Hello Stepparents! In last week’s episode I talked about how to stay sane as a stepparent. Find the show notes for that episode at www.synergisticstepparenting.com/7. I mentioned several different strategies that I tried throughout the years to help me connect with a place of calm.
I advised that it’s important to stick with something for a while before moving on. This idea of sticking with something for a while is what I’d like to explore in this week’s episode.
Finding Calm – Stepparent’s Key Resource
There are many options and suggestions for how to connect with and find calm inside of your body and your mind. And let’s face it, as stepparents the need for calm is in high demand.
With today’s climate of screens and variety of technology in this digital age and add to that the limited personal space not taken over by your partner or your stepchild, it can hard to find a quiet place to unplug.
Unplugging feels so foreign that it’s downright uncomfortable. For lots of folks it’s anxiety inducing, especially if you live in North America.
Take yoga for example, a practice that is about going inward and connecting to your body through your breath. Sounds amazing – right?
The Benefit of Calm for Working Stepparents
However, if you’re the type of person who’s been living life in the fast lane and constantly rushing to do All. The. Things., the idea of yoga sounds scary if not straight up terrifying.
When I was in corporate, I prided myself on my work. Because I was good at it, my reward was that I got more tasks and projects assigned to me. At the time, I wore that as a badge of honor.
Being an immigrant from a family of hard-working accomplished over-achievers, I thought that pushing and doing was not only necessary and normal but that it was a triumph.
But, I quickly slipped into workaholism. I loved to feel productive when I’d put in lots of long hours on projects. I would feel proud of my achievements and my work ethic for being able to work that hard. In reality, I was ignoring myself.
I wasn’t taking time to think, breathe, or tune-in. Instead, I was distracting myself from what I was actually feeling and from making sense of my experience. I was just hoping everything would work out one day, instead of intentionally leading and creating my life.
One day I tried a yoga class at the gym. And over time, it completely changed my life.
Yoga For Stepparents
At first, yoga was awkward. There were weird phrases like “have soft knees”, “feel your body melting into the mat” and “root down through your feet”. Nonetheless I stuck with it. And slowly, those strange phrases started to make sense.
In yoga, there is no competition – except with yourself. The mission is only to understand more and go deeper into the yoga practice. It’s taught me balance and being kind to myself. At the time those were very foreign concepts.
Yoga is about listening to and honoring your body. It’s also about training your mind to let go and just be. The focus isn’t easy, especially at first, but it’s simple … connect, create space and release tension.
Doesn’t that just sound fantastic?
Yet, I’ve heard people say that they’ve tried it and they don’t like or it’s not for them. I believe though, that they most likely haven’t even gotten a taste of it.
A Key Factor to Stepparenting Success – Stick-To-It-iveness
I say this because Yoga is so far out of our element and our day-to-day life structure that it’s virtually impossible to scratch the surface of what it’s about in one go, for those who are brand new to its principals.
It feels weird because it is a completely different approach than what we’ve been used to and what we’re asked to – and even expected to – do on a daily basis. To decide if something isn’t for you, you must first actually experience it, and only then come to a decision.
With yoga, it takes time to learn the practice and how to execute it. There’s a steep learning curve since it’s a very different approach to yourself and to life than the cultural norm. But let’s face it, as a stepparent you’re used to adapting to new cultures since that’s what you’re doing with your blended family every day!
Additionally, it can’t be understood solely through verbal description. Because the practice of yoga is about connection, it’s necessary to feel the sensations and how it affects you.
I find the same is true for journaling and running. I’ve done both and both didn’t come naturally to me. Each required time, attention and space to learn how to do them. And I had to stick with each one until I got to experience the benefits.
There is tremendous value in taking the time to learn something new especially when it doesn’t come naturally to you. For me, those opportunities taught me the most about myself and what I’m capable of.
I invite you try yoga for yourself. If you don’t like a particular class or experience, try a different one. Consider the environment, the teacher’s energy, words, rhythm. Have grace and patience with yourself throughout the process. And celebrate yourself for trying something new!
Until next time, be well.
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