Cozy Yoga Life by Shannon Caldwell

Cozy Yoga Life Ep00 Self-Care and Mental Health

December 21, 2023 Shannon Caldwell Season 1 Episode 0
Cozy Yoga Life by Shannon Caldwell
Cozy Yoga Life Ep00 Self-Care and Mental Health
Show Notes Transcript

In this introductory episode, released just in time for the busy holiday season, I share the moment I realized I truly needed to practice self-care, why it was necessary for my mental health, and where we (yoga teachers) go from here.

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You're listening to Cozy Yoga Live, the podcast for yoga teachers who crave more from their practice and lives. I'm Shannon Codwell, and I'll be your guide on this journey of simplicity, self care and self discovery. So let's cozy up, unwind, and dive into today's episode.

Shannon:

I want to start us off with one of my favorite quotes. This one is by TKV Desikachar. He says, a good yoga teacher is not necessarily someone who can perform all manner of complicated asanas. To live the life of a yogi is about faith that continuously guides the teacher towards practices leading to harmony. One of the reasons this is my favorite quote is because it doesn't emphasize a person's size or race or their ability to hook their foot behind their head. Instead, Desik Char specifically uses practices that lead us to harmony. I interpret that to mean any practice that brings about harmony could be considered yoga. So instead of focusing on breathing and meditation techniques or holiday themed sequences you can teach in your classes this month, it seemed like the right time to share with you my own mental health journey and the practices I embarked on to lead me back to harmony. Especially since this time of year can bring stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, overwhelm, sadness. For a lot of people, this is not a joyful and happy time. This journey began, the date is seared into my head. It's July 3rd, 2022. I remember the date because it was the day before the 4th of July. This is the day that I describe it as falling apart. I started feeling kind of off, kind of weird. My limbs started shaking. My heart started racing. I thought my blood pressure was doing something funky. So I went to lay down in my bed. And the sensation really only got worse, so I stood up and I'm pacing the bathroom. I feel really nauseous like I'm going to throw up and then I'm like, I don't know what's wrong. I'm vacillating between is this a panic attack or is this something that I need to go to the ER and have addressed. After about 10 minutes of dealing with this on my own,, I did the next hardest thing. And that was through some guilt and shame and embarrassment, I called out for my husband. I'm consider myself a strong, independent person and I can handle things and take care of myself. But I was just. I'm not in a place where I could handle all of this by myself. He came in there and he's talking me through, he's asking me if I want to go to the hospital. At some point that all changed and I'm just, I'm crying, I'm crying and crying, huge bawling tears, racking my body. I knew in that moment when I was crying that I was having a major panic attack. I also realized in that moment that I was not okay. oNe of the reasons that I remember the date so well is because the next day we went to my parents house with the kids to go swimming and celebrate the 4th of July. I was a shaky mess the entire time. I was smiling through my discomfort. I was working super hard to hide my emotions from my kids and my parents. I just wasn't in a space, to talk about it, or worse, be judged for it, or, you know, receive the unsolicited advice. And I'm sure the comments would have been well intentioned, but I was, I was too raw in my current state to take it in a constructive way. Once I had that, fully unraveling, that unspooling of my thread, if you will, I knew I needed to start taking the steps to re thread to get healthy. So one of the first Steps that I took in regaining some mental health is I made sure truly that nothing physically or medically was wrong. I scheduled all of my appointments, the family doctor, the gynecologist, the mammogram, the colonoscopy, all of those fun diagnostic tests that are required at milestone ages. Then, while I checked off doctor's appointments, I turned to the handful of therapists who'd taken yoga teacher training from me for recommendations, and I feel super blessed that I had people that I could reach out to, to get those recommendations. And since I'm a big believer in timing and synchronicity, the first therapist that I reached out to that was recommended to me had one opening left and the practice accepted my husband's insurance. So again, I was feeling very blessed and like this was the right thing at the right time and the next right step for me to do. I found myself sitting on her couch for the first time in August. So about a month after I had my panic attack, I was sitting in the therapist's office. And one of the first questions that she asked was, why are you seeking therapy? What's been a really interesting part of the journey is the reason I thought I was going to therapy turned out to only be a really small portion of the reason why July 3rd, 2022 was my unraveling. I told my therapist, Hey, I need to get my anxiety under control. I feel like my anxiety led to having this panic attack. And she's like, okay, great. We can definitely talk about that. And I can work with you and give you some strategies that will help you to cope with and deal with your anxiety. She was super kind at the time to not, like, give me what she really thought was going on that early. Over the next, few months, talking openly, practicing the strategies that she gave me, I really discovered That day was kind of a perfect storm of everything that was going on in my life. We had a kid preparing to go to college. I was going through my first stages of peri menopause. I was, Coming out of the pandemic with everybody else. I had a business that was for all intents and purposes failing and I was just. Mentally, at my lowest point, I was burned out in all areas, momhood, working, womanhood, everything. And it just, it all came crashing down like a house of cards. I'm still in therapy, I'm still going, over the course of about 16 months, You know, we did come to recognize that anxiety was only a small part. It was my anxiety probably kicked off because of all of these other things that were taking place. My body was telling me I need to take care of myself. Taking care of oneself, we might think of this as self care, and I'm kind of meh about the word self care because it has such a negative connotation, when the truth of the matter is that we all need to see to our own needs. We need to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. If we want to be around to do the things that we want to do, I have also discovered some other things along the way that I hope to share with you in the future in this type of format, but I want to keep this first one, this first episode, if you will, short and sweet, because I know we're all super busy. We're all running around with the holidays, trying to keep our heads above water. It's just a trying time for a lot of people. As you're going about and you're doing all the things, please remember that. One, you don't have to do all of the things if it's better for your mental health to not go to your third holiday party, then give yourself that permission to not go to that holiday party or whatever it is that when you think about it, you feel the stress and the anxiety building in your body. So give yourself permission to not do all of the things. The other thing that I would really encourage also is to give yourself some time, some time out. If that means going into your closet and locking the door and having five minutes to yourself without people breathing down your neck, pulling you in a bunch of different directions, then you should absolutely take that step for you. I Know that I'm super fortunate to have a supportive spouse. The means and the ability to seek medical help, go to the doctors, get a therapist, and not everybody has that option. Mental health is a serious thing. And if you're struggling this holiday season, I want you to know that I understand. I see you. And if you need. If you have an ear or you need someone to talk to, know that you can reach out to me.

That wraps another soul nourishing episode of Cozy Yoga Life. As always, thank you for letting me be a part of your yoga journey. If you enjoyed today's authentic conversation, please subscribe, rate, and leave a review. Until next time, stay cozy, take care of yourself, and keep it real.