It’s in the single digits where I live in Massachusetts. The wind hurts, and I’m cold down to the bone. It’s the kind of weather that brings on the desire for hygge (the danish word to describe feelings of warmth, coziness, simplicity and happiness.) The temptation to stay in bed and never get out of my pajamas is almost overpowering.
For me personally, lazy days of hygge lack the aspect of happiness. I find excess sleep or deviation from my routine set off my depression. If I give in once to my desire to stay in bed, it’s hard to break the habit. I’ll end up staying in bed for days at a time, giving into my own negative thoughts. I have more good days when I stick to my schedule. I get up with Jacen at 7AM to help him get ready for school. It’s imperative that I don’t go back to sleep when the bus comes. I choose to get active. I always feel energized and productive after I work out, and it boosts my confidence for the rest of the day.
In a previous post I’d mentioned that my gym membership wasn’t working for my family, and we chose to start the new year in a different direction. We’ve been making use of our gym at home, and it’s worked out better than I’d ever expected. I love being able to exercise with the kids. I spent too much of my life living unhealthily, and I never want my children to go through the same woes I did. It’s been wonderful having them get active beside me, or calm their bodies with yoga when they need to wind down.
Using our home gym has the added benefit of spending time in a space that’s tailored to our family. We’ve added a UV mood light, which mimics sunlight in the winter to reduce seasonal depression. There’s also a salt lamp, our own music, and an oil diffuser. Right there we’ve tackled three senses- sight, smell and sound. My favorite part of all is our windows. Natural lighting lifts my mood, and I find watching nature to be particularly calming.
My workouts start with stretching on a yoga mat, especially when my herniated disk acts up. I always end my workout with shavasana (a meditative, relaxing period at the end of a yoga session, typically done laying down.) Today as I lay on my mat, trying to clear my mind, I felt a gentle heat stretch across the bridge of my nose.
I opened one eye to take a peek. Sunshine, glorious sunshine. Through the window it’s almost impossible to tell that it’s 7 degrees out. The memory of shivering at the bus stop just moments before is practically overshadowed by the warmth. I closed my eyes again, and sunk into the heat.
The word apricity delicately flutters around my mind. I love saying it, as pronunciation alone seems elegant and graceful to me. It’s defined as the warmth of the sun in the winter. I can sink into that definition, almost feeling the snug glow in my body. Focusing on the warmth lets my muscles relax, and breathing becomes easier. Apricity.
The sunlight brought my shavasana to a deeper level. In my mind it reinforced that our home gym is uniquely ours and special. Moving from the YMCA to our own space creates an atmosphere unlike any other, and deepens our relationship with our home. I like bringing those feelings of relaxation, completion and productiveness into our living space. I hope it creates the same security and warmth in our children as it does for me.
There’s new show on Netflix called ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.’ It’s become quite popular, even if only in memes.
One thing that I’ve learned from Marie Kondo is the importance of surrounding yourself with things that “spark joy.” Her method includes parting with items that don’t give you that ZING! feeling of happiness. Looking around my gym space, I feel her ideals in my soul. It’s been incredibly effective to purge items that just take up space, freeing up room for our home gym. The gym is not just square footage in our house, it’s a living entity. It produces feelings of alacrity, and has been a place where our family has forged memories of togetherness and health.
Making your living space *yours* is essential to living your best life. What kind of feelings do you want your home to project? What works best for your family? For us, having access to a meditative space has brought in a ton of positivity.
I received a bunch of confused looks and questions when I shared that we had cancelled our gym membership. It was hard for others to understand what I meant when I said “it wasn’t working for our family.” I want to integrate whole body health into our every day, every second life. Being able to come into the gym as we need it has really changed our lifestyle. It’s become an accessible tool, right at our fingertips. I’m seeing more activity in the kids, and a better understanding of meditation for all of us. Meditation can seem like a far away theory, something that seems too time consuming to incorporate into your day. Making a calming space readily available allows our family to tap into that resource easily, and makes meditation time more realistic.
Today I encourage you to make decisions that feel right for your family, even when it doesn’t make sense to others. Have confidence in your moral compass, and follow your gut. You have the ability to make a change, and to bring positivity to your family. You never know, you may even discover a bonus in your changes. Maybe a bonus like apricity.
With healthy hearts,
Kate and the Kids.