It’s been a year since I started running. A year of reflection. Of change.
So much has happened since the last time I visited Bowen Island and Nectar Yoga B&B that it was like an out of body experience returning last month. Remembering how I felt when we were there last year and being present during our recent visit made it feel like time was running parallel. Retracing the same steps I’d taken before, walking into the beautiful cabin and yoga dome, reliving the emotions from a year ago while appreciating the way I now felt… View Post
There. I’ve said it. I think balance is a cruel word that gets tossed around as we try and convince ourselves that we can do it all in the same day. Someone once told me ‘balance’ is about making choices and being at peace with them, and I’ve reflected on that ever since; on days when I feel like I’m struggling I try to step back and think about what my focuses for that day are and regroup around them, simplify things. I absolutely believe we can do it all– just not all at once. Different days may have different priorities, we just have to accept that there may be/ will be other things that don’t happen- they’ll happen some other time. In other words, I think the concept of balance is more of an outlook than an actual thing we can achieve.
Some days it feels like I can get everything done and I feel like a champion (aren’t those the best!?), and other days I feel like the biggest achievement is that the kids and I make it to the end of the day in one piece (a big, crazy, messy piece). Either way the same thing happens: I go into the day with a list of priorities- this may be a mental list or one I write down and includes things like time with the kids, house work, work, appointments that have to be made, yard work, etc- and inevitably there are usually things that get left for the next day or the next (or the next!)- or if it’s a particularly chaotic day, I throw out that list (unless there’s something that falls under ‘must happen today’), and re- write it for the next. It’s not always easy- some days it feels painful to give up and tell myself ‘it’s not going to happen today’- but I’m learning what’s more important than that to- do list is my outlook towards it. It’s how I think about things and move through the day, not how much I can get done in a day that matters (hands up who else is Type A like me and always tries to cram as much as possible into the day?). Sounds so simple right? But oooooh creating mental habits/ changing your perspective can be just as challenging as changing other habits!!! It takes time and baby steps, and patience, and, and, and…. moral of the story: we have to have patience with ourselves.
As I sit here and talk about choices, figuring out priorities, and finding ‘balance’- whatever that means- I don’t think I could do so without talking about one of the things I’ve made a priority over the past year, something I’ve made time for regardless of whatever else is going on. This choice didn’t come out of thin air, I’ve had to carve out the time from other things, but ultimately I’m happy with the choice of how I spend this time. The interesting thing about a year is you have a very distinct start and end point to reflect on, and I’ve been doing that lately as I look back on the progress I’ve made. Some days I’m stressed out about the time it takes, overwhelmed with everything else I have to get done, but ultimately I feel so much better after having made time for it, happy with the choice I made. The choice I’m referring to is exercise, and the time I’ve taken for yoga and running (and swimming when I get the chance).
It’s been a year since I started running- the longest that I have been committed to exercise in my adult life- and it is something I choose to make a priority (I share more about it in this post). For the most part I have gone on a run every week for a year; there is the odd week that I’ve missed one and weeks I’ve managed to go for two if I felt like I needed it (even if I’m stressed about finding the time for other things that have to get done, I ultimately feel better/ handle my workload better if I’ve taken some time away to give my mind a break with the added bonus of feeling better physically from the exercise). And before you tell me you don’t know where you’d find the time for exercise, I’ll confess this to you: I don’t have a lot of time for exercise. And I know a lot of other people who feel the same. It may not be exercise for them, it might be something else that they’re struggling to fit into their schedules, but either way finding time for some things is harder than others. The trick is to find it, then the second hardest part is to create a habit/ add it to your routine and then stick with it.
We all have other things to do, other things that take up our time, we all have our daily mix that fill our days. And in the end we look back on the day and hopefully feel good about what we got accomplished. Taking care of ourselves and our health is something we’re told to make a priority and rightfully so, but as with many things it’s often easier said than done. How many times do you tell yourself I’ll do it today and then brush it off: Oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow… It’s not hard to put stuff off that doesn’t really appeal to us, or that’s inconvenient/ uncomfortable- let’s face it, fitness isn’t usually something people do for fun (even though it can be), they do it to stay healthy. And we tend to lump health stuff under ‘boring’ and ‘have to but don’t want to’ instead of making it something to look forward to (see how a change in perspective might make that more appealing?). But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority- that finding some time to take care of yourself isn’t important enough to warrant a little bit of time each week. And that’s just it: even just a little bit of time is better than no time at all. And that’s what I’ve told myself this past year when I’ve wanted to make an excuse to get out of running: it’s just. a. few. minutes. (and for the record, I didn’t let weather become an excuse either, no matter how tempting/ easy it would have been). I don’t always want to, but ultimately I know how much better I feel, how much happier I am afterwards; it’s worth it and something I’m glad I’ve added to my routine, even if it’s at the expense of something else.
