Are you looking in the mirror and thinking you want to start making time to work out, start practicing yoga or maybe meditation? It has to be one of the biggest questions people ask me, how do I find the time? When I first went on my journey of transformation and making time to practice yoga, I had two small children at home. I knew making time for myself was going to be the most challenging part. But I also knew that if I didn't start setting time aside for me, I was going to be a terrible role model for my children and more importantly probably not a very level headed Mother. I realised I needed this time to be just about me, no-one else, not putting the washing out, not cooking dinner for anyone, not food shopping or walking the dog, just about me. But I had to be realistic, I was a working Mother of two small children, with a house full of dogs and cats and I had filled my life with chaos. How was this going to be possible?
I started small, I didn't expect myself to get the opportunity initially to hit my yoga mat for an hour, instead I would choose videos of about 15-20mins. I would stick on YouTube, roll out my mat, sit my children down with some form of entertainment and then hit the mat. It was so important to start by familiarising myself with my situation, to know I was likely to get interrupted and to know it was probably going to be chaos around me, but to still dedicate this time to myself. There were days I had to stop half way through and save a child from toppling into a toy box or clean up something delightful, but I always tried to make the effort to get back to my mat when I could.
Without realising it this started to become accepted by my children and apart from the occasional crawl under me in wheel pose, (which they sometimes still do and they are not small anymore) they grew up understanding the importance to me to have the time for my practice. It wasn't long before I had worked my way up to a whole hour. I also had to accept that if I wanted completely uninterrupted time I was going to need to get up earlier and get my practice done before they woke up. So most Mornings I started to get up and on the mat by 5.30am (sounds worst than it was). This actually became my sanctuary and enabled me to be up, wide awake and feeling fabulous for the day. Of course I had the Mornings when a child would stumble in early and want to watch TV, but that was all part of the journey for all of us. Sometimes they would wait for me to finish, so they could join me on the mat for a cuddle in savasana or we would practice some acro yoga together and I realised how in the longterm this was going to benefit them too.
It isn't just children that come in the way of making time for yourself, I have dogs that love to jump on my mat half way through, or come and lick my face in a headstand (not pleasant!) I have had work calls and read emails that I should respond to just before I started and it totally through me off. Even making the time to write this blog, my husband is in the background asking me where things are in the kitchen. But thats life and no-one is going to hand you the time, so you have to take that onboard and make whatever it is you need to do a priority.
Making the time for yoga didn't just improve my body, it also improved my mind and gave me a feel good feeling for the rest of the day. People always asked me how I got up at 5.30am and I would tell them, I couldn't live without getting up at 5.30 in the end. If nothing else I would feel I had achieved something every day before 7am and that set me up for the day.
Now I am lucky enough to have my job teaching yoga and my children are much older and don't need me quite as much anymore. But that has bought new challenges about making time for myself. Sometimes I have early appointments so I can't have the regularity that I once had, but there are a lot of hours in the day and making time for myself is (I now know) essential. So my advice would be, start small and don't let interruptions put you off, instead embrace them!