Self-care is a big topic these days, especially among women who are feeling tired and overwhelmed.
Yet I’ve noticed a pattern in my own self-care, and I wonder if you do this too.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, sad, or anxious, I use my self-care tools really well. I go to bed early. I meditate. I do yoga and take walks outside. I do what I have to do to pick myself up because I’ve gone into deep depression before and I have no interest in going back there.
In fact, becoming so depressed was what forced me to learn all of these self-care tools. It’s probably that way for a lot of us, right?
We don’t meditate because we’re calm.
We meditate because we’re anxious and want to become calm.
We don’t do yoga because we’re happy.
We do yoga because we’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up.
We don’t exercise because we’re feeling healthy.
We exercise to get healthy.
The calm…the happiness…feeling healthy…those are the results of our self-care tools, not the starting point.
But here’s the little thing I’ve noticed in myself and that I’m working on tweaking.
When times are rough, I use my self-care tools.
Then things start to turn around (thanks to all that self-care).
And then when things are going really well…I slack on self-care.
I start going to bed later. I skip yoga. I “forget” to meditate.
And of course no matter how good things are, if I start to slack on self-care, then things don’t stay so good.
The last couple of weeks have been really awesome. I started signing people up for my free 5 Day New Year Creativity and Intuition Challenge. (And I get seriously excited about that!) A fun little side gig fell into my lap that I’m psyched to work on. And overall I’ve just been feeling productive and full of holiday cheer.
So what did I do with all of this holiday cheer?
I drank an espresso yesterday morning. Now let me tell you…I am not a coffee drinker. Within an hour, my whole body was shaking. It felt like anxiety but I knew it was just the caffeine.
Later that day, I skipped yoga, meditation, and walking outside because I was too excited about all my work to get off the computer.
That night, I could have done some yin yoga or meditation to try to calm myself down but instead I watched an episode of House with my boyfriend and ate pancakes for dinner. Then I went to bed around 9:45.
Normally I fall asleep almost instantly. Last night, I was awake until sometime past 11pm because my mind would NOT STOP RACING.
Excitement? It’s a good thing.
But losing sight of my own self-care in the face of all that excitement? Not so good.
So here’s what I’m reminding myself today: Even when things are going great, even when I want to hop out of bed every morning and barrel my way through the day because I’m excited about everything I’m doing…even then…especially then…I need to make time and space for those same self-care tools that I use when things aren’t going so wonderfully. Those are the tools that will keep me on this upswing instead of yo-yoing back and forth.
Somehow it’s easier when I’m feeling down because then I NEED that self-care. But I made time for a 15 minute guided meditation today. And this writing took less time than I allotted for it so I’m going to use that extra 10 minutes to do a quick yoga routine.
Because I’ve learned that even 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there of self-care practice really does make all the difference.