My girls left town this week for Grandma camp. I knew I’d miss them, but I was really looking forward to all the free time and the flexibility I’d have in my schedule. You know– a week off from mom stuff.
The first thing I stopped doing was cooking legit meals for myself. I ate food I could prepare with minimal dish use and the shortest prep time, which meant that it wasn’t particularly delicious. Because the things I’ve been eating aren’t so delicious, and probably because I wanted a break from the normal family schedule, I slipped into no-schedule eating where lunch happens at 3pm or breakfast gets pushed back to 11am or I just eat a quarter of the leftover spaghetti squash because that’s a total of one dish and one fork- – fridge to microwave to dishwasher.
Similar mayhem happened with my sleeping routine.
The first few days, this was kind of fun, but as it continued, I could feel myself getting more tired, distractible, agitated, and even a little sad. Yesterday, I knew I was in trouble because I started unloading the dishwasher and then when I went to put a mug in the cabinet I saw a pile of papers. I forgot about dishes and instead, dug through the pile uncovering an old bank statement that had to be filed in the box in my closet. When I got there, my shoes were terribly disorganized and needed immediate attention. Not only was my attention all over the place, but I could feel myself worrying about this old family gripe and if I passed my phone or computer, facebook called to me loudly… check me. Check ME. CHECK ME!!!
If you are a student of Āyurveda, you might recognize the above tendencies as qualities associated with vāta doṣa. Vāta is known to be dry, light, cool rough, subtle and mobile. These qualities increase and have the potential to go out of balance when we experience them in excess through our food, lifestyle or environment. This principle is known as Like increases Like. For me, all these things I mentioned: anxiety, distractibility and spacey-ness, less-structure, are all symptoms of how I know I’m out of balance in the direction of vāta.
What helps bring vāta back into balance? Cultivate the opposite qualities
Here is a list of the opposites:
Dry – oily
Light – heavy
Cool – warm
Rough – smooth
Subtle – gross
Mobile – stable
Practically speaking, this means I do better when I have more structure around meal and sleep times (stable (I totally know this. Why don’t I do it all the time?)), I oil with warm sesame oil before I bathe (oily and warm), I eat fresh foods (you don’t have to practice Āyurveda to get this one), and I take a break from facebook or other internet time-sucks (computers are light and mobile… not being on the computer so much is not).
And you know what else is good for me? Doing all the mom stuff that I thought I wanted a big break from doing. Snuggling with my girls before they go to bed at night. Doing laundry and sweeping the floors. Preparing meals or enjoying Dave’s yummy cooking. Seeing the trails of stuff the girls leave behind and taking that as evidence that they continue to be curious, creative and messy kids, and then helping them to remember that they need to clean up and take responsibility for their stuff and the space around them. Having my girls around is a really good reminder that I’m happiest when I’m taking good care of myself. That stuff is good for me, too.
Would you like to learn more about Ayurveda?
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