Taking care of ourselves is so crucial but often ignored.
These kinds of practices are needed when we are healing major imbalances. But they are also essential to pepper throughout our busy lives. We can easily miss this when we feel at the peak of health.
I recently read an impressive list of "successful moms" in a popular parenting magazine. They were all juggling businesses, families, philanthropy and even school. They were accomplishing a lot at once. I noticed not one of the moms talked about success as quality time spent with herself or her kids. Success was measured in dollars and reach.
It made me wonder about how we define success these days. Can we see success in time spent in precious relationships? In being ambitious about being a mom, dad, or caregiver to our art or healing, students, friends or family? In taking time to pause and listen to ourselves?
We are often so busy we forget to stop, pause, rest and heal.
I've noticed my self-nurturing practices have been full of a lot of slow activities. Writing slowly. Reading slowly. Doing yoga slowly on the ground, super-snail slow, yin-restorative-like.
The other way we miss self-care is through so much pressure often to rush back in to do everything we are used to doing. What I'm finding is true self-care often involves really pausing deeply. Taking some time out and reflecting before recommitting to what nourishes us.
Here Are 5 Questions for Radical Self-Care
1. When and where today can I stop, pause, rest and heal?
Sometimes my pause looks like a meditative morning walk into work. Other times it is a few calm breaths taken on lunch break. Throwing legs up the wall or a kickback on the couch before dinner. Even a yoga nidra guided meditation in the evening before bed. The way we pause matters less than just that we are doing it.
Planning or thinking about it helps make sure the pause happens. And I notice I'm always more present in the rest of my day when I take this time!
2. What do I need right now? Am I hungry, tired, thirsty?
Asking ourselves basic questions is so key. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs when we take good care of these basic needs the higher ones, like creativity, fulfillment, joy, purpose and self-actualization can follow.
3. Is there anything I'm avoiding or need to deal with?
At times, we can't rest because we are unsettled by our issues. Acknowledging and then addressing them is necessary. Once identified, take care of it with integrity so we can be fully present with whatever we are doing.
4. With whom can I take some time to really connect today?
This is such a wonderful question!
I've started to apply this one whenever I can. I notice I rush through the day, feeding, entertaining and occupying my toddler. Everything gets done but we don't actually stop to notice one another, though we are together all day. The moments I take to slow down, breathe slowly and observe as he plays are so precious. I also notice he will look up from his activities in the moments and smile at me before going back into his imaginary world of play.
5. Can I slow down and let go even more?
How, when and where.
Sometimes not everyone understands the need for slowing down, rest or recuperation. And that is ok. Everyone is on their own journey. Sometimes we need to just let things go so we can be present and our full selves where we are.
So if some folks don't understand or are pressuring you to do more than you want, check in with your own self-care, listen and respond with love. After all, only by truly and deeply taking care of ourselves can we sustain our ability to be there to take care of others.
Happy stopping, resting and healing.