Prior to retiring from teaching, I burned the candle from both ends. My day started early, getting both myself and the kids fed, showered, and off to school. Then there was the long, often frantic pace of the school day. I typically worked ten hour days, correcting papers and redoing lesson plans that did not get accomplished during the day. I’d come home and finish preparing supper that my husband often got started for me, since he and the kids were home by 3:30 or so each day. After supper I might have time to go to the club for a class, but usually I was doing more correcting or helping the kids with their homework. All the while, the TV was on in the background, often with a 24/7 news channel on, telling me all about the horrors of the day. By the time I went to bed, I was literally so exhausted, I had trouble getting to sleep, and once asleep, I’d often wake up and be wide awake from about 4:00 AM until it was time to start the day again. It makes me tired just thinking about those days!
It’s no wonder that I was often sick. Because lunch was typically only about ten minutes long, after taking care of business that can not be accomplished with the kids in the classroom, my digestive system was broken. My autoimmune system was shot too. And I never took the time off to get better because time off created even MORE work.
Once I retired, it took my body about six months to get used to a new schedule. And of course, that is when my system started to really fail, as it finally had a chance to move out of “flight response” of reaction. I started doctoring myself, first with traditional medicine, and when I was on several medications with terrible side effects but which were only effective for so long before I needed to move on to heavier dose medicine with even worse side effects, I realized I needed to look at alternative medicines.
My monthly health care regime is chiropractic service once a month, massages twice a month, and acupuncture once a week, which I am now decreasing. I am only taking one medication, but take some herbs for some of the other issues I was dealing with. I have tapered off the herbs and hope to some day have a strong enough balance in my system so herbs aren’t necessary either.
But perhaps the most important part of my health care is my daily restoration. each day, I take an hour or maybe two to lie down on the couch and rest. I don’t usually sleep, but I do let my body and mind relax. This is good for my body, after teaching as many yoga classes as I do, but it even more necessary for my body systems, which had been abused for so many years.
We all need to think about the stress we place on our bodies and minds in our daily interactions. We need to find ways to bring more balance into our bodies and minds. I realize that taking a restorative nap or rest period during the day is not an option for most people. So we must find other ways to restore the body.
Yoga is one very effective way to do that, especially if our day is tight with activities that we absolutely cannot say “no” to. We need to take that hour for ourselves to replenish and restore the body. And if we don’t have time for a yoga class, we need to do a short practice at home. Sun salutations are the most effect series of poses because they work to balance the chakras, provide a healthy heart rate, and stretch and strengthen our muscles at the same time. After finishing a few salutations, we can lie down for five minutes and just feel the body relax.
If you haven’t thought about it before, it is time to consider what you do for your daily restoration. This isn’t a want, it is a NEED for the body and mind.