I went to the gym
today at 3 pm. Believe it or not, I have not gone to the gym in the middle of a
weekday since I started my own coaching and consulting practice. Today I asked
myself why not go to the gym this afternoon? I make my own schedule. So where did
this crazy "rule" come from that I can't go to the gym in the middle of the
We each make
crazy rules for ourselves. Many of my coaching clients have a rule that says
that they can't take a lunch break. Actually, when we talk about it they say
they can take a break for lunch; however, when push comes to shove, they
don't. Something always comes up that
seems too important. They have a last minute meeting, they have a report to
finish, or they need to check their email. It all feels really important at the
time. But when they go home and are exhausted and perhaps irritable, they may
ask themselves, "why didn't I take a break today?"
We all get caught
up in our responsibilities and our to-do lists and forget to pay attention to
our thoughts, our emotions, and our bodies. Later we wonder "why do I have a
sore neck? Why do I have a headache?" If we tuned in a few times each
day, we might make some different choices.
Case in point:
during the past two months, my husband and I have had several important choices
to make. Recently, while mulling over
future scenarios in my mind, I leaned over to pick some weeds from the
garden. I know better than to lean over
from my waist without bending my knees.
But I did it for just a few moments. When I stood up, I instantly felt a
severe backache that lasted for days.
The pain was a wake up call to be present. So, I have been giving myself frequent breaks from
sitting in front of the computer. I have had sessions with body workers
(massage therapist, chiropractor, and even tried a Yamunaź body rolling class)
in order to get my body into balance.
I am also
observing my thoughts and my emotions throughout the day. I am writing in my
journal about what I am noticing and experiencing. And, when I feel overwhelmed
or confused, I go for a walk or turn on music and dance, or sit in mindfulness.
All of these
techniques are helping me to reduce stress. It doesn't always work, but I do
feel I am able to stop and observe my mind, body and emotions more than I would
have in the past. I attribute this to the mindfulness practice I have been
doing the last several years. As the picture on my wall says, "When in doubt,
breathe in, breathe out."