Radical Self-Care

July 22, 2022

This is not my first rodeo with stress. Each of my mindfulness practices, yoga, walking and journaling have come out of my past efforts to stay calm and centered in the midst of chaos. Right now, I am struggling to manage the details and fears associated with an upcoming surgery for a beloved family member who will need 24 hour a day care for at least 2 weeks post op. I will be his primary care giver.

As I try to maintain equilibrium, I am returning to many of my favorite tools and am adding one I have not used in a while: an accountability buddy. Starting on Wednesday, I began texting a dear friend the word “surrender” once a day. She is sending back a message with the self-care activities she has built into her day. Both small actions are giving me a reminder to also “surrender” to my own circumstances and to consider what self-care activities I have incorporated into my day.

Exercise is a daily requirement when I am dealing with extra responsibilities. Although it is tempting to skip exercise to squeeze in one more to do item, I find I sleep poorly if I don’t exercise regularly in stressful times. I am working on varying the types of exercise from my typical yoga and walking partly because it has been exceptionally hot outside and partly because I keep tweaking an old wrist injury. Some days this week I have used the elliptical at the gym, lifted weights and/or ridden an exercise bike. This morning I met with my doctor for my annual physical and he encouraged me to continue to exercise daily. He also recommended new running shoes and specific stretches to reduce shoulder and wrist pain. Sounds like my doctor gave me some specific self care that will be on my agenda today.

My morning meditation and journaling time are also expanding. After my formal meditation time each day, I am trying to get outside before the heat to enjoy watching squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and an occasional bunny feed in our yard. Deep breathing accompanied by hearing the birds and smelling the blooming mimosa tree draw me inward.  I lost 30 minutes this morning just soaking it all in.

Finally, I am doing one of the most radical self-care items I can do as an introvert. I am asking friends to help me stay in the present with activities we can do together. I have called friends, walked with friends, scheduled lunches, dinners and made plans to attend plays with folks I enjoy. Taking a break by being engaged fully in fun activities forces me back into the present. Time spent with good friends is never wasted time. It re-energizes me and helps me to let go of worries and fears.

In flight instructions always remind us to put on our own oxygen mask before trying to assist fellow passengers. Radical self-care is that oxygen mask. I am putting mine on today, so that I can be more available to others.

Published by bmdavis1

I am a wife, mother of 2 grown sons, a school librarian and a certified yoga instructor. My hobbies include gardening, walking in nature and chasing around my two ornery cats.

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