Saturday, February 26, 2011

Burn Baby, Burn!

Burnout.
Just the thought of the word makes you tired. And sad. And depleted. And you would think that yoga teachers wouldn't need to worry about it. But we do. You'd think famous people with all their millions and teams of people waiting on them wouldn't need to face it. But they do. The average Joe, the above average Jane, the normal, the not so normal - we all can face it.
Last year I changed careers when my hair started falling out from stress. I loved my job - and dealt with the running on adrenalin & the mad hours & the business & the doing & the resulting weight loss (a diet of coffee and sugar does that to you). I dealt with it (did I?). I ignored the lines appearing in my fingernails (lack of certain vitamins), after all, I was still managing to teach yoga after work, I was getting exercise and water. I ignored the irregular and sometimes so light they were non-existant periods. So what if I didn't get enough sleep? Loads of people didn't.
But it wasn't up to me. And if I wouldn't slow down on my own, the universe would slap me in the face and shake me till I couldn't do anything BUT slow down. And that clincher was the hair: the hair falling out in the shower, and in the brush, and all over the carpet, the hair managed to slow me down.
When I finally made it to a gorgeous, welcoming naturopath 6 months ago, she was so gentle. I think she knew I was hard enough on myself and that I needed some nurturing, as I sure as hell wasn't giving much to myself. And she let me start exactly where I was, while encouraging me to keep moving forward. Baby steps.
Do you know how bad I felt - getting onto the yoga mat to lead a class, teaching the wonderful yogis present to take it easy, to work to their limits, to be happy with slowness and to be where they are - and then to be drawn into complete adrenal burnout and fatigue myself?
But enough of the ego. I was where I was - and it's a common story. Running around and caring for others takes time - sometimes time we provide at the expense of caring for ourselves. India was my fix for this - I realised how taking time made me a better person. My diet & digestion sorted themselves out. My hair was becoming nice & thick. I was stopping at random moments, turning to my friend, and saying "I'm happy". For no reason. It was great.
And now I've come home.
And I understand - believe me, I get it. It's hard to do this stuff, to give yourself this space, when you're living a busy life with work and family and 'life'. The answer? It's to stop. To REST so you can FLOURISH.
For me this means saying 'yes' to having lunch with an old friend this Friday. It means saying 'no' to picking up that extra class cover (because really, the extra money isn't worth my sanity). It means ordering some breakfasts & lunches to my house so I am no living on greasy takeaways - and not beating myself up because I didn't find the time (again) to make the brown rice, lentil & salad and porridge dishes I should (should?!) have. It means allowing myself a nap when I need it - but does not mean sleeping the day away to ignore the world.
I wrote about this idea of Flourishing and Resting last year, and it's still as relevant as ever to me.
Tell me friends, how do YOU rest.. flourish... smile?
xo
POSTSCRIPT - after I posted this story up, I came across this fab article on Zen Habits. Synchronicity :)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story Stella. Thank you for sharing. You are always an inspiration.

skinny latte said...

This is wonderful, just wonderful.

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