Being intentional about caring for yourself

Saturday, November 03, 2018

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Early November always has me thinking about ways to take good care of myself during the hurry-scurry that is coming. Like everyone else, I want to soak up the magical moments of the holidays and avoid rushing around and feeling overwhelmed. It seems appropriate to repeat things from pretty Instagram posts…like, “do more of what makes you happy!”

(Insert photo of me walking through the forest with a steaming cup of coffee and a fresh manicure here...)

There is something almost irresistible about all things “self-care”. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t love this term because it has come to mean that we need to drink “moon juice” adaptogen “elixirs" and dry brush and bathe in CBD oil and spend time “earthing” every day and drink rosé in the south of France and have a month-long spa vacation in Bali and through-hike the PCT.

Those things might be helpful or they might just be expensive and exhausting. Either way, if we build a to-do list of what we should do under the guise of "self-care" we’ll freak the f$&@ out at the enormous number of things we now have to do every day to stay buoyant.

What I know for sure is that we all need to take good care of ourselves and our people. Tend to the basics like eating well and exercising and sleeping, but feed your heart too. The pursuit of happiness is different than the pursuit of pleasure. I believe that happiness or, maybe contentment is a better word, is found when we are present in experiencing the moment we are in. When we aren’t thinking about what we should be doing instead of what we are doing. This is a practice. Yoga helps.

We can only live our days from moment to moment but in hindsight we experience them as a whole. That means how you spend your moments is how you spend your days and how you spend your days is how you spend your life. Let that sink in before you pick up your phone to scroll your way to an online rabbit hole.

So as we move into and through the season of overeating and over-doing, go easy on yourself. Be in the moment you are in and be intentional about what you choose to take onboard. I don’t mean just what you eat and drink; make conscious choices about what you watch, listen to, and read as well. Also be purposeful about where you spend your energy. We use the word “should” a lot; listen for that. Make a promise to yourself about what you’ll allow in and what you’ll spend energy on and keep your promise.

Not every moment of this season is going to be blissful. We still have to do the things that keep our lives afloat. But you can be good to yourself without adding extra things to your to-do list. Try some new combos of foods with dinner (a favorite of mine is roasted butternut squash with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, toasted pecans, and crispy sage leaves cooked in butter). Take your dog for a walk in the sunshine instead of hammering out miles on a treadmill. Read a good book instead of scrolling online. Take a yoga class at lunchtime instead of sitting in a break room. Replace your defaults with consciously joyful choices and cross things off your list that only serve a “should”. Save your energy for the people you love and the activities that feed your heart.

love rocks

Yesterday I needed some time outside, preferably near water. I needed peace and quiet and a long walk with my friend who is a dog. I made a couple of adjustments to my morning routine and managed to pull this off after school drop-off.

Every little bit of goodness like this adds up. No happy times are wasted.


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