My neck… my back…

Ten years ago, I didn’t have social media.

But do you know what I did have? BLOGS. I had A deep love affair with blogs.

Each morning, after a quick check of my work email to make sure there were no emergent fires to be extinguished, it was blog time.

One of the blogs I read was a mom of three kids who lived in Texas. Her blog was a mix of day-in-the-life recaps, crafts, and recipes. Now, I never made a single one of the recipes she posted. I definitely never did a craft. And to be honest, I didn’t even know if / when I wanted to become a mom at the time. But, I couldn’t get enough of her blog. i looked forward to the posts every day.

I think it was her energy. You could just feel how much she loved her life and how intentional she was with the way she lived it. It inspired me.

As I think back to her posts, I’ll always remember how she’d wake up at 4:30 AM in the morning to have coffee and quiet time. I remember thinking, “WHAT THE LITERAL HELL?” I couldn’t imagine why someone would voluntarily wake up that early.

Until a few months ago, when I started setting my alarm for 5 AM. Only instead of thinking, WHAT THE LITERAL HELL?, most days I actually like it.

Inspired by my friend Paige’s Miracle Mom Morning, I knew that I needed a little time at the start of the day to take care of myself before it was time to take care of the other people in my life. I needed time to wake up, to connect inward, and to get clear for the day before my kids were calling “mama” or my email was dinging non-stop.

With the start of the school year and so many changes to routine (which I wrote about here), I decided now was the time to start waking up earlier for some solo time. Since then, most weekdays I’ve woken up at 5 AM for an hour or so (sometimes less, my kids get up earrrrrly) to myself.

It’s been awesome (well except that first minute when my alarm goes off and I want nothing more than to stay in bed forever and ever, amen).

I usually do an UNMEASURED barre class (you can join me here via the 7-day free trial) before a shower and that first sip of my beloved cup of coffee. It feels amazing to wake up with some gentle movement — my time to dream, pray, listen to music, and set an intention for my day.

And, if I’m craving rest, I take it.

This is exactly what happened last week. Around my period I get so sleepy. Honoring what my body needed, I let myself sleep until my kids woke up rather than setting an alarm.

After a few days, my neck and my back were not feeling great. I had taken for granted an unexpected benefit of my morning movement practice… less aches and pains!

In the middle of most nights, our five year old + our two gigantic dogs find their way into the bed. The upside is that they are excellent snugglers. The downside is that they are also excellent at kicking me in the back.

A couple of days without that gentle morning movement + stretching and I was feeling it!

Natural, normal, and to be expected in life: a single moment with two competing needs.

In those early mornings, my back needed some gentle movement AND I needed the extra sleep.

We can’t be two places at once, so I gave myself permission to prioritize one.

In these moments, it can be easy to guilt, shame, or judge ourselves.

And yet, we have another choice: Self compassion, curiosity, and connection.

I’ve found when we choose the later that the seeds of self-trust are planted.

I could have judged my choice to sleep a little extra when my back started to hurt but instead, I chose compassion for myself in my exhaustion. Curiosity with how I was feeling. Connection to what I needed most.

We always have a choice! Here are a few questions that can help you choose compassion, curiosity, and connection:

What am I learning about myself through this experience?

Was there anything I didn’t realize or was taking for granted that I can now appreciate even more?

Is there something I can forgive myself for or release here that would help me to move forward?

Am I holding myself to impossible standards? If so, how can I practice acceptance for my humanness here?

If my inner critic sounds loud, what is she afraid of? What does she deeply desire?

What does my inner mother (the inner voice of self compassion) want me to know in this moment?

What do I need the most right now? And, what is the most supportive choice for me in this moment (acknowledging there may be multiple positive choices) based on that need?

What could trusting myself look like here?

I was excited to set my alarm for 5 AM again — to get to enjoy my morning barre class, 90s music, inner reflection, and that peaceful first sip of coffee.

But first, I needed a little more sleep.

What do you need most today?

xo, Sim

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