About a year ago, I decided to try doing yoga every day for a year. I think this was prompted by years of hearing from older yogis who said they’d been practicing every day for 20 or 30 years. This seemed unfathomable to me – what about travel, work, sickness, etc.? How did they do it? But a one-year trial seemed reasonable – I committed to the frequency (every single day!) and the time period (one year), but not exactly what counts as “yoga” every day – it could be a full practice, a short practice, or just rolling around on my mat with the electric space heater jacked up and breathing. It all counts; it’s all yoga.
One year later, goal (pretty much) accomplished! I missed one full day while sick, but otherwise managed to get in something I could convince myself was moderately yoga-like on other days. Yoga in hotel rooms, yoga in airports, yoga on porches, on stone patios, in friends’ guest rooms, in strange Airbnb situations, in studios in Vermont, the midwest and west coast, and most frequently, at home. Yoga in the morning, yoga at night, yoga between conference sessions, yoga while under-slept or overfed or overcaffeinated. Yoga with friends and yoga with Justin Bieber on Spotify. (Gratitude, Spotify!)
Now, knowing what ILLUME does and how much we love talking about behavior change strategies, you might guess this is going to turn into a post about habit formation. I don’t need to go there, because most of you are probably pretty well-read on behavioral science and habits! Instead, I think the ability to make time for this has a lot to do with organizational culture and my wonderful co-workers, many of whom are parents trying to juggle school pick-ups, doctor’s appointments, youth sports, snow days, sick days, and taking care of their own parents with a job. At this time of year I want to say “thanks!” for a culture that enables and encourages all of us to do what we need to do to be better people, parents and employees.
ILLUME has a strong culture of supporting families and work/life balance, which comes through in how we schedule our days and how we respond to our colleague’s personal commitments. We respect each other’s calendars and appointments without question – if someone’s calendar shows “out of the office” after 2pm or someone has to cancel an internal meeting due to appointments that sprung up, there are no questions or requests to move personal commitments, get someone else to pick up the kids, etc. These blocked times are taken as they are, and there is no shame or guilt for reserving this time. If anything, there is respect and celebration for everything everyone is doing outside of work. For example, we have a “Self Care” Slack channel to post things you’ve done (or plan to do) for work/life balance. For me, this lack of pressure and guilt, and understanding that everyone will find time for what we need to do, is critical for not only work/life balance but also productivity and working relationships. As corporate cultures change, remote working becomes more mainstream, technology improves our ability to collaborate remotely, and women-owned businesses grow, I’m hopeful that more and more working Americans can find time for whatever they need to do to stay healthy, happy, and connected to their families and communities. Gratitude, team!