It Was A Year Ago Today

It was a year ago today I drove over to Grain & Pulse Bakery Cafe in Imperial, SK to pick up an order I had placed. The plan was for Beauty by Jay and my small business, Living Sky Yoga & Fitness to have an open house the next day at the building we share.

Jay had placed an ad in the local newspaper and I had ordered treats from the fabulous local chef at Grain & Pulse. At the open house Jay was going to do a hair tutorial and I has going to offer Tabata GX and yoga classes.

I didn’t think about it at the time but we were women entrepreneurs with small businesses working together to support each other in the same week as International Women’s Day. I like that.

News of Covid-19 was already intensifying in the days leading up to this. I remember texting with Jay while standing in Grain & Pulse picking up my order. We both felt that it was okay to go ahead with our planned event.

As I was driving home though, I began to have a change of heart. Jay must have been having second thoughts too. Once home, I touched base with her again. We eventually ended up deciding to to postpone the event (we still haven’t had it). Now, I was stuck at home with the delectable treats for 50 people that I had ordered… (best problem ever)

Over the weekend that followed I reached out to some registered nurses and two doctors I know. They didn’t mince words and their advice was unanimous. Their recommendation to me was to shut things down for the time being. I didn’t like their advice, but decided to take it. On the Monday that followed I taught a 6:30am Yoga Flow class and let everyone know I was closing things down for a bit. Little did I know that a year later I would not have had a regular in-person class since.

Within a day or two of my decision the government was shutting everything down. Since then I have been allowed to be open for some of the months with tight restrictions. When open I was only allowed to have about 25% of the people in the space than prior to the pandemic. However, in November when the government expanded the required distances I needed to keep folks apart, I had to once again shut things down. My space was just not big enough.

The current guidelines are set to expire March 19. The government has seemed hopeful about loosening restrictions and I am curious if I will benefit. However, I am fairly sure that it will be a while yet before I can return to ‘normal’.

Going into opening my studio I had a five year plan (lol). In the first year I got sick, had surgery, and a long recovery. In the second….a global pandemic….

But here I am – still trying…

I know I could focus on the negative (and sometimes I do), but for the most part I refuse to. So on this one year anniversary of sorts I want to reflect on five positives in my life with my small business over the past year.

  1. Tech skills- I have learned (often teaching myself) more technology in the past year than I had learned in my entire life.
  2. Continuing education- when the world shut down and everyone pivoted to online offerings I was able to do huge amounts of continuing education. I still am. Virtual classes has opened the door to learning with experts from around the world at a fraction of the cost.
  3. New opportunities- Shortly into the pandemic a casual comment to a friend led me to writing for the local paper. The pieces started on health and fitness topics, but have evolved since. The editor is fabulous and open to me exploring a range of topics. Writing for the paper has become one of the highlights of my week.
  4. Pushing me out of my comfort zone- As 2020 started one of my goals was to explore offering some online options to my clients. I confess, I probably would have procrastinated on that. I would have been super nervous, unsure of myself and that would have led me to putting it off. 2020 forced me to tackle that. I now love offering online options and know that it will alway be one part of my business.
  5. Support- Finally, I am so grateful for all the support folks have given me over this challenging time. I truly appreciate how people genuinely care about and support small business. All the fabulous women I get to meet and work with makes this journey rewarding.

I keep the ad Jay placed in the paper for our open house on the bulletin board in my home office. It is already starting to yellow around the edges. I imagine I will keep it there for a long time to come. It’s a reminder of the risks you take when starting a small business, that to do so one has to be a little bit fearless. It’s a symbol of women entrepreneurs and the support we give each other. Most all it speaks to me of hope and optimism in the face of uncertainty.

The Winter Blues or Something More?

How are you feeling? Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. So let’s talk.

How are you doing? Is everything okay? Or are you struggling a little bit (or a lot) right now?

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association 15% of folks suffer from the winter blues. If you have the winter blues you might find that you are needing more sleep, craving more comfort foods, or feeling unmotivated and just want to hang out on the couch and chill with the TV.

The winter blues are different than seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which affects 2-3% of Canada’s population. SAD is a regularly occurring depression that impact’s one’s daily life.

Almost year into the Covid-19 pandemic our current circumstances are having an impact on people’s mental health. This summer one in 10 Canadians polled said Covid-19 has negatively affected their mental health. People are feeling anxious and depressed.

It’s always a good idea to reach out and talk to someone when you are struggling. Family or friends might be one option to turn to. You can also visit the Government of Canada website to find resources for help

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/mental-health-services/mental-health-get-help.html

If you think it is the winter blues some tips from the Canadian Mental Health Association include

  1. Getting outside for some daylight and keeping curtains open while inside. The natural light can help boost your mood
  2. Sticking to a normal sleep schedule as much as possible. Over-sleeping can actually make symptoms worse.
  3. Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for how great you’re doing.
  4. Get some physical activity. If it seems difficult to get moving start small with a short walk.

One strategy I have started using is I set the alarm on my phone with a soothing ringtone for twice a day.

