and journal your heart out. If you are dealing with something more serious then don't forget you can always seek the advice of a counsellor or call a helpline at any time.
I hope that some of you can relate to my experiences. Whilst this post is a little unusual for me, I felt it was something that was worth sharing with you all. And n
ow that I am managing my new life a little better I hope to be filling your feeds with plenty more delicious recipes and inspiring posts! In fact, in the next few weeks stay tuned for gluten, dairy and sugar free hot cross buns, an addictive Coconut-Maple Crunch Granola and Roasted Spaghetti Squash.
And I love to hear what you do when life gets a bit much? What are your coping mechanisms?