I’m still working on calming down about all the things I want to get done in a day, letting go and really thinking about what I consider a priority- in other words, I’m still making peace with imbalance (see what I did there? 😉 ). But one thing I’m glad I did, even though I’ve had to choose the time to make it happen this past year is to stop making excuses for getting in some exercise each week. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have your life all figured out and how easy it is to make changes, to make time for these things. It’s rarely, if ever, that simple. But it is about re- thinking your priorities, re- thinking the choices you make and asking yourself ‘Is this making me a better or worse version of myself?’. We’re grown ups, so obviously things like bills and mortgages aren’t going to go away and make the choice to work less any easier (oh adulting…), but for the things on a simpler level, those things we have within our control, it’s amazing the difference a few different choices and a change of mind set can make. I’m not any less of a to- do list loving person than I was a year ago, but I’m chipping away at changing my outlook on things (instead of thinking ‘these are all the things I didn’t get done today’ turning it around and thinking about all that did get done), letting go, and not making excuses for things that should be more of a priority/ deserve more time. I’m responsible for two little people and keeping them happy and healthy, and at some point I have to make sure I’m doing the same for myself. It’s the choices I make and the perspective I have that creates the happiness and inner peace that I think ‘balance’ is supposed to bring- and it’s not a perfect one- size- fits- all solution- but just making the effort alone has been a big step forward for me. Exercise has been ‘my thing’ this past year that I’ve made a priority, now I want to know: what do you want to make more time for?
Sometimes you just to need to stop. Step back. Breath. And last month I was given the chance to do just that. Thanks to my friend Janette of Ava to Zoe, a group of us ladies got away for 2 blissful nights at Nectar Yoga B & B on Bowen Island. We enjoyed some yoga & meditation, sipped some wine, and enjoyed slowing down and coming off of our busy routines. I shared about our time at Nectar in this post and today I wanted to share about some the other details from the trip. Not only did Janette organize the whole thing, she spoiled us with some amazing swag bags loaded with everything we’d need for our time away- including the clothes we’d wear while we got our yoga on.
She did such an amazing job bringing together everything we’d need that I thought it would be good to share about it for anyone else thinking about planning a yoga getaway with the girls. I’ve also given some extra info about the items she picked out for the getaway throughout the post, so if you see something you like you can check out the amazing brands behind the item.
So what to bring when you’re planning a well- deserved yoga getaway? Here’s what I’d suggest based on our 2 days away.
Yoga Getaway Packing List
– yoga apparel
think: comfortable/ doesn’t restrict movement
– hat & warm clothes
if planning a getaway in the cooler months, or pack according to the season
– dress clothes & heels
in case you want a night out
no explanation needed!
– water bottle
to stay hydrated after enjoying that wine… and yoga of course
– hair ties/ hair bands
seems simple enough, but having your hair falling all over your face while doing downward facing dog can be annoying
– bag to carry yoga gear in
many places will supply you with mats, blocks, etc, but it’s good to know if these are supplied- especially if you’re organizing your own retreat
– yoga gear
if needed, see above
– healthy snacks
and some not so healthy, because what’s a girls trip without treats?
maybe splurge on some nice soap & lotion to give yourself some TLC after your yoga session
– candles, movies & magazines
basically, whatever else you’d like to bring to treat yourself and set the mood for a few days of R &R
– don’t forget things like your pjs, a good pair of athletic shoes, and anything else you might need depending on time of year & where you’re going (ie a bathing suit for Summer)
Thanks to RYU, we each received two tops and a pair of pants, so we’d be all set when we arrived and have less to pack (but let’s be honest, I just filled that extra space in my bags with more shoes 😉 ). When you learn about the mantra this brand has towards it’s apparel and those who wear it, you can see why it was a perfect fit for a trip like this. In an email we received from the brand that they send out to the athletes who wear their clothes, they speak of the ‘beautiful tough’ and that despite the challenges we face, to always look for the beauty in life. Not just with the aesthetics, but through things like actions, thoughts, and deeds. I loved this idea of the ‘beautiful tough’ and as the time on Bowen unfolded, I could see how each of us had our own challenges we were facing, but how we were pushing through them, each showing strength in our own way.
When it came time to enjoy the yoga sessions with Andria at Nectar, having pieces that were comfortable and moved with us was much appreciated. When you’re stretching and moving your body into different positions, having clothes that work with you rather than restrict you can make a big difference. Janette really thought of everything we would need and made sure we stayed hydrated with beautiful water bottles from Free Reign (the story behind this brand and it’s owner Melanie is an inspiring one), hair accessories from Goody, zipper pouches from From the Seeds for things like lipgloss and other girlie items, and wine (yes to wine!!!) from Evolve Cellars. If you know me, you know I love my wine, and the Pinot Blanc & Pinot Noir we got to enjoy were the perfect ending to our days on Bowen. And I just have to mention how perfect I thought the name was- ‘Evolve’- to come along on our trip that included reflection and moving forward in new directions.
Janette pulled everything together in beautiful tote bags from Oh My Dear Loves (which feature original artwork by the owner all created by hand either through screen printing or linocut stamps), and it was like kids on Christmas morning as we opened our bags of goodies. There were also items from Karma & Soul (love my beanie!), a yoga care kit from Sage, and a hand- poured candle from Free Reign. We seriously got spoiled and all appreciated how much time and effort Janette put into organizing everything.
Life can get busy. Crazy. Chaotic. It’s important that we find time to slow it down and reset. Time is finite and memories are priceless, so let’s make our time here as good as we can. Thanks Janette for pulling together this crazy group of gals and to Heyde & Kristy for being the ladies I shared this time with (and bonus thanks to Kristy for capturing the beautiful photos!). If you want more info about the brands Janette included in our yoga getaway bags, see below for a full list.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this getaway so special: