The term self-care wasn’t even in my vocabulary a few years ago. Being a mom to three kids born within three years, caregiving was my life. Even before that, I was always the one assessing a situation, determining who needed help and directing my attention there. I was a champion multi-tasker and busy was my middle name. I remember days that had my time fully allocated in 15-minute slots from when I woke up to when I crashed on the bed. Yes, my life was full. Yes, all that work and caregiving was rewarding for me because I loved it. And sometimes, after everyone else was taken care of, I could soak in a bath or read a magazine.
Now my life looks very different. My kids are older and more independent. And I’ve learned that all this multi-tasking actually makes us less productive, if productivity is even the name of the game. There’s so much focus on the doing; how much can I get done, accomplished, completed, how much time can I fill?
I’ve learned that in order for me to truly reap the benefits of all that I do, I need to make the time to just be.
In order to maintain some sense of balance (I don’t believe that balance is truly attainable, by the way. This is a topic for another blog…I’ve got a lot to say about this.), we need to have a regular practice of restoring the energy that we so easily and generously dole out. If we’re always chasing that next finish line then we miss out on the beauty of the life that we have created. Or we miss out on seeing the pieces of our lives that really need our attention.
This is where self-care comes in. Self-care is about taking all that love and compassion that you direct toward others and directing it toward yourself. This looks different for ever individual–it’s up to you to discover what serves your Spirit, but stillness is the key. Begin to notice your temptation to fill any bit of time. Just like any bad habit that you’re trying to break, you have to become aware of your behaviors and consciously make a different choice in the moment. This is especially important in the Wintertime, as our precious energy stores are subtly working to keep us warm, to regenerate and restore our cells, and more to prepare us for the energy explosion that happens in a couple months.
I’ve found myself challenged in this lately, and the main culprit in my struggle is my inner ego voice. After several weeks of intense family times, the holidays, grief, celebration, and kids being on school break, I find myself feeling … tired. My personal self-care rituals have gone by the wayside. These practices are what enable me to hear the voice of my Spirit over my ego voice, so right now what I hear in my stillness is criticism that I’m not doing more. My ego is calling me out on not being as productive as I could be. And as I sit here writing to you about the introspective energy of Winter and the importance of creating and sitting in emptiness, I recognize that this is an invitation for me to practice what I preach. I am tired so I will rest. My mind feels blank so instead of forcing inspiration to come (because we know that never works anyway!), I will sit in the quiet and just be.
What I know for sure is that after Winter there will be Spring. It happens every year–we can count on it. And I know I can count on my regular energy levels, creative juices, and go get ’em attitude to return once I allow myself to restore. For me that will look like reading, taking a bath with epsom salts and rose petals, napping, and enjoying quiet conversations with people I love.
How are you feeling right now? There is a full moon later this week which can definitely shake up our energy. How can you tune in and honor what’s real for you right now? Can you catch yourself filling up space with mindless activities or busy tasks and make a different choice to honor what’s natural for you right now? I’d love to hear what that looks like for you. Please feel free to comment on the blog or on my Facebook page. Maybe you’ll learn some good tips from another reader as well.