The hardest part is showing up. It’s a cliche for a reason: it’s often true. If I’m loosely planning on going to a yoga class or starting my homework or heading out to explore, the reason I sometimes don’t do it isn’t because I don’t want to somewhere in me. No.
It’s because doing things is freaking hard. It is easy to sit at home and paint my nails, watch Netflix, eat snacks, and (sometimes) make a dent in my to-do list. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things – they’re some of the best things. But we all know there’s a difference between chilling out because you need to and chilling out because, well, laziness.
Showing up is hard.
It comes in different forms. Maybe you struggle to show up for friends in need (hi, you have your own problems). Maybe it’s hard for you to get to work on time. And just maybe… you have a hard time showing up for yourself. That’s what most of my yoga teachers’ focus was always on, because that’s where most people are challenged. It’s hard to break yourself away from your busy schedule and find some time to chill out on your mat, because that’s only for you, not the other fabulous people in your life.
It sounds counterintuitive, but I know showing up just for me is what I have the hardest time with. Sure, I can get my work done and move through my day, but those are at least partially externally motivated. When it comes to doing the little “extra” things that are best for me, sometimes I still kinda suck at it.
Even so, I’m 827 times better at it than I used to be. I could show you the calculations, but I’m just going to ask you to trust me here.
When I started yoga teacher training, I was in the midst of school stress. There were midterms and problem sets and bad teachers and horrifying teachers. I was recovering from my hip injury and trying to start running again. I was in a new living situation, and as always when I’m at school, I was kinda missing home. But I decided to take on one more thing. (#typical)
And what I learned is that you have to check your sh*t at the door sometimes and just be in one place that’s good for you, even if it’s only for a bit. You have to show up fully, even if it is “just” for yourself. You’re worth that.You're worth showing up for. #FitFluential #myuncommoneveryday #yoga Click To Tweet
There’s no phone to distract you in a yoga class. You’re breathing and moving, and that’s about it. When you’re in teacher training, you’re absorbing a whole bunch of information or teaching. You’re not clicking back and forth between tabs. You’re just there, showing up, for yourself and a thing you love.
And no matter how stressed I was, whether I had a midterm the next day or a ton of reading to do or was injured, I never regretted taking that time to do a thing for me.
So, why is it so hard?
Because you don’t want to be selfish. (You’re not.)
Because you want to be productive. (You are.)
Or maybe you are just really comfortable where you are right now, whether that’s in a job you don’t like or on the couch. (It’s okay to be a little uncomfortable.)
You know you can get by without going the extra mile for yourself. (But you deserve it.)
How do you show up more?
During TT, I wasn’t about to miss a training session and have to make it up later. I committed, I loved it, and I was going to keep going – because I loved it and never regretted going or signing up. I try to bring that mindset with me elsewhere now.
That is, when I’m torn between something good for me and uncomfortable and something comfortable that I might regret later, I push myself toward the former.
I’m not going to lie: it’s been hard lately. I’ve been a little more down than normal, and I wake up and don’t always want to go do anything I don’t absolutely have to do.
So, I made a list of things I like to do that make me feel good, like:
- Taking walks
- Talking to friends
- Cooking and baking
Once a day – and especially if I’m feeling icky – I reference the list and do something on it. Something just for me. So, when I sort of want to venture outside and sort of want to fall into Netflix, I get up and go somewhere fun. When I say I want to go to a yoga class, but then I think that sitting and zoning out sounds good, I change clothes and head to class. When I want to cancel plans for no good reason, I meet a friend at the library or go out to dinner.
The catch? I don’t have to go all-in. I can go walk around another neighborhood for a few hours, or I can find a flower and take some pictures of it. I can go to a yoga class that means I’m going to have to shower, or I can practice headstands in my room for ten minutes.
Either way, it’s me, taking some time to do something good for myself.
It goes along with the concept of self-care. It’s all about recognizing that you’re at the very least as important as your to-do list and adding yourself to that list.
- Make a list of the things that make you feel happy, alive, amazing, and like a badass unicorn. Make sure the list has variety. You want things you can do in five minutes and things that can fill a day.
- Do at least something from the list every day. See? You want variety. Schedule it in your calendar or set an alarm. Hold yourself accountable.
- Do the things.
- Check in with yourself. I know, it’s an extra step. But this takes practice, and the only way it’s going to work is if you make sure it does. Showing up, even in small ways, for yourself should make you feel happier, freer, and better able to deal with life. It’s not a cure for all the ills and annoyances, but it takes the edge off.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s not easy to decide that the things that bring you joy and sanity are really important. It sometimes feels silly to take a step back for yourself. Don’t worry, though. It’s not.
How do you show up for yourself?