Monday, February 19, 2018

40 Days of Self Care Day 5

Happy (?) Monday y'all.  Today I'd like to discuss one of the ways in which I think of self care.

In my mind, self care is divided into three big subcategories:
  • physical care
  • mental care
  • logistical care
And I'll put forth right up front here that every act of self care, in some way, can fit into any of the three categories.  Each act of self care impacts every area of life, for sure.  But the degree of the impact varies.  It seems meaningful to me to assess what goes where because it is then easier for me to see what type of care may need a little more of my attention.  It can be easy for me, for instance, to only be engaging in mental-health-centered care.  And that care is great, but shouldn't be engaged in solo.

So!  What might fit into these categories?  Let's break it down.

Physical Care
  • exercising
  • drinking enough water
  • eating nutritious foods and avoiding processed sugars
  • grooming (showering, brushing teeth and hair, caring for fingernails, etc.)
  • engaging in hugging, cuddling, or other meaningful touch
Mental Care
  • taking my medications
  • going to therapy
  • spending time with friends
  • finding fun and novelty on a regular basis
  • stimulating myself intellectually
  • asking for help when needed
  • approaching all activities mindfully
Logistical Care
  • setting a reasonable schedule that includes necessary activities as well as enjoyable ones
  • opting out of or appropriately planning for stressful or triggering situations
  • allowing enough time to be on time to any engagement
  • staying on task at work
  • getting chores done on the weekend that set me up for smooth operating during the week (getting laundry washed and dried and folded AND put away; grocery shopping AND doing meal prep, cleaning up the house, and so on...)
  • keeping my car in good condition (not full of junk and trash, washed relatively recently, with at least enough gas to get through a normal day's activities)
  • allowing enough time for a full night's sleep
As I said, each of the items in each of the categories impacts each of the others.  But I find the division helpful in assessing where I'm at.

How do you think about your self care activities?  Do they seem to fit into categories to you?  What would your categories be, and what would be in them?  And what am I forgetting?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

40 Days of Self Care, Day 4
What support do you need?

No person is an island.  Nope, not even you!  It's self care that we're talking about, yes.  But our ability to engage in self care can depend, to an extent, on having support from the people in our lives.

Who are the people in your life who already support you in your self care efforts?**  Are they family, friends, or co-workers?  Self care support can look many different ways:
  • A friend who will come to a doctor's appointment with you
  • A roommate who will take the dog for a walk so that you can get a much-needed nap
  • A family member who will remind you to take your pills each day
  • A partner who will encourage you to get to the gym because you always feel better after you go
Who are the people who you could use more support from?  What types of support can they provide, and how can you ask them for it?

For most of us, different types of support come from different places.  What are yours?  Share if you'd like!

**At some times it can feel like there is no one around to support us.  There's still one person left who always has your back: you.  Also, if you're open to it, there is almost always someone there waiting in the wings.

Friday, February 16, 2018

40 Days of Self Care, Day 3
What isn't going so well?

Yesterday we talked about all the ways in which you are absolutely killing this self care thing.  Today we're gonna talk about the flip side.  What aspects of your self care do you want to improve on?  Do you need to:
  • Ask for help when you need it?
  • Rest more?
  • Prioritize your needs over others' wants more consistently?
  • Dial back the negative self talk?
Again, I'll ask for three things, three areas where you can improve your self care.**  Just three of the behaviors you are not engaging in right now that would be most impactful and beneficial if you were able to get them going.  Please share them if you feel comfortable doing so.

*This list might feel overwhelming.  It may seem as though you're not doing anything well.  Look back on yesterday's exercise - what did you come up with?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

40 Days of Self Care, Day 2
What are you doing well?

Oh hi!  How did yesterday go?  I hope you feel well loved and well rested.

Today I have a new question for you: what parts of your self care game are currently on point?  Are you:
  • 100% on a fantastic meal plan (or, like 90something%)?
  • Regularly engaging in creative self expression?
  • Getting every drop of water you need and then some?
  • Moving your body with regularity and joy?
  • Giving back to the world in meaningful ways?
  • Asking for help and support whenever you need it?
  • Making space for fun?
This list could go on forever - there are countless ways to express self love through self care.  My challenge to you today is to list three aspects of self care that you are absolutely nailing right now.  I'm willing to bet that each of you can do so.**  If you'd like to post them in the comments, I would LOVE to hear about them!

**No?  You don't think so?  Dig deep.  Give yourself credit where it's due.  You found your way to this blog, which means that you're trying to find ways to better care for yourself.  Well done!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

40 Days of Self Care, Day 1
Why take care?

Hello!  Happy Day After Mardi Gras / Beginning of Lent / Valentine's Day / Wednesday / what have you.

I assume that you're joining me here today because you're interested in self care.  Whether you need to improve your self care, or refine it, or begin to engage in it at all, or if it's totally on point, I'm glad you're here.  But I have a question for you: why are you interested in self care?

