I recently wrote about my schedule during the first half of September. I was overloaded, and I quickly grew overwhelmed. I knew that the pace I had set was not sustainable. In fact, I could feel myself crashing. So, I had to think about what was really most important in my life. Those things would remain a part of my schedule for the second half of the month. I would say no to the rest.
This was the last two weeks of my September:
15 – Provide technical assistance in DC (8 am – 3:30 pm), chiropractor appointment and teach yoga
16 – Physical therapy, paperwork, doctor’s appointment and more DC school meetings
17 – Work from home
18 – More work from home, meet with business counselor and volunteer
19 – DC school visit, Trader Joes run, phone interview with prospective teacher and teach yoga
20 – Sleep in, make pancakes, pass out flyers with my friend, therapy, massage and lazy night at home
21 – Volunteer at church, hair cut, and brunch with close friends
22 – Lots of appointments (physical therapy, prospective mentor, chiropractor) but I still had time for an hour-long midday nap
23 – School visits
24 – School visit, physical therapy and a couple business calls from home
25 – Physical therapy and trip to Philly for acupuncture
26 – School visit, more business appointments, doctor’s visit and TV night
27 – Home yoga practice, teach, work from home, church and dinner with my mission team
28 – Take care of some things at the studio, run errands and meet with my book club
29 – Fly to Los Angeles to volunteer for a week
30 – Begin volunteering at the Dream Center, and acclimate to the Pacific Time Zone
The second half of the month was better, more manageable, and less exhausting and stressful. The difference was that I inserted some breathing room. Rather than scheduling every minute of my day, I left some empty spaces where I could get still, listen to my heart, and follow it. That meant taking more than a few naps, taking care of some things that had been hanging over my head, and being able to connect with loved ones.
While I was at my studio one day, I was asked to participate in a photo shoot. Serenity Place DC is located on Rhode Island Avenue and is recipient of support and technical assistance from the Rhode Island Main Street program. The Main Street program is putting together an ad campaign for an upcoming Small Business Saturday, and they wanted to take some photos of me doing yoga in the studio. This unexpected opportunity for exposure was only possible, because I had some room in my schedule. If my day had been packed as usual, I would have had somewhere else to be. I couldn't have hung out for an hour taking photos.
I have learned my lesson about overloading my schedule and To Do list. It just doesn't work. But I’m human, and at some point, my old bad habits will resurface. That's where my yoga practice comes in. I have become more mindful and aware throughout my daily living. When I cram it on too hard, I will begin to feel the effects of all the busy-ness. I will want to slow down and reset once more.
I wish you luck on your own boundary setting journey. May you learn when--and how--how to say yes and no.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.