On weekdays I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. Early morning is about care. Walking the pup around the neighborhood and feeding her is care. Yoga and meditation is care. Nourishing food to take to the office is care. All of these activities are non-negotiable.
Self-care is not a luxury nor is it self-indulgent behavior. Self-care is how I balance and center myself so I can show-up for my life, co-workers, friends, family and community. Self-care takes time and commitment, but it is a high return activity. Scrolling social media, watching an endless loop of news or reality TV or a steady diet of processed food are low-return activates.
While I do enjoy a long soak in the tub on Sunday evenings, self-care is some much more than bath bombs and candles. Self-care is moving and caring for my body, meditation, a spiritual practice, daily food prep, time with family or friends, laughing, dancing wildly in the living room, creating, writing, reading, being outdoors, my animals and countless other things that bring me joy and keep me connected to the highest version myself. Doing something that lights me up every day is important.
Going to work is also self-care because it is how I provide for myself, those that depend on me and my responsibilities. I serve and support others by doing my job. Of course there are days that are hard or that I would rather be doing something higher on the “lights me up” scale, but understanding work is care has helped me see its importance to me and others.
In the dark days of the ebbing winter of 2021 there is both hope and despair. I am hopeful about the COVID vaccine, longer days and spring. But I have had conversations with more than one person close to me who is suffering from anxiety. I am not a medical professional but I can be present for and witness their pain. I can encourage each one to take a small step that will begin to bring some calm and balance to overworked adrenal glands.
Self-care is necessary.
If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anything or anyone else.
Breathe in through your nose.
Exhale through your mouth while making any sound that needs to be released.
Repeat as necessary.