Two years ago I had the worst pain of my life. I remember it vividly: I was in bed, it was 1am, when my back just seized. It hurt so bad I felt like I was going to throw up. I slowly made my way to the bathroom, crying, and then woke up my husband and said ‘I need to get to the hospital right away.’ My parents came over to stay with the kids at 2am from Queens and off to the emergency room we went. They put me on morphine. How bad was the pain? Well, I STILL felt that pain through the morphine. After doctors visits, X-rays, MRI’s you name it, there was no sign of any trauma and it was pretty much inexplicable. All I knew was I could not stand upright and the pain was blinding. It was at that point my father told me I needed to read all the Dr. Sarno books I could get my hands on about the body/mind connection with back pain. The pain is real, it’s not ‘in your head’ but it’s only through your mind that you can release it and prevent it. My Dad was convinced it was stress. He was right.
I had just had my second child 7 months prior, and launched a new business venture with my the co-founder of Illuminate Classes. In fact, the photography school we co-founded launched when I was literally on my back. The roll out of teachers, social media posts, website launch happened all while operating from my back. For 30 days I basically stayed in bed. I couldn’t hold my child, I couldn’t leave my room for the most part, and I couldn’t go on a plane to Italy to celebrate my 10th anniversary with my husband. It sucked. All of it. My hustle was officially unmanageable. As a woman who believed I literally COULD do it all, I fell into a depression. I had to make changes. But what… I didn’t want to give up on the businesses I invested myself in to create or my entrepreneur spirit. How could I change my life without changing what brought me joy?
Fast forward to June 2017 when I rediscovered yoga. I simply was done with the gym life. I needed to figure out how to increase my core strength to support my back, and more importantly how to increase my mental strength to attempt to balance two businesses and a toddler and my other child and all else that goes with life (insert the whole damn list here). I had my eye on a studio, Tovami Yoga, that opened up in town that I could walk to and as fate would have it they had a summer special pop up on Facebook as I was scrolling one day. Unlimited yoga for the whole summer at a rad rate. Why not? Sign me up.
Fast forward to present day. My back problems? NON-EXISTENT. My depression? GONE. My strength? Never been stronger, mentally and physically. My ability to recognize when I need self-care because I’m on the brink? On point. My productivity? Way the fuck up.
When I say Yoga saved my overachieving life, I’m not exaggerating.
Part of the hustler mentality in my book is if something isn’t working, don’t complain about it, CHANGE IT. You are only limited by your own mind. I don’t care what it is: job, your weight, your social life, your self-care. You are the only one that has the power to make it happen for yourself. You are the best person to care for you. You are all you got.
For me, the realization that self-care was not a luxury, or something to feel guilty about or something I needed a lot of money for (hello, Yoga With Adriene on YouTube is free people) has been the biggest realization of my life. Stop being a martyr. Start taking care of yourself.