I’m going to shoot straight with you: my wonderful assistant just quit last week and I’m overwhelmed. I’d love to describe how my summer vacation is off to a wonderful start, how my meditation has never been better, how patient I am with my kids… but the honest truth is that I’m having a really hard time.
Her last day was 10 days ago. I’m trying to write a book. I’m trying to be on vacation, to give my adrenals a rest. I’m trying to plan carefully my next move with my integrative medical practice. But I checked my work inbox yesterday and I’ve got 182 emails stacked up since she left. I feel stressed. My cortisol, the main stress hormone, is high – I can feel it. It’s uncomfortable. It gives me a wired, anxious feeling. It’s unsettling.
I want to be grounded, energized, present, but really I’m trying to figure out: What Next? Should I hire another assistant? Should I be more virtual in my practice? What can I automate? How can I consciously set and maintain clear boundaries so that I’m not overwhelmed by patient emails, phone calls and the like? How can I deliver my gift, my Great Purpose, which I believe is guiding women toward juicier vitality, and minimize the busyness that doesn’t suit me – the responsibilities that come with prescriptions, the frantic phone calls, the emails with 7 bullet items.
Fortunately, I know from 20+ years of managing overwhelm that one thing always helps: YOGA. A friend texted me last night to go to class this morning, and I realized, “Ah, that is exactly what I need.”
Hard class. Puddles of sweat. My shoulders felt crunchy and geriatric from months of a more yin-style home practice. My hips were tight. But just when I started to spin into my “WHAT-SHOULD-I-DO-WITH-MY-MEDICAL-PRACTICE?” during class, the teacher said just the right thing: “Asana Jail. It’s when you come into your asana and stop breathing.”
Right. Keep breathing. Stay in the Parasympathetic Tone; that is, rest and digest, rather than spiralling into Sympathetic Tone, a.k.a. fight or flight.
Break this process down into asanas. Modules.
Module 1 = Step up my virtual assistant help so I have more freedom from the old narrative. The old narrative is my previous way of practicing medicine, which no longer serves me. Find the eye in the storm.
Module 2 = Dream about what I most want. Paint the picture. Don’t worry about “the how” – linger in “the what.”
Module 3 = Add some reflection. Where do I feel restricted today? What is the impact? Who has restricted me today? Why? How did I let myself feel restricted today?
Small changes. Big impact. Yoga helps everything. Stay out of asana jail. Right.