My therapist once told me that the moments when we need self-care the most are the moments in which we’re most likely to think we can’t make time for it.
Over the years, I’ve found her advice to be true. When I’m overwhelmed or stressed I always think it’ll make things better to keep my head down and try to get everything done as efficiently as possible.
Usually, the result is that I become overwhelmed, and because I’m a person who somaticizes stress quickly and intensely, I end up getting sick, or at least feeling sick. The worst case scenario is that I trigger a depressive spell.
On Friday, I started to realize how totally unprepared I am to be moving on Thursday, in spite of my best efforts to prepare myself. I guess that’s how moving always is.
I’d also just wrapped up a very intense and long day of work with clients. My brain told me that the right thing to do would be to keep working until I finished my notes.
Thankfully, my wise mind told me to go to a restorative yoga class with a very beloved teacher. She’s my first yoga teacher, actually, the person who introduced me to the practice about sixteen years ago.
So, I went to yoga. And when I came back, I felt so much clearer, calmer, and more able to focus than I had before. I could have chosen then to try to do more work, but I didn’t. I went to bed early instead.
I woke up the following morning and made a task list for the move, so that I can keep track of everything I’ve done (change my address with USPS, change internet providers, put a few more things on Craigslist for sale) and haven’t (switch gas and electric to the new unit, empty out furniture that’s not moving with me).
I wrapped up my notes and followed up with clients from the day before. And I did more yoga.
Not stopping to prioritize things like sleep, food, unstructured time (I’ve learned that “rest” includes both slumber and down time while awake) is so tempting in busy times. Sometimes it’s unavoidable.
But I’ve learned time and time again that it’s nearly always counterproductive. A little self-care goes a long way, and it’s often the only thing that strengthens and prepares us for what needs to get done.
Hope you can find a way to prioritize taking care of you this week. I’ll be doing it along with you, as best I can.
On that note, friends, I’m not even gonna pretend that I’ve been able to round up links for this week. I’ve been so much less consistent with these weekend reading posts this spring, I know, but it’s just a season.
These posts nurture me, too, and I can’t wait to start writing them from my new place.
I’ve been trying to write something all day, without much success. Events of the past week have left me at a loss for words. I was thinking that I’d post a weekend pause, telling you that I’d be back with regularly scheduled programming next week. But in the back of my mind was an exchange that I’d had with a friend earlier in the week, on Monday. For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about it. And I thought that there must be…
I’ve been on an academic calendar for so long that September always feels like the start of a new year, whether it is or isn’t. I guess a traditional view of the seasons would be that spring is a time of rebirth, winter and fall a time of death, or endings, but I can’t help but associate these autumnal months (my favorites of the calendar year) with fresh starts. I don’t have much to say today except that I’m welcoming the change in…
Happy October! I feel as though I’m constantly making remarks in these posts about how quickly time is flying, so I should probably just accept that pace as the nature of things. But, seriously: time is flying. I can’t believe September has already come and gone. In looking back on this month, I can definitely see that some of the overwhelm I was feeling this week is due to my having been a lot more open and social than I have been in…
In the last few months, I’ve been reminded of why we use expressions like “heartache” or “broken heart.” It’s something you forget once your heart has been patched up and healed from whatever its last injury was, but the loss of love can be physically painful. It’s a heaviness, an ache in the chest. We read and hear about this all the time, but somehow it’s always surprising to experience it firsthand. I was thinking about this when I read Brian Doyle’s 2004 essay on the capacity…