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My home is three things: my sanctuary, my office, and my yoga studio.
Yes, I run from home. But before you go into the standard response I always hear( you’re SO lucky !), please know this: Running from home involves serious discipline–discipline that I didn’t always have.
True, I don’t have to punch a hour card, sit in rush hour traffic, or even put one over pants if I don’t want to, but I do have to show up and motivate myself every single day. And truth is to know, that can be a hard thing to do.
I’ve always been a yogi, but when I started working from home this year I determined my dedication to my practice slipping. I wasn’t heading to my mat regularly, my days were without structure, and while I didn’t immediately realize it, the loss of my practise was affecting me both emotionally and creatively.
So I decided to create a yoga challenge for myself to get on my mat every morning Monday through Friday before heading toward my desk. I did this for a full 30 days, and the takeaway was more than I could have imagined. Though the lessons I’d learned in those 30 days far outstripped merely four, these are a few of the most important things I’d come to realize throughout my month-long challenge.
1. Stick to a Schedule
I wake up at the same period every day, so I was already off to a good start.
But, before I dedicated myself to this challenge, I’d dilly dally for half the morning before ultimately inducing my route to my office to start working. Subbing that useless time–more often than not staring at my phone–with yoga practice was a game changer. What I had been lacking( and hadn’t realized I’d missed until this challenge) was routine and structure.
During these 30 days I woke up at the same hour every day, headed to my mat for practice followed by breakfast and a cup of tea, and used to work. When the challenge was over, rather than heading back to my dilly dally days of experiencing Instagram-induced FOMO, I instead continued to stick with my new morning routine.
Some days I did deviate from my new schedule, and I found on those days that I’d procrastinate more and lacked a general feeling of focus and inspiration. Starting each day off with a practice, a clear head, and zero screen hour proved to construct me most productive throughout the rest of the day.
2. Be Patient With the Process, and Yourself
To be honest, some days I merely didn’t want to be on my mat. This challenge was, well, challenging–but that was the phase, right?
I had taken a long hiatus from my practice, and the process of getting back to it left me sore, and frustrated. Poses that had once come easily to me now were a real stretch for me to get into, and I find myself reaching for props more than I had in a long time. I was proud of myself though–for recognizing my limitations and not allowing them to stimulate me quit.
Patience was never a strong virtue of mine, and this challenge was undoubtedly testing its limits. But, rather than roll my mat up and throw it into my closet I came back, day after day. Sometimes for only a 15 -minute practice, and sometimes for an hour. By the end of the month my Crow Pose was no longer a near face-plant into the mat–proof that patience and perseverance prevail.
3. It’s OK to Take a Break
For some reason, as soon as I sat down with my computer to run, I wouldn’t get up from it–all day. I no longer took the one-hour lunch breaks I used to get, and I no longer had coworkers around for chats or brainstorm conferences. Some days really had me feeling a bit stir crazy, and staring at a screen for hours on end became torturous.
So, just as I would come back to my breath on the mat, or stay an extra five minutes in Savasana, I let myself to take infringes while working, too. Not merely did I deserve them–I still run a full eight hour day–I required them, too. So, I let go of the guilt of unplugging. I turned off my phone and shut down my computer for an hour and took some much-needed hour away.
Whether it was to sit down with a book for half an hour, play with my dog outside, or whip up a smoothie, get away from work for a little bit was like hitting the refresh button on my brain. I was able to head back to my desk feeling rejuvenated, rather than dreading another two hours of work.
4. Modify Your Space for Motivation
Believe it or not, your surrounds matter. Doing yoga for the first week of my challenge in the basement wasn’t ideal, but moving up to the bright and sunny living room stimulated it much more enjoyable.
Similarly, most mornings, before I had a home office I ran from either the kitchen table, or the couch. Aside from feeling achey from sinking into the couch cushions all day, I felt a serious absence of motive. This is where I used to come to relax and unwind when I’d get home from an actual office; it wasn’t an environment that was conducive to good work, or good posture.
My home office was a long work in progress. When it was finally finished, I realized that much like how the dark basement affected my headspace for my practise, my lack-of-office environment had affected my headspace for my work.
I filled my new office with ingenuity and colour. I added crystals to my desk, paintings and photos to my walls, and candles all throughout. These things induced me happy. They attained me feel inspired, ready to work, and they induced my office a place I wanted to be.
Maggie Peikon is a New York native, writer, and sufferer of insatiable wanderlust. An avid endorphin seeker she has a constant need to be moving, seeking escapade in all she does. She is a lover of travel, daydreaming, fitness, thunderstorms, and her dog, Finley. Despite the facts of the case that she has to take medication daily due to a thyroidectomy, Maggie still believes that laughter will always be the best medication. Follow her contemplations on Instagram and Twitter.
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