I recently found myself totally run down, tired all the time, feeling a tension in my throat and head, and always left struggling to truly be in the present moment; focusing on the people and topics in front of me. It felt like I was being held captive by my own thoughts, foresights and worries.
I’ve just moved back to my motherland after living abroad for 11 years. It’s great to be home but I must say, stepping back into a role in my family where we share our loads, being around old friends again and catching up, a lot of people are counting on me. Usually these are all great things; I love listening, being involved and supporting, giving advice and words of wisdom where I can. But I found myself unable to give from a place of love in my heart. I was too stressed and tense to let my actions of service flow from a place of grace, purpose and love.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you are being drained of your energy? Like you don’t have any more to give or like you just don’t want to? There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. The problem lies in the fact that you have been forgetting to take care of you. When you’re out there on the front lines supporting your friends, co-workers, family, etc., you must make time to fill up your own cup before you can serve anyone else.
When you find yourself at these depths, you simply need to ask yourself “What do I need to be able to come back to myself, to re-boot and reapproach my life with the same love and energy I want to exude?” For me at this time, I simply needed a day for myself. A day without screens or anything nagging me to do this or like that. I just needed to be right where I was, not being asked to imagine anyone else’s life but my own. So the night before, I powered down all my screens, told a few people that they wouldn’t be able to reach me, and I declared it a ME day! I realize it sounds a little crazy to have to take these actions and proclaim a day for myself, but with social media begging for my attention, emails popping up at any and every time of the day, text messages coming in and taking me off topic, yes, I needed to consciously call it what it was going to be…A day for me to call all the shots.
I ditched the alarm, and when the sun woke me up I lay in bed thinking about all the blessings in my life, went for a long run without any music or any judgement on my pace or time, got spiritually inspired by one of my favorite teachers Michael Beckwith, wandered around town by myself, read my novel, had a picnic as I watched the sun set and finished the day with a nice hot candlelit bath. I did exactly what I wanted to do and didn’t allow any other stream of thought or external plan throw me off my replenishment game. It was bliss. And then I was ready to take on the coming week; supporting, listening, helping and being a friend to others.
Yeah, I know we won’t always be able to take a full day to dedicate to self care, but an hour or a few can do the job too. Just by staying in tune with what you need, realizing that if a few hours open up in your day or evening, you can choose to use that time to fill up your cup, instead of drown in the world of drama and distraction. Be purposeful with your time, if you have 20 minutes and going for a short walk outside will serve you, do it! Because that 20 minutes can vanish before you know it in the fast paced world we live in.
Set down your screens, breathe the fresh air and listen to the needs of your heart.
What will be your next act of self care?