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If you work a five day week, odds are good that you’re looking forward to the weekend. And if that’s the case, you’ve probably got a clear line separating the work from the fun, right?
On the other hand, if you’re a workaholic or an overly accommodating employee, there’s a good chance you can’t stop yourself from taking on other people’s projects and going well beyond your job description. Granted, sometimes we will have to go the extra mile in order to get the results we seek. But setting healthy boundaries while we’re at it is always a good idea.
Six weeks ago, I got around to redeeming a week-long pass to a local yoga studio. The coupon had been stuck to my fridge for eighteen months and had begun to curl at the edges, it was so old. I’d had a passing interest in yoga and the whole mindful-peaceful-gentle aspects appealed to me. It’s not that I wasn’t already physically active—I’d mostly been a runner throughout my adult life—and I knew I was missing an important element in my wellness routine. I wasn’t in that room ten minutes before realizing that somewhere along the line I’d lost the ability to touch my toes in the seated position! There I was, straining forward, trying to get my fingertips in the vicinity of my ankles at least. Not cute. At all. Mirrors along every wall attested to that sad fact.
I. Was. Horrified. How had I become so damn stiff? WTF I asked myself. When I looked around my life, I saw that I’d been letting work permeate nearly every ‘free’ moment of my day. Time for meditation, relaxation, fun, and doing nothing had all but evaporated as I relegated them to the bottom of my lists and let my boundaries drop. I also noticed I’d been missing my family and close friends more because of all of my deadlines and ‘important’ projects. I was even starting to slide into a low-grade depression behind it all.
When we don’t set boundaries, honor our limits, and give our body-mind-spirit what it needs, we throw the rest of our lives into imbalance. This affects everything and everyone around us. And if we’re not careful, we can become rigid and inflexible in ways that aren’t so easy to remedy. So. Where are you needing to mark your endings and beginnings more clearly? Have you started to get stiff in the areas you’ve been neglecting? If so, do what they do in yoga: take a deep breath, pay attention, and embrace where you are in the moment. And be gentle as you bring more energy to those areas. Simply start from where you are.
One more thing: I’m proud to report I can happily touch my toes again, honey.