When the alarm goes I pause and become AWARE of how I am doing. I check in body, mind and soul. Then I make a choice to ACCEPT how I am feeling in that moment- no matter what. It is what it is. Finally, I set an INTENTION on how I want to feel. Then I let it go and get back to what I was doing.

This whole process takes less than a minute but I have found it helpful to have these little check-ins a couple times a day.

Hopefully, you have are having a wonderful day, but if you find yourself struggling never hesitate to send a message and we can chat.

Some Days Are Just Bad Days (and that’s okay)

Yesterday, I started writing a post entitled, New Year, New Possibilities. It was positive and upbeat. However, partway through my writing there were a few interruptions and things that needed my attention.

At some point I began to feel drained. Then something a little more happened. My heart began to flutter, my chest felt tight, I felt sick to my stomach. These are not feelings I usually have.

I tried to walk it out. I stepped outside for fresh air. I sat with my plants and meditated. After a bit of meditation I did indeed feel better. Yet, throughout the day feelings of unease and anxiousness returned.

Eventually, I surrendered. I knew I was not going to be productive and gave up any expectations to be. Instead I baked cookies. I put on music. I had a bath. When dinner time came I decided I didn’t want to cook dinner, so I didn’t. Instead I made a sandwich and popped frozen French fries in the oven. I spent the even listening to an audiobook, then finished my day with a guided meditation.

Today I woke up feeling refreshed and inspired. Today any frustrations or anxiety I had are gone. I feel myself again.

Bad days happen. That’s okay, especially right now as we deal with the second wave of the pandemic.

Bad days happen, even though it is a new year and all around us we see the promotion of new goals, new opportunities, new possibilities.

I promote all those ideas. Yet, life is more than optimism and positive thinking and some days we will have bad days.

So be kind with yourself. Nurture yourself. Nourish yourself with activities that you enjoy.

Sure there’s lots of things we want to do in 2021, but we can do them tomorrow when we’re feeling a little better.

12 Days of Yoga- December 20-31

Some extra virtual classes to nurture ourselves through the holidays. 

December 20- Winter Solstice Sun Salutation Class 4pm
December 21- Winter Solstice Yin Class 7pm
December 22- Nurturing Foot Massage 7:30pm on Zoom
December 23- Yoga Joy (a class of some of people’s favourite poses)  5pm
December 24- Christmas Eve Yin  7pm
December 25- Christmas Morning Meditation 9:30am
December 26- Saturday Morning Flow 10am
December 27- Playing with the Breath 4pm on Zoom
December 28- Focus on the Foot 5pm on Zoom (we’ll be using a tennis ball in some options)
December 29- Moon Salutation Class 7:30pm
December 30- Cleansing Power Yoga Class (let’s burn off anything we don’t want to bring into 2021) 4pm
December 31- New Year’s Eve Yin  4pm

Message to join the virtual Facebook group or to get the Zoom links
If you can’t make the class recordings will be available till early January. Message for more info.

Wishing you a beautiful holiday season
Warm Wishes
Denise

The Joy of Trying New Things

One fun unexpected thing about 2020 is it has been a year of being pushed out of my comfort zone. When I look around at things that are happening in the world I know that I have been fortunate in many ways. Though this year isn’t what I had envisioned, and I have often had to adapt, I have also found that some of this has provided great learning experiences for me.

When my business had to shut down in March due to Covid-19 guidelines I quickly took my classes virtual. I was lucky to have a tiny bit of previous experience with Zoom, but the whole thing was definitely not easy for me. I was so nervous those first virtual classes. Since then I have played with different platforms, cameras, rooms to shoot in and more. I still have so much to learn.

Yet, I adapted. Months after that first virtual class when a local TV station wanted to visit my studio I was extremely nervous but so much more prepared with all that virtual class experience. Now I am collaborating with them on an upcoming project.

As the pandemic continues and opportunities for in-person classes have not returned to what they used to be I find myself nurturing new dreams and goals. One of those is to launch my first online course.

Though I can navigate some technology, a lot of it seems like a whole other language. Technology does not come naturally or easy for me. However, this is stuff I need to know, stuff I want to work towards these new goals. Over the past few weeks I have slowly started trying to work with new software and platforms. I started quite tentatively, reaching out for help often.

Today though I tackled several mini projects on my own. I had success! I was reminded of the phrase “neurons that fire together wire together”. I could almost feel those neurons at work. The more I am doing, the easier it is becoming. I can feel myself learning.

Maybe technology is easy for you. Maybe yoga and fitness don’t come naturally for you. Maybe you would like to try but you’re nervous or unsure where to begin. This year has been one where so many yoga and fitness instructors have taken their offerings online. I encourage you to find one you connect with and give it a try. You might just surprise yourself like I have surprised myself with these small technology victories.

Perhaps my new online course is a right fit for you. It’s designed for those who have never practiced yoga, been away from yoga for a while, or those who want to deepen their foundation and knowledge in the practice.

It’s a great time to begin a yoga journey.