The dance of self-care

I was going to do a list-post called 11 Shots of Self-care. I really was. I had it all ready…

…but it just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Then I realized that what I was trying to stick in a list-post format was actually a letter to myself from my wise Inner Knowing. So I let her have the reins (maybe she’s trying to talk to you too…). Here’s what came out:

Love ya by idea ablaze on flickr.com

 

Darling one,

I’ve noticed that you’ve been super-insanely-busy lately. Running and running and never stopping.  And I’m concerned.

Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support and applaud everything you’re doing right now. You’re working so hard and making such amazing progress, and I’m so proud of you for that.

But yes…I’m a little worried about you. You wake up and you never stop running. You work every spare second you have. Sometimes you try to multitask by working and looking after your little one at the same time (which, incidentally, is a terrible idea). You work until you’re dropping with tiredness, and then you work a little more, and then you go to bed.

This is not an indefinitely sustainable schedule.

I know you’re in a tough place, because you so desperately want to do EVERYTHING, and you’re so very limited time-wise. And I know that 99% of the work you’re doing doesn’t feel like work, because it’s stuff that you love and it lights you up inside. And I know that it’s important, worthwhile, and completely awesome work. I just want to make sure that you remember to take some time for self-care.

I don’t just mean a day off now and then (although for the love of God, would you TAKE ONE ALREADY?!). I mean making sure to take care of yourself each and every day. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and I have some suggestions of things you can do. Every single one of these is doable on any given day. They don’t take very long, they cost nothing, and they will make such a huge difference.

Breathe: Stop whatever you’re doing. Take 3 deep breaths. If it feels unfamiliar to you…you’ve been holding your breath and/or breathing only as deep as your sternum. Inhale to your belly…let it out. Repeat. And again.

Stretch: Take a minute and stretch your body. Don’t make the mistake of trying to recreate old ballet stretches. Check out this blog for inspiration…it will make a difference.

Walk: Walk places. Take your little one along. Walking is awesome for both of you.

Be danced: This post was a major breakthrough for you. Make sure you revisit this experience. It’s absolutely fundamental to your practice, your teaching, and your writing.

Write: Writing is your other natural form of expression. When you write regularly, everything gets better. Even if you’re just scribbling down a rough idea for 5 minutes…write something.

Be grateful: Keep writing in your gratitude journal. It’s making such a difference.

Hydrate: Drink more water. Learn to recognize when you’re thirsty.

Brush your hair: You’ll feel better if your hair is actually brushed. And I don’t mean just combed with your fingers either.

Make a phone call: You know, back before there was email we had this thing called a phone. And calling people connected you to them in a whole other way. Try it.

Pet the cats: This is self-care for you, but also care for them. The poor cats get so little love these days. Spend some time with them! Petting them always makes you feel good.

Ground Yourself: Wiggle your toes. Grow some roots. Take a walk and feel your feet. Get out of your head and into your body. And don’t just do this when you’re trying not to lose your temper.

love mark by alykat on flickr.com

I’m not trying to stress you out or add to your to-do list here. You don’t have to do all of these things on any given day. But please do something. Do at least a few of these things each day. You need to take care of yourself so you can keep rocking the work you want to do.

I believe in you.

With all my love,

Meg

10 thoughts on “The dance of self-care”

  1. Great list of self-care options. When I first started on my journey of becoming all I could be, I made a list of 100 things I could do for self-care. It was a powerful statement of value for myself!

    1. Thanks so much, Dominee!
      You posted about breathing last month, and it really made me think about how much I hold my breath! So, thank you for inspiring part of this post! <3

  2. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Often I get to the end of the day and I don’t feel like using my precious little bit of quiet time to do what I love, which is to draw. But I think it comes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If our basic needs aren’t being met, we cannot do our best work in the things that bring us fulfillment.

    1. It’s true…or we *can,* but not happily….or for long without getting sick! (I just caught Xander’s cold, and I know EXACTLY why!)

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