Ugh, it’s of those days.
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, waited till my blood sugar plummeted to eat anything, and wandered around like a spaced-out zombie all day.
Nothing was terribly wrong, but nothing felt terribly right either.
I felt so burned out, tired and grumpy that I couldn’t tend to my needs with the luscious, soufflé-like tenderness I so deeply craved.
I abandoned myself instead.
Then, I beat myself up for being reckless with my self-care routine.
What can we do when we’re so exhausted and stunningly blah that it doesn’t even feel possible to take care of ourselves?
We can stop.
Take three minutes.
I know it may sound annoyingly simple, but sometimes simplicity is surprisingly powerful.
Inhale boldly, and feel the fresh air rush into your lungs and expand gloriously into your belly.
Take a tiny pause.
Blow the air out of your mouth fiercely and let out a deep sigh or grunt. Stick out your tongue and shake your head gently, from side to side, like a lioness deep in the jungle.
Pay attention to that tiny transition, where the inhale turns into the exhale: it’s the perfect place to anchor yourself and create a safe, quiet space.
Lather, rinse and repeat as needed.
Then, close your eyes and gently ask, aloud:
What can I do for myself right now?
What do I need?
Let your heart and soul have their say, unedited.
Listen carefully as your own juicy, caramel-like wisdom drips throughout your entire body, soaking it completely.
Listen with soft, eager ears and a wide-open mind.
Gather this sparkling knowledge and hold it firmly in your palms.
Open your hands slowly, like a shy flower blooming in early Spring.
What do you see?
Keep breathing, and settle into this freshly-squeezed, refreshing space.
Honor your needs, in any way you wish—but make a real effort to tend to them with focused intention.
This short, simple little exercise seriously saved me today.
It reminded me that when our normal self-care strategies fail, it’s usually because our minds, bodies and souls are calling out for something new.
Self-care, like life, is very dynamic. We require different things each day, so let us make more room to accommodate our constantly cascading, ever-evolving needs.
This is so hard for me to remember.
In my mind, if something worked yesterday, shouldn’t it freaking work today?
In short, no.
Because yesterday is yesterday and today is today.
I need to be here today, feeling what I need right now.
And today, I need to make room for softness, laziness, chocolate, and some quiet time on the couch.
I need to remind myself that little indulgences are a big part of taking care of myself, too.
I think we could all use that reminder.
We are far too hard on ourselves, even when it comes to the lovely things in life, like self-care.
Even if we spend just ten minutes honoring our needs, it will change our day, and over the course of time, our lives.
It all comes down to this one question:
What do I need right now?
Yes, it’s a delicious question.
Mmm…let’s kiss it hard and put it in our soul’s front pocket, we’ll want to keep it handy for tomorrow.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Shannon Kringen at Flickr
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