Keeping It With You

The holidays are over. The weather is cold. The days are still too short and the sky too gray. The long stretch from January 2nd to the first nice day in March is often a dreary one. Living in the city I often feel trapped in the winter. I used to think it should be the other way around since there is so much within walking distance, but somehow it hasn’t worked out that way for me. The sidewalk and buildings and sky seem to blend together into a bleary smudge and I can’t help but become a part of it. 

I’ve been struggling with anxiety and feeling a bit lost. I’ve sat down to write so many times and been unable to form a thought to put into words. Yesterday, Brady had pinkeye (yuck) and his first sick day of the school year (not bad). Having both boys at home all day was fun for the first few hours, then it started to wear thin. Since Brady wasn’t really feeling sick, he was bored. Since Brady was home, Declan wouldn’t nap and wanted him to play. But Brady didn’t want to play with Declan, he wanted to play with me, but only if I played the games he wanted to play. And so it goes. By the time the husband arrived home from work I was “mommy, mommy, mommy-ed out” and bolted out the door to the yoga studio.

A nice class focusing on the basics with candles burning, culminating in a long, guided meditation and a savasana where somehow, someway my mind actually got quiet had me ready to face bedtime. I walked home in the cold feeling refreshed, renewed, and stronger. But I stepped through that door and the calm blew right off me. The kids were being wild, their room was a mess, they were begging for snacks when their teeth should have been brushed and all of my meditation and quiet mind were forgotten. Anxiety rushed in and I felt a mess all over again.

So how do I keep it with me? I try to get back to the breath. I sometimes do left-nostril breathing and it does have a calming effect. I tell myself to remember the quiet moments that I’ve had and to put myself back into that mindset. This is nothing new. In the years I have been practicing yoga I have found that it has an amazing ability to calm my anxiety and to hold the depression that follows it at bay. Clearly, I am keeping something of my time on the mat with me as I go through my day-to-day. But I want a way to preserve the wonderful feelings I leave class with, even if life outside of the studio is chaotic. I don’t want that falling apart feeling that I get when it all hits me again.

I remind myself of my intentions from my practice: calm, acceptance, love, understanding. I breathe deep and recite mantras in my head. I remind myself to be present and to look around and find the thing that can make me happy. It isn’t easy. It’s a process. 

How do you get back to the calm when life is anything but? Do you find it more difficult to cope in this long stretch of winter?

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10 responses

    • Oh definitely. I wouldn’t say I have NO home practice, but nothing consistent. I have got to find a routine that works for me to fit it in. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  1. Thank you friend for sharing this article quite interesting, hopefully we all get real happiness yamg rays began to warm our hearts and make the heart glad, when we can share it with sincere to each other. Affectionate greetings from Gede Prama 🙂 🙂

  2. I would feel trapped in the city in the winter as well and the cold and gloom really does a number on our well-being some days. I love the refreshed feeling leaving a great practice but have also struggled with maintaining it. One very minor thing you could try is making your intention very specific, unless you already do. I have very specific intentions and that helps me remember it throughout the day. I’m currently reading Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi. Not only is the reading helpful with tips and general education on the subject but it reinforces the ideas on regular basis. Maybe check it out? I’m with you friend, living the yoga life is the practice and it is certainly a challenge.

    • What a wonderful idea. I tend to make my intentions very broad. A very specific intention that I can really focus on might be helpful. I’m headed to barnes and noble to get the little one out today so I’ll check out that book.

  3. This sums up my yoga experience perfectly. I come out of class feeling so alive and at peace, then the second I get home, the dog is annoying and the kids are whiny. The biggest killer of my calm is also my anxiety and the constant feeling that I have TOO MUCH to do in one day. I’ve started making a to do list each day that only includes 3 things – one thing for work, one for the house, and one just for me and my mental health 🙂 It’s really helped me prioritize in all aspects of my life, but I’m still a work in progress. Thanks for sharing this.

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