I’ve been reading a lot about self-care lately. I have been thinking about self-care. I have posted articles about selfcare on social media. The one thing that I seem to have missed out on, yet the most important bit is practising self-care. Or rather, practising with intention!
What is self-care?
“Self care in essence is the mindful taking time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you”. ~ Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W Self care 101, Pyschology Today
We know the things that we can do to help ourselves feel better. Eating a balanced diet. Taking time out from social media. Being in nature. Swimming. Walking. Running. Cycling. Yoga. Sitting. Reading. Switching our devices off. Talking with a good friend. Gardening. Cooking. The list is boundless.
Self-care comes in all shapes & forms, yet the focus never differs. To practice self-care means to give yourself time to enjoy the current experience.
Am I the first person to have multi-tasked a self-care routine?
Life has been rather tumultuous for a number of months now and I have been aware of how important it is to include self-care in my daily routine. During stressful times my default mode is to over-function. Doing more. Keeping busy. Micro-managing myself. Organizing those around me. Therefore, taking pauses in my day is vital.
Instead of one daily walk, I increased this to two walks, sometimes three. Whilst walking I have grabbed the opportunity to listen to various podcasts (mostly self-care related) that are stacked up in my audio library. I am exercising, spending time in nature & bettering myself at the same time. Triple tick to me!
In reality, my self-care rituals have become mechanized. Almost frantic. Caught in the maelstrom of life as it is right now, I have attempted to make every moment of the day purposeful. Self-care has been added to my to-do list. I have forgotten the reasons for these daily observances.
Seriously, am I the first person to have multi-tasked a self-care routine? Doubling or tripling up on activities. Convincing myself that I am looking after myself by keeping up with the things that nourish me. Numbing to the reality that I actually feel quite out of balance. Please tell me that I am not alone with this?
Banish could, would & should from your vocabulary
Coming clean about this is not easy. I am a yoga teacher. I have practised yoga & mindfulness for almost 20 years. Shouldn’t I be getting this stuff right by now? Surely the yoga, and the mindful practices mean that I am above succumbing to the grips of anxiety & depression? Is there something else I could/should do
The truth is that I am as susceptible as the next person to fall back into old habits. Life throws curve balls & takes turns that could never be anticipated. These unexpected events create an overwhelming sense of disarray & can push us to our limits. In my case, despite all I have learned during the past two decades I still get caught up in the spiral of overthinking & overdoing. At some point, I begin to feel lethargic. My physical body feels heavy & I can no longer ignore that my energy & mood is low.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Take time to notice
Honestly, it is infuriating to arrive at this place once again, yet I know that this realisation is positive. The weariness is telling me that it is time to press the pause button. Facing up to how I am feeling is the next step. Climbing back onto my self-care wagon is the one after that. Taking a stroll around the park. Putting twenty minutes aside to read my new library book. Dropping into my favourite café with the intention of savouring my flat white rather than thinking of all the things I could be getting done!
Selfcare every damn day
At the heart of self-care is the commitment to be with yourself in the present moment. Self-care is putting could, should & would aside. Self-care at its simplest is doing something for the pure pleasure of doing it. The practice of self-care is personal to each one of us yet the benefits are universal. The secret of self-care is to practice every damn day!
“How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.”
― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive