Before my husband I were married in 2007, I began having some serious panic attacks, and a lot of digestive problems. My general physician assured me that the stress of planning my wedding was the root of my problem. I didn't feel anxious or stressed, so I discounted what he said, and wound up having all sorts of tests done at a gastroenterologist, only to find that the root of my problem was indeed stress and anxiety. It was nothing that a small dose of anti-anxiety medication every morning couldn't fix, and I'd lost so much weight in the process that I really needed to just suck it up and go on the medication to level out.
After I began the medication, I started to feel normal again, but I refused to have to be on anti-anxiety meds for the rest of my life. I wasn't supposed to just stop taking it, but when I felt that I was in a good place, I slowly started cutting my dosage back, until I just stopped taking it all together.
A few weeks ago, I started noticing those same old feelings of anxiety creeping back in. I have been increasingly anxious before meetings, before heading to my volunteer duties, etc. I refuse to turn to medication again, and have come to realize that a huge part of my problem, is that I don't know how to relax. I'm always working, or always volunteering and have very little down time. I work from the moment I get up every morning, and am usually still working on stuff at 10:30 or later every night, right before I go to bed (and this is because bloggers/writers don't really work traditional work hours). I hardly ever take time out to exercise anymore, which is a shame, because I like exercising. My faith life has been suffering, as well- as I am not really making time to spend studying God's Word, reflecting on it or life in general, and I'm falling asleep each night as I start to pray, which in turn makes me feel guilty.
It's a new year, and I'm not really one for making resolutions, especially those revolved around exercise, weight loss or change in diet. I know myself, and I like what I like- plus, I feel that if I really stick with exercising, I can eat whatever I want to, and still look and feel good. Of course, once you turn 30, your metabolism starts slowing down! Today, I turn 31- I'm 31, going on 40. I want the next nine years to be awesome. I want to have ambition and energy to do amazing things with my family. I want to start each day feeling hopeful, and energized, instead of tired and cranky.
So... In an effort to start each day off on the right foot, I'm doing a 30 day yoga challenge, which will include 20-25 minutes of beginners yoga (because there are a lot of differences between yoga and pilates & I'm really clumsy and don't want to break anything), followed by devotions & time for reflection & prayer. I need to get my anxiety under control, reduce stress, and really have that one on one time with God- even if it means setting the alarm clock 30 minutes earlier.
I know, I'm not a yoga girl... not really. I love Pilates, though. I will have to start slowly with yoga, because I have a bad wrist, and am not yet able to put a lot of pressure or weight on it. I will definitely have to build up some strength, there. Breathing in yoga is different from breathing used in Pilates, too- I will have to train myself to breathe in and out through the nose, as opposed to breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. I'm choosing yoga for personal chill time. The stretches are heavenly, and I've never really been much for meditation, but I am learning that it can mean reflecting on God's goodness, appreciating life and creation, and learning to love myself, as I'm a beloved child of God.
Me, leading worship in 2012
Me, leading worship in 2012
If you'd like to take part in the free 30 day Yoga Challenge that I am doing, that'd be great! I'd love to hear how adding about 20 minutes of beginners yoga to your daily routine changes your life. Yoga is amazing for conditioning, strengthening, toning, etc- but I'm looking more into the wellness benefits for the mind, body and soul. I have already signed up for the challenge, which is 100% free, and sends a new video each day directly to your e-mail inbox. I have already done Day 1 and Day 2 with success. I feel great, and though I know I'll have to work up to some of the poses, I'll get there over time.
If you're interested in signing up just go to DoYouYoga.com. Sign up by entering your e-mail, and then you'll start receiving your free yoga videos. If you start seeing yoga/pilates/fitness reviews and giveaways here on MBP, you'll know why! I want everyone who reads this blog to make a promise (it can be your birthday present to me!) to take 20 minutes a day for themselves, if at all possible. For me, this means that I have to get up earlier each morning, but I know it will be well worth it. Won't you join me in this 30 day challenge, and this wonderful journey?
Wishing you a wonderful weekend...