Meet Yourself Where You Are


woman practicing yoga in child's pose trying to find balance in life

I’ve been an avid exerciser most of my life. I used to do intense, trendy workouts and train for half-marathons, mostly so I could fit into my favorite jeans. Since that ship has long sailed, I now exercise for my mental health more than anything else. I focus less on the “calories burned” and more on how my body and mind feel afterward.

One of my favorite places to go is Alkalign Studios, a barre and cardio studio on the peninsula. These workouts are very focused and repetitive, almost meditative for me. I get in the zone and really get to focus on my body and mind without distraction. It’s true bliss, and I always feel better when my workout’s over.

The other day during one of the classes, the instructor was talking about how to strike the balance between pushing ourselves fully in the workout while also accepting ourselves for where we are in that minute, that workout, that day. Each day is different, she said, so don’t worry about what you did yesterday or your plan for tomorrow. Focus on what you can do in your body right now, in this moment. Some days will be easier, and some days will be harder. Approach that—and yourself—with gratitude and grace, not judgment.

When she said that, I nearly fell over. And not only because we were in a complicated, half-bent glute-targeting exercise. It was her words. The idea that each day is different, each day we feel different, and we need to meet ourselves where we are.

In the past, my workout approach was always, if I ran 4 miles yesterday, then I need to run 4.5 today. If I’m lifting 20 pounds this week, then next week I’ve got to push up my weights. It was sometimes motivating but could also be frustrating when I just wasn’t in the right zone or mood that day.

With this new mindset, I’ve felt empowered to really personalize my exercise to me. I check in with myself in the mornings and say, ok, how am I feeling? Am I up for the run we had planned, or should we focus on yoga and meditation today? It’s so liberating, and I really enjoy my exercise so much more because I’m in the right headspace to do it.

So then I thought, why stop there? Why not apply this mentality to my parenting and at work, too?

Because we all know that some days we have more patience than others. Some days we are on time. Some days we get all our work done and even send out a few extra emails before picking up the kids. Some days we feel unstoppable and even throw in an extra load of laundry just for the hell of it.

And other days are a complete sh!t show. And, on those days, when nothing seems to be going right, and everyone is late, and I’m feeling stressed, I take myself back to that barre class. And I remind myself, every day is different. Today might not be the best day, but I am doing the best that I can.

The “best I can” might not be very much. It might mean forms forgotten at home, emails left unanswered, To Do lists laying forlorn and neglected on the counter, baseball cleats nowhere to be found.

And that’s ok. If I approach myself (and my family!) with grace and recognize we are each doing the best we can in this moment, I can have a much healthier perspective. I can reset my expectations to be more realistic and realize tomorrow is another day. And on the good days, I feel very proud of all that I can accomplish!

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Meredith is a transplant to the Bay Area and has fallen in love with the weather, gorgeous scenery, and plethora of local wineries. A wife and mother of two, she works part-time as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She hails from Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and will always bleed orange. She then moved to Washington DC to attend Georgetown's School of Medicine, where she fell in love with her future husband, a fellow student, and has been happily married for almost a decade. She and her husband lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for several years for their medical training and found it the perfect place to start a family. She relocated to the Bay Area a few years ago and has quickly adapted to West Coast living. Meredith enjoys the balance of part-time working and full-time parenting and loves to write about this ongoing struggle. In her persistent drive to find more "me time", she actively pursues her interests in reading, running, soccer, baking, and wine tasting.


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