When we wrapped up lessons in December I encouraged my students to listen to their gut when it came to practicing over the holiday break.
Often on a long-ish break from lessons I encourage my students to be diligent. Some time off can be healthy, but we all benefit from the routine of regular practice, even if the amount of time we play is reduced. I'm known to assign lots of extra materials to keep my students busy over a break (sorry, not sorry!).
Not to sound cliché, but the end of 2020 was different. (You're thinking, duh, we know, so what?)
So, we all need to pay attention to how we're actually feeling, is what.
I typically love New Years Eve. There's that extra feeling of excitement for new unknowns, and the adrenaline of possibility. There is a duality we feel at New Years that other holidays and events just don't provide. The sense that we are both in the past and the future all at once. On a precipice between what we have been and what we will be, with a startlingly clear view of each.
Of course, we have that duality available to us all the time. It would be awesome if we lived between the past and future, in that truly present moment, more often.
We all spent some time avoiding reality this year. Maybe it was too many snacks and virtual happy hours at the beginning of quarantine, or shutting the news off when you wanted to pretend it didn't feel like the world was busting open. It could have been a good escape like lots of reading or exercise, or maybe it was numbing out in front of the tv or on social media. Most of us probably did some version of all of those.
So when we logged off for the holidays to close out 2020, after months of actually slogging through whatever insane things the last year continued to require from us, I encouraged my students to do what felt right. Practice if it sounds fun, or don't if you don't feel like it.
Try to listen to yourself. Not tune out to something distracting, actually listen.
I had grand plans for my break. Lots of reading to do, practicing for fun, and working ahead on things for my yoga teacher training. But, as the break went on, it became pretty clear that some of it just wasn't going to happen.
For once though, instead of berating myself ("I CANNOT BELIEVE that you didn't finish these eight thousand projects you came up with for yourself", etc.), I was ok with it. It's what I needed. Instead of duking it out with myself, I'll pick up refreshed when the break is over, with the energy I need to do a good job on the important stuff instead of a bunch of things that are half baked.
(This isn't a post about stopping everything for lazy "self care.")
As we go into this year with renewed energy and optimism, this is the lesson to take from 2020 - listen to yourself.
Check in with yourself. Regularly.
How do you feel?
What are you working toward?
Is what you're doing getting you somewhere?
Do you still want the same things?
Once you've asked the questions, you just have to give yourself the space to listen.
You might have a plan you meant to stick to but changed your mind, and sometimes that's actually the right answer.