Ask yourself, do you have a hobby? Not just something you do once in a while, but something you really can’t live without? Something that elevates your mood and helps you forget about the rest of the world? If you are a mom, the answer is probably no. The additional response is, “I don’t have time for that.” I get it. I know that feeling all too well.
One of the best ways I incorporate self-care is with a hobby. This is the time I spend away from reality and focus on what I need in that moment. This story is about how I discovered yoga, why it works for me and also how I quit and went back to it a few times.
I started practicing yoga in 2011 when I was pregnant with my first child. After a few months of pregnancy, my lower back started bothering me, so every night I would switch on the cable exercise channel and do a quick 30 minute flow. It worked wonders. However, once the baby was born, that was the end of my yoga practice. I had this little human occupying my attention, and at the time I loved it! With only one child I felt like I was still able to manage the household and family commitment as well as my professional life. When my second daughter was born in 2013, that all changed. I couldn’t manage it all and I went through a very difficult year of stress and guilt. If you haven’t read that story yet, checkout my first blog post.
By December of 2014 I had been in therapy a few months working through postpartum depression and decided it was time to get back to the feelings of strength and peace I had before I had children. I went to my first official yoga class on December 30, 2014. My first reaction to the class was that I could exercise and relax at the same time. For me, that was a magical combination. I looked forward to getting to class every week because I always felt transformed afterward. With that description you might think that I would stick with it, but I didn’t. I had a good run of about 18 months. I went to class at least once a week, but in the summer of 2016 I stopped. At that time I had two toddlers and their activities to keep up with, and Sunday (my yoga day) was the only day of the week that didn’t require an alarm clock. So I stopped going to class. Needless to say, I fell back into some of my old patterns. I put the family’s needs before mine and, because of a very deep habit of stress eating, I started to gain weight. 18 pounds to be exact. When I couldn’t squeeze into my fat pants anymore I hit another breaking point. I needed to shift my mindset again. I didn’t actively make a decision to go back to yoga. The universe told me I needed to go.
In the summer of 2018 we moved to a new town, far away from our old one. I met a neighbor who has children the same age as mine and we hit it off. One day she messaged me and asked, “Do you like yoga?” When I read that I felt my spirit light up again! “YES,” I replied, “I love yoga!” Turns out there is a studio within 5 minutes drive of my home. I went to one class and knew this was my new happy place. On September 30, 2018 (the day after my 37th birthday) I WAS BACK and it felt amazing!!! Something clicked in my brain reminding me how happy yoga makes me, but even better, I believed that I deserved to feel that happiness!
It may take some time and experimentation to find a hobby that ignites a passion inside you. Don’t give up! Keep searching until you find that something you are willing to make time for. Also remember that your hobbies may change over time, and that’s ok too! What works for you today may not work tomorrow. That is the best part about life. It is always evolving and changing. Embrace the change! Then embrace yourself. Give yourself the attention you deserve because if mamma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy!