Practice the JOY of Anticipation

Updated: Apr 27

March 23, 2020. Nearly a month into navigating a global pandemic, and all we can do is our best. Our routines are out of whack. There's the anxiety of not knowing what comes next. Some of us have suffered losses. Many of us are finding the adjustment to a new norm very challenging. I get it.

Having worked from home for a very long time, you've asked me to offer a few insights into how we can be our best selves. It's different for everyone, but here are a few ideas.

Add Structure to Each Day

For me, my calendar helps me 1) allocate my time, intentionally, 2) stay on track, 3) create boundaries so I don't get overwhelmed. I even schedule sections of the day and week for free and/or quiet time, but that's just me!

This tactic is especially valuable if you procrastinate, avoid, overbook, or say "I should have..." a lot!

You can color-code your calendar to balance your energies and see how you're making choices to pull yourself out of balance or maintain it! (Read my post: Stress hack: Organize your calendar by the chakras)

Schedule JOY

Many studies show it's good for you to look forward to something. Some experts call it the joy of anticipation. Other studies show that an actual vacation is not the thing that heals, but the planning and knowledge that something great is coming up.

In yoga, we can find balance within this by working with two of the kleshas (things that cause suffering) according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:

  • RAGA, the practice of non-attachment, so as not to cling to things we desire and/or expect

  • DVESA, the development of aversions that arise when desires/expectations are not fulfilled

Two sides of the same coin, you might ask yourself: what am I clinging to, and what am I resisting - and why? In planning something to look forward to, what are your expectations, and what are you avoiding in this process?

Choose Well

For me, structuring and scheduling leads to priorities. It helps me choose well - first, I make the right choices for me, and in those choices I choose well-being most of all. It's not always a perfect system, but all we can do is try!

Here are three things I put in my calendar each week - frequently, more than one each day.

  1. Yoga (asana, pranayama, meditation) and/or a form of movement (yes, that includes dancing alone in your house)

  2. Self-care sessions (wide-ranging: self-massage with oils, a tech-break walk, singing in the shower, a one minute moment to yourself, a beautiful cup of tea)

  3. Community (zoom happy hours, face-time, write old-school notes to old friends, positive support messages on social media)

Get creative, and do what you can! What else is in those categories for you? It can be a practice in itself to pull out a journal, make three columns, and brainstorm for yourself. (Read my post: Self-Care Bingo)

Start with one, get consistent, and then expand. Remember the first time you tried downward dog? Was it weird, kinda good, felt not so good, or you probably weren't quite sure what you were doing (was it just me)? It's like that. Today, how's your down dog? Probably feels more like you and more accessible/natural. I know I look forward to every down dog. That's a form of my anticipation of JOY!

Think about it. You got here because you practiced and showed up for yourself.

And that is how we transform.


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©2020 by Christine Chen Yoga | Chen Communications, LLC