Evaluating Self-Sustainability, A One-Handed Approach

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Originally written for Colorado School of Yoga Blog

There’s nothing quite like an injury to slow you down and create a need to evaluate your efficiency. For me, this came as a package deal and along with evaluating my efficiency came a “come to Jesus” regarding the sustainability of my current life and routine. I’m a business owner, healthcare practitioner, yoga teacher and graduate student. I check a lot of things off the list with two hands. With a fractured wrist and ability to use one hand? Call me slow, clumsy and quite lucky if my ill-coordinated left hand didn’t cause me to uncontrollably jam my toothbrush into my frenulum. But as a few days went by and I was forced to slow, I recognized my injury as a perfectly placed opportunity to evaluate my personal sustainability. This indeed was exactly what I needed.

With injury and not option, I had to prioritize, eliminate the unnecessary and ask for help. I took a deep breath, opened my calendar for the week and started to evaluate my tasks. Being a chiropractor, the word chiro originating from the Greek word for hand, I needed to change my approach and slim down my schedule. The same was true for teaching yoga. I was sure I could maintain the same amount of classes, but demonstrating asana was out of the question. I immediately recognized this as an opportunity to hone my verbal cuing and to work with new modifications for those experiencing wrist pain while practicing. Typing with one hand might have meant my email became even more dreadful, but instead there was less stress around checking and replying to messages since it simply wasn’t physically possible. And for someone that doesn’t usually ask for help, having an injury was enough to warrant it. I found myself delegating tasks that I may have previously deemed “something I have to do myself”. This wasn’t only good practice for delegating, but I realized there were some tasks that I could hand off for good.

My lesson learned? Evaluating personal sustainability shouldn’t be a forced task but rather something we do on the regular, such as the beginning or end of a year or with the change in season. Taking inventory of how we use our energy makes us more conscious, efficient beings with time for spontaneity to engage in activities we love with people we love. My injury could have increased my stress tenfold, but using some steps to improve my energy input vs. output I felt like I could rest easy.

Here is my guide for improving self-sustainability that can be used at any time, with or without injury. It is my hope that this will become a regular practice for you, as it will for me!

  1. Eliminate the unnecessary: Create a list of the activities that occur on average day, week and month.  In earnest, cross off the things you can live without
  2. Determine your energy balance: Using the list of those dubbed necessary, indicate the things that fuel your soul and those deplete or drain. Keep those that may not be necessary, but give you an energy boost. Make a tally. Without judgment, note your energy balance status.
  3. Make a plan for acceptance or change: If it drains your energy or depletes you, let go of it. If it isn’t something that can be changed now, make a plan for change or shift your perspective.
  4. Refuel: Make a list of the things that refuel you or the things you love to do, that are NOT on your daily list or those that are but have inconsistent appearances.

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