That seems like an absurd question on its face.  Shouldn't everyone be interested in self care?  Yes.  But really think about your answer for a minute.  I'll wait.

So, what'd you come up with?  Was it maybe something about being able to work to your fullest potential, or about being able to take care of the people you love?  Those are both so important.  And we can't work to our fullest potentials or take care of the people we love without taking care of ourselves first.  Most of us have experienced what happens when we try to pour from an empty cup

But is that why we do it?  Are those the best reasons to take care of ourselves?

I will propose to you today that plain old self love is a wonderful motivation for self care.  Self love is, after all, what tells us that we deserve our own care.  (We do, by the way.)  Today your self care challenge is this: take the best possible care of yourself for yourself, and for no one and nothing else.  Be your own valentine.  Love the hell out of yourself.  You deserve it.**

**If that's not something you believe right now, that's OK.  Your challenge today, then, is just to try to soften around that idea.  Try to allow the possibility that you do in fact deserve to love yourself.  And try to be gentle with yourself about how those efforts go.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today, I started this blog.  Hooray!  It's been awfully quiet lately though, hasn't it?  Which is why today I'm announcing a new project, a blog mini-series if you will.  It's called "40 Days of Self Care," and you can officially consider it your Lenten challenge.  Each day of the 40 days of Lent I will be sharing thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, and/or tips on various aspects of self care.

If you've followed this blog at all in the past year, you know that this is not bath-bombs-and-manicures self care.  (If that's your jam though, power to you!)  This is nitty-gritty real-everyday-life as-accessible-as-possible self care.  Are you game?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Tomorrow I leave for Hawaii.  I'm not sure how I feel about it: excitement is mixed up with anxiety and disbelief, and they switch reins from moment to moment.  I feel relatively prepared, at least.

Are there adventures in store for you this year?  Can there be?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cups, cups, cups.

Yesterday I wrote my very first dharma talk.  I think it's pretty good, and I'd like to share it with you here.  Spoiler alert: it's about self care!
You may have heard it said that “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” And when you heard it you might have nodded your head vigorously. We all know that feeling, don’t we? Of trying to keep producing and producing and giving and giving until we feel like we’re just empty? And so we set aside time to do yoga. To refill. So that we can get back to all of that producing and giving.
But today, during this time that you have set aside for yourself, I’d like to offer you something to think about. Yes, it’s important that we’re able to keep on producing, keep on giving to the people we love and care for. But sometimes we forget the other side of that same coin: that we deserve to feel replenished and nourished just for our own sakes.
You deserve a full cup not only so that you can keep producing and giving, but so that you can care for yourself. After all, you are one of the people you love and care for.
If it feels right for you, I’ll suggest that you set an intention for your practice today: to give as much to yourself as you put into everything you produce and give to others. To hold yourself gently, with as much caring and kindness as you do the people you hold most dear. Dedicate your practice to your own nourishment and replenishing - not so that you can immediately turn around and give that energy away, but because you deserve to be full for your own sake.
With that thought in mind, let’s refill our cups.
 Do you refill your cup just to pour it out again?  How do you feel about filling your cup just for you?


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Year, Same Me!

Yoga teachers are often smart cookies.  On Sunday morning, a.k.a. New Year's Eve, my teacher Tracey Duncan told us that resolutions are bullshit.  And of course she's right.  We do not magically wake up as new and different people on January 1.  We wake up as the very same people we were the night before: the people who prioritized swigging cheap champagne straight from the bottle and setting explosives on fire over a proper night's sleep.  We are not remade by what is - let's face it - a pretty arbitrary date shift.  We are one day older, nothing more.

All that, though, is not to say that we can't choose to begin to work toward change on January 1.  While every day, and really every moment, is an opportunity to start on a new path, our brains like the idea of doing it at this particular juncture.  Why not harness that existing energy and use it to catalyze what can be a difficult transition?

Even before hearing Tracey's words of wisdom I had decided that this year I am setting intentions rather than making resolutions.  Instead of setting myself up for failure with strict and impossible goals, I am giving myself guidelines with which to make the everyday decisions that are the foundation of long-term change.  They haven’t crystallized into succinct words quite yet, but they have to do with letting go of my perfectionism, and working steadily toward goals rather than pushing too hard and then needing to stop altogether to recuperate.  I'm trying to dive deep into the "how" of taking the best possible care.

How is your new year shaping up?  What intentions are you bringing to it?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Number 1, with a bullet.

I've decided to try bullet journaling for the new year.  I hope to use it to establish and work toward goals, track habits, list to-dos, log spending... you know.  All that stuff we all say we're going to do and then, like, don't.  Maybe it will cut down on how much time I spend ruminating about the same task that I still haven't gotten done, and staring at my calendar?  We'll see.

Do you use a bullet journal?  What are your favorite tricks?  Tell me everything!