We made it through another “Blue Monday”, an unofficial holiday deemed to be, scientifically, the worst day of the year. Heard of it? It’s always the third Monday in January. The holiday fun is over, the Northern Hemisphere is having its coldest weather, credit card bills are horrifying, and resolutions are just a memory. (Yes, the packed yoga classes of yester-week are already returning to normal levels.) Spring and summer are SO far away. And let’s not forget, Valentine’s Day with all its cruel expectations and reminders to us single guys and gals that “there you are, another year older and single“, is bearing down on us quickly. Blue Monday is, simply, sad.
I actually had a decent Blue Monday despite Toronto’s frigid temps and all of the other Blue Monday aspects. A great weekend with positivity overflowing into the start of my week helped. But alas, Tuesday arrived, and I quit my job. More on that later.
Yoga, that moving meditation and sweaty form of exercise that forces you to see yourself, has been there for me for almost a decade now. Every late October when Canadian days shorten, I try to commit to the yoga mat at least four times every week. When I don’t force yoga’s mindfulness on myself, I find it all too easy to get swept up by the energy of the city and my life, and slip into mindlessness, or “auto-pilot” living. Then it’s up to TV-binging, whisky, salty fried food, ruminating about work, and late nights to keep me going and feel good. Not so good! Trust me when I say $100/month at a good yoga studio pays for itself right away.
This year, I did get a little too busy for yoga, and when work projects blew up in October, I took it hard. I’d leave work and crawl straight into bed. The next morning, I was hanging from the subway handles like a frozen side of beef and all day I was slumped in my executive chair.
After three weeks of this, I forced myself to go to yoga. If you’ve ever been depressed, you understand that feeling where you truly need outside intervention* or you need to gather that last ounce of faith and strength and just get moving. Maybe for you it’s to go to a group meeting, to see a trusted friend, to the boxing ring or pool, the doctor’s office, or to the yoga studio or mat on your apartment floor.
I got moving, and movement/manipulation of my body pulled my mind up out of my proverbial ass, and the light shone again. Honestly, I can say I worked out my issues in two weeks of sweating it all away in yoga, utilizing my solid ujjayi breathing as a focus. Most yoga classes will instruct this straightforward, slightly noisy type of breathing. It’s optional. It’s good.
Moving my overwhelmed, exhausted body was hard, but it was the answer. I was on top of the world by the time the holidays were here, and I kept up the feverish yoga pace…it became my sedative when my upcoming tropical vacations (plural!) loomed and I wanted to run out and buy all the cute summer gear. Yoga was the workout that got my beach body ready and helped me drop 8 pounds in time for Barbados. Maybe yoga will eventually help me just love the body I have. I’ll get there one day no doubt.
Barbados and Puerto Vallarta came and went, then Blue Monday came and went, and on Tuesday I handed in my notice at work.
I wasn’t overcome with emotion. No rash decisions, resentment, or anger. No mindless, autopilot reactions. It was a confident, knowing that it’s time to go. True, I could have landed another job before quitting. I’m just feeling so damned good these days. Moving mindfully, moving through hard decisions, moving in reality, and moving on.
*If it seems like someone you know is struggling, let them know you care and are there.