August is to September as Sunday is to Monday. This statement, that often gets people's heads nodding in agreement when I share it, has been the focus of my classes this month. And you know what I’m talking about. It’s that anxious feeling you get when summer starts to wind down and September’s responsibilities and commitments begin to encroach on your summer vibe. You may have taken some time out to travel, to visit friends, go on a retreat or just enjoy a staycation in the city. And then all of a sudden, you feel the fall season closing in, pressing up against that expanded feeling that summer inspires.
On a more micro level, I’ve heard people say that in terms of the weekend, Sunday is often poisoned by Monday. Now this entire argument is based on our traditional model of a workweek, which doesn’t apply to everyone, of course. But because this model is so ingrained in our society, we might generally agree that weekend days feel energetically different that weekdays. It seems that people are expressing the challenge of being completely present on their day off. There’s a kind of push and pull with Sunday, often having a slow luxurious start, and then a hurried end riddled with preparations for the following day. So Saturday wins as the purest day of the weekend, a day where you can let it all hang out, truly unplug, expand and enjoy.
In a city where busy is a status symbol, it’s important to bring balance to our lives. Because even when we love what we do and look forward to new work opportunities, it doesn’t mean we’re immune to anxiety.
Here are 3 practices that I’ve found helpful in maintaining balance:
1. Set boundaries
My friend Rachel once told me that she doesn’t answer calls or emails after a certain hour in the day. And her Saturdays and Sundays are strictly family time. I thought that this was revolutionary when I heard it. I like to think of myself as someone who is accessible, accommodating and ‘on top of it’. It was freeing to recognize that I could still be all of these things while setting boundaries!
2. Be aware of your transitions
Something that I observe in my yoga classes is a lack of awareness when it comes to transitions. There is a willingness to tune in, to bring attention to the breath and to be present to feel into all those first movements in a warm up. But as soon as I say the word Downward Facing Dog or Flow, students go right into autopilot, forgetting to connect to their breath or to move with mindfulness. We all need reminders to be present, to breathe, and to release expectation! What we do on our mat is meant to be carried into the macrocosmic expression of our lives. Can you think of some daily transitions that you could bring more mindfulness to?
3. Sprinkle your weekday with a weekend vibe
What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Reading? Journal writing? Meditating? Going for a run? Cooking a special meal? Walking in the park? Visiting a friend? How can you recreate these activities so that they fit into your weekly routine?
All three of these practices are rooted in creating balance. I’ll leave you with this great quote from Wynton Marsalis, on maintaining balance:
“Swing is extreme coordination. It’s maintaining balance, equilibrium. It’s about executing very difficult rhythms with a panache and a feeling in the context of very strict time. So, everything about the swing is about some guideline and some grid and the elegant way that you negotiate your way through that grid.”