“OMG, that must be exhausting,” the yoga instructor exclaimed when I told her I was helping my son and his wife with their 3-month-old for the next year as they both went back to work.
It has been awhile since I have taken care of an infant. It is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and yes, sometimes exhausting.
As one new mother of a 2-month-old baby told me this week: “It was a wake-up call to realize the world does not revolve around me!”
There are times during the day when I feel like it would be fantastic to have a 10-20 minute rest, but that becomes fantasy when Luke wakes up early from a nap and wants to be fed or played with.
Life is full of transitions: whether it is having a new baby in the house, changing jobs, retiring, moving, empty nesting or the death of a spouse or someone who is significant in our lives.
The stress that comes with considerable change requires being able to rely on what I call ‘anchors’: the things in your life that bring you back to yourself, make you feel less scattered, and nourish your soul and body.
Anchors help us to find a healthy balance amidst what can seem unsettling chaos.
These are my anchors at the moment:
Finding a body-centered activity: One of the first things I did was to find a yoga studio. I recommend yogafinder.com to find the style you prefer. It helped me locate a nearby studio where I can restore, stretch and strengthen with the style of yoga I like. A good class at the end of the day helps me get back in alignment after a full day of putting myself in all sorts of different positions while picking up Luke, playing with him on the floor, putting him down to sleep, and strolling him into and around town. I like being in a class rather than practicing alone. It helps me to stay focused as I enjoy the community.
Entertainment: I love to go to the movies. There is a theater a few minutes away where I can go and get lost in someone else’s story for a couple of hours a week. I am not picky when it comes to movies. I found “Rocketman” highly entertaining and plan on seeing “The Biggest Little Farm” this week. Concerts, a little theater, and perusing some museums are all on my wish list, but for the first few weeks here, seeing a movie is perfect.
Creativity: I love writing, so carving out some creative time for this has been doable and fulfilling. My memoir with practical health tips included, as many of you have asked, is still my main focus. I miss my writer’s group at R.J. Julia in Madison, but I am attending a writer’s workshop in July. Artists need to find their ‘creative tribe’. I am certain I will find mine.
Cultivating Relationships: I miss seeing my friends in person. Technology cannot replace in-person face time but being around so many new people is an opportunity, too. I found a diverse faith-based community that is already bearing social and spiritual fruits.
Diet: Instead of a CSA we get something called “Imperfect Produce” every Wednesday, with a box arriving full of fruits and vegetables rejected by the supermarket for physical imperfections. So far, they have all been delicious. I eat three meals a day and love my piece or two of dark chocolate in the afternoon and a Peet’s Coffee to start the day along with breakfast.
Rest: I am so grateful to not have to get up in the middle of the night several times with the baby. Not sure how ‘balanced’ I might feel after going through the day with an infant and then not getting sleep. There is wisdom in the saying, “Having babies is for the young.” I get up at 6 for some quiet time and stillness. This helps give me new perspectives on my day and life and inspiration for my writing.
Acupuncture: Included in the summer pass to the new yoga studio is an acupuncture treatment with a respected and adept local practitioner. Since I do not know any acupuncturists in the area, this is a great way to meet one. I look forward to working together as we come up with treatment strategies to further find balance during this transition.
Motivation: As a friend reminded me today, I am doing this work for love and that makes all the difference in the world. Striving to do personal, professional and daily chores with love makes us able to do more than we thought possible.
What and who are your ‘anchors’? Transitions become easier when you can rely on them.