As I enter a new stage of life and add on more years, I am finding it even more important to slow down and check in with my body (and mind, heart, and spirit) and offer myself radical self-care!
Recently, though, I discovered there are many other ways of radical self-care that I have not been giving myself because I formed a belief system one way or another around them. I started recognizing when a need came up and what the thought or sting was around it and why I felt I could not take advantage of the opportunity.
Maybe some of these will resonate with you and together we can accept our basic self-care without any judgment!
Eat a snack:
I have bounced around with my weight since before I can remember, and I certainly have issues with food tied to my emotions. I was taught that snacking puts on pounds, and I tend to deprive myself and have erratic eating habits – I oftentimes skip breakfast. But every day around 3 PM it seems like I am going to crash. I now have healthy snacks (apples, carrots with hummus, celery, olives, granola, nuts) on hand that I can grab and not feel guilty about.
I also bought a cool water bottle that reminds me to stay hydrated!
I was recently in a weekend workshop and I immediately realized after I sat down, based on the configuration of the chairs in relationship to the instructor, that if I didn’t sit in the center of the half circle or directly across from the whiteboard that my neck was going to be contorted for the entire three days. Since I had driven 7 hours to get to the location and had a 7-hour drive to get back home, that would be two more days in a car with even more limited mobility. I was grateful that it was the type of workshop where I could sit or stand or move to the floor as needed. Taking care of myself really allowed me to absorb the course material fully without having physical pain distract me.
On the way home, I felt it was just as important to take frequent stops in the car and stretch, something I haven’t done in the past because I would just try to plow through in an effort to reach my destination.
Set and honor boundaries:
I have been an accommodator most of my life and I used to think that I could only be as happy as the least happy person around me. I realize how draining that can be!
Whether at home or work, I am now enforcing boundaries. Since I am self-employed, I am sticking to my posted work hours instead of offering to reschedule something I already had going on in order to “squeeze in one more session”.
A friend of mine once said, Michele, would you really ask your dentist to stay late because it worked better into your schedule?
Additionally, I had a talk with my husband about when we could discuss what I feel is a hot-button topic: politics! I asked him to save up everything he wants to say so we can talk about it on our daily long walk, that way I can work it off and move the energy while I am moving my body.
Since I have a home office, I also requested from my husband one hour of alone time in the morning in order to drink my coffee and write out my Morning Pages or do something creative since mornings are when my mind is sharpest.
No electronics day:
Not using my laptop or phone for the day has been a huge challenge. I am usually only able to accomplish this when I am out at a continuing education class or retreat. I have found, though, it’s easier to avoid electronics when I have things I want to do outside, although I sometimes take my phone with me to listen to music!
Checking social media can be such a time waster. It's like opening the refrigerator when I'm not really hungry.
I have a bucket list and as a visual person, almost 100 boards on Pinterest of things I want to do! The list was just getting longer and longer and the dreaming getting more and more out of reach. So I started tackling my incompletes and I feel like I am having more fun and accomplishing more!
I have wanted to learn how to play the piano for a long time but I didn’t want anyone to hear me practicing on the keyboard. I bought some big earphones that plug in and a beginner’s book – Here I go!
I have had several friends offer to help me make a perfect pie crust. I am still working on that parallel parking thing. And this fall when the days are shorter and the nights are longer, I am going to study geography. I had forgotten everything I learned in school about the world and borders are changing, too! Next up, the aurora borealis?
As you can see, it’s not always the big things like having a once in a while Pamper Day that we need to schedule or plan in order to honor and take care of our own essential being.
What do you do to practice your own radical self-care? I’d love to hear in a comment!
Michele Duncan King