I spend a lot of my time worrying. Usually it’s about normal stuff (like work), but just as often it’s about the weirdest shit that isn’t even relevant at the moment I’m worrying about it (like, “I have to go to that conference in two months and I’m not sure about directions and parking!”).
It doesn’t help that long-term planning is kind of my thing — I know how much I want to have in my savings account by the end of 2016, I have my calendar planned out for months, I’m researching tattoo studios for a tattoo I hope to get sometime in the next year, etc.
Balancing these two tendencies is a constant battle, one I’m generally losing. I get on what I call my “hamster wheel,” where I start worrying about one thing and then another and another, and before I know it…
Fortunately I’ve just gotten back into yoga, which is something I didn’t realize was grounding me so well until I wasn’t able to do it for awhile.
At the beginning of each class, the instructor asks the students to dedicate their day’s practice to something: a person, a feeling, a concept. A couple of weeks ago the word “Focus” popped into my head at the beginning of class, and it hasn’t left.
Yoga class is one of the few places where it’s impossible for me to get on my hamster wheel — probably because I’m concentrating so hard on breathing and not toppling over onto the person next to me that there isn’t room for any other thoughts. I don’t really feel time passing, I’m not able to worry about work or how messy my apartment is or how I feel like a bad wife because I don’t cook for my husband every day. I’m focused, I’m in the present, and all that other stuff just doesn’t matter.
Since that class, I’ve been trying to incorporate the concepts of “focus” and “presence” into other aspects of my life. I’m doing my best to focus on daily items, rather than what’s happening next month or next week (or even the next day). For example, I know I’m going to have to approve and sign some important paperwork for a project soon, but since it’s not in my inbox I’ve pushed the worry away. If it’s not sitting in front of me, I don’t care about it.
This doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking long-term entirely (work and personal stuff still has to get planned), but it does mean I’ve given myself permission to stop freaking out about shit that isn’t pertinent in the moment.
It’s not always easy, but it’s helping enormously. As is getting back into yoga and finding a therapist in my new city. Here’s to a happier and healthier 2016!