Sunday Morning Tea: Sometimes you have to get back on a different horse.

Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for reflection and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

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I’m not exactly sure when the above picture was taken. It’s been snowing here most of the last two (three? I’ve lost track) months.

But it was definitely not in January, because in January I went from exercising every week, 2-3 times a week, to…nothing.

I’d had a regular rhythm in place for nearly three years. I’d go to the gym faithfully twice a week (more often in summer), mid-morning when the crowds had died down. I’d put in 30 minutes on the elliptical, do a short weight routine, stretch out, and get in the shower. 

I wasn’t ever going to become a hardbody with that routine, but it worked for me because it was easy. Easy to fit into my day, easy to get used to the routine. I’d listen to good music or watch Food Network on the gym TVs, I’d sweat just hard enough to feel like I’d done something, without ever feeling exhausted or like I was really pushing myself. After my surgery last summer, I was back on the elliptical at the three-week mark (after being cleared for moderate exercise, of course) and it was as though I’d never been gone. 

I stayed reasonably fit in a reasonable amount of time while putting forth a reasonable amount of effort. See? Easy.

Sometimes, “easy” is exactly what you need. When I started my 2-3X weekly elliptical routine, Clara was a toddler, Owen hadn’t started kindergarten yet, and my days were unpredictable and ruled by naps and preschool schedules. I was coming off a long period of inactivity and had been struggling to make movement a regular part of my life. Making it easy helped me commit. And with a few blips along the way, I have been more consistently active over the last three years than any other point of my adult life, so for a time, “easy” worked.

But around the holidays, I fell off the horse…hard. I told myself I was just taking a week off between Christmas and New Year. Reasonable, right? But then the weather started, snowstorms and whiteouts and bitter cold temperatures and school cancelled for days in a row.

To be perfectly honest, I still could have made it to the gym a couple of times a week if I’d tried.

But what I came to realize is that sometimes “easy” isn’t particularly compelling. It was going to take more to convince me to go out in -10 temperatures than the promise of the view from the elliptical machine.

And this week – when the kids had a full week of school, it didn’t snow much, and I finally had no more excuses for skipping the gym – I climbed back on the elliptical machine for the first time in over a month. And I thought, “Mehhhhhhhh.”

Sometimes there’s a thin line between “easy” and…boring.

One activity I did manage to make time for amid the holidays and the snow is a Friday morning yoga class. When I went to the class for the first time in early winter, I was immediately reminded of two things: 1) Even a “gentle yoga” class never feels “easy” to me – there are always ways to deepen the practice and make it more challenging; and 2) When I’m practicing yoga I may feel sweaty and frustrated and my muscles might burn and I might wonder when, oh when, is this plank ever going to end…but I am never, never bored.

Anyone else remember this book?!

Anyone else remember Raquel’s yoga book?!

I have practiced yoga on and off since I was 20 – earlier, if you count working my way through my mom’s Raquel Welch yoga book when I was 8 – but haven’t been consistent about it in at least a decade. And I’d forgotten how much I missed it. There is a sense of rightness on the mat that I don’t experience in any other kind of activity. 

So I think it might be time for me to put my old routine aside and follow what feels right: adding more yoga classes into my week, building my practice, getting used to practicing at home…maybe even subscribing to Yoga Journal again. 

It won’t be easy. The classes I want to add look a lot more difficult than “gentle” yoga. The scheduling will require me to change up the way I plan my week. 

But sometimes, it’s not enough to get back on the same horse. Sometimes the reason you fell off the horse in the first place was that it wasn’t inspiring you or serving you well anymore. And as great as “easy” can sometimes be, sometimes you’re ready to move beyond easy, predictable, reasonable, good-enough…and ready to embrace a challenge. 

This week I realized that it’s time for me to get back on the horse…but a different horse, this time. My simple routine has served me well, but it’s time to let it go and move on to something that fits where I am in life right now. Even if it’s not easy.

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with me! If you’ve missed them, you can catch up on more Sunday Morning Tea posts right here.

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