The other weekend, my husband Neil, a sociology professor, attended an academic conference. His conferences, talks, and research trips come up fairly often, and while I always encourage him to go—even when it means working weekends or being away from home for most of a work week—I’ve come to learn that I need to figure out ways to decompress from solo parenting once he’s back home. But how to do that when there’s not much time? Especially in the middle of a busy holiday season?
That was my challenge on a recent Sunday evening. Lucien and I’d had a great weekend together, we saw a local theater production, went to a friend’s birthday party, had avocado rolls and acted out every Pixar movie ever made (or so it felt like). But all that fun was exhausting. (Maybe that had to do with the cooking, cleaning, and chores that went along with the one-on-one weekend.) Now Neil was home and telling me to take a much needed break.
“Take it easy,” he said. “Go relax. I’ll clean up. What do you want for dinner?”
I had about 45 minutes before dinner to myself. I knew yoga was the answer, but I wasn’t in the mode for a full-on practice. (I had a headache, was tired, getting over a cold, you know the feeling.) Here’s what I did instead:
I turned the lights down, put on sweats and a comfy sweater and wool socks, wrapped an eye wrap around my forehead and eyes, and began with a Child’s Pose supporting my arms (hands to opposite elbows) and forehead on a bolster, with knees wide and feet together. After staying there for several minutes I made my way into Supta Badha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster with supports under my knees and a strap around my low back and feet. Then Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) over a bolster, this time using the pillows to support my arms. I ended my practice with a nice long Savasana with my knees draped over a bolster.
By the time dinner was ready (rice and a huge plate of broccoli and kale sauteed in garlic) I felt like I’d had the break I needed. That night Neil massaged my shoulders while we watched Homeland (now that was stressful, but in a good way), and by the next morning I was ready for a new week.
How does yoga help you take care of yourself? And are you finding time to practice now that the holidays are here?
Jessica Berger Gross is the author of enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer (Skyhorse), out in paperback now. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and four-year-old son. “Like” her author page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter. Visit her at www.jessicabergergross.com.