Monday, November 26, 2012

Teaching my daughter to be well

I’m not exactly a couch potato.  But I’m not the picture of fitness, either.  My fitness regime tends to come in spurts – either I’m doing a 60-day hot yoga challenge, burning 1,000 calories per workout, five times a week, or I’m doing…well…not much of anything except trying to stay afloat while juggling life, work, and motherhood and still maintaining some semblance of rest and well-being in my own life.

The great thing about yoga is that, in addition to being the best workout I’ve ever done, it brings a sense of balance, calm, strength and flexibility – externally and internally.  There is a level of determination I reach in each workout that is therapeutic.  In that moment, I know that I am fully invested in something that is just for me.  And in the hectic world that is my life, moments like those are rare.

Unfortunately, it seems my episodes of fitness have become more few and far between in recent months.  I tell myself that investing myself in my daughter, my marriage, my house and my work is for me.  And that’s true.  But at the same time, I know that if I lose sight of setting aside time for something that is purely mine, sooner or later, the dominoes will start to fall and it will negatively impact every aspect of my life and every person I love.

So here comes the tough question: if I’m not modeling a life of health and well-being, how can I expect my daughter to “learn” to be well? I’m painfully aware that at 18 months, Ava is mimicking every possible thing I do. When I am stressed, preoccupied, or otherwise not fully living in the moment, she can see it.  Every chance she gets, she grabs my iPhone and starts opening apps and having “conversations.” And despite what I hear from other parents and see in other kids, I don’t think her fascination with my phone is purely experimental.  I think she can see how attached I am to it, and that makes it important to her.

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I believe it’s important to recognize when you begin to stray from healthy boundaries you’ve put in place and make adjustments.  So over the Thanksgiving holiday, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t check email.  And other than taking pictures, I left my phone in my purse and made an effort to protect my time with my family and my time to myself.  Achieving well-being isn’t about grand gestures and major overhauls.  It’s about taking small steps that you can maintain, and living in the moment.

Here’s a picture of one of our moments worth remembering over the holiday.  Please feel free to share one of yours.

Rachel Raya is the Director of Internal Stakeholder Communications at Texas Health Resources, Mom to Ava, and yoga lover.

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