Have you ever noticed that our loving self-care rituals go right out the window when we should be actively applying them the most? I think women are guilty of this more than men, and particularly mothers of small children. This group of women carries the weight of the world. And they do it every day often sacrificing their need for sleep or self-nurturing rituals when they need it the most to carry on. And when a woman’s world starts to tip, her whole world tips with her. For myself, I believed that I always made a conscious effort to take good care of my health and emotional well-being. I exercised regularly, meditated, spent time with my friends, and ate well. So you can understand my shock when a friend told me a few years ago how she always worried about me when I was under stress. She pointed out that I disappeared from everyone’s radar when I was troubled. The more we talked, the more I realized that I didn’t practice the art of loving self-care at all when I faced demanding or difficult situations that stretched beyond more than a few days. When this kind of stress occurred I’d forget to eat and I’d forget to drink fluids; or worse, I’d eat everything I could get my hands on that was salty and crunchy. I would lose focus, my meditation practice would fly out the door as I’d resort to desperate prayers; and I’d turn to running long miles wearing out my tennis shoes, eschewing my normal workouts.
When faced with stress, often women turn away from their self-nurturing practices and then wonder why their coping system is so out of whack. Without sleep and food (or overeating too much junk food) we actually exasperate the problem; and something that was previously manageable quickly becomes overwhelming. Stress can make us irritable, but we can be down right bitchy when our blood sugar drops. Think about it, which self-care rituals do you abandon when faced with stress? What helps you to function? What helps you to thrive? Since that conversation with my friend, I’ve taken a more active role of observance and diligence in my self-care during the trying times. I’ve shared my discoveries with those closest to me and they help me to stay on track when they see me slipping. I’m not always successful, I still have days where I forget to eat and drink, and I still drop off everyone’s radar from time to time, but I’m more watchful now. Self-care isn’t selfish. Its self-esteem.
Rest when you’re tired.
Pay attention to your thirst and take a drink of water when you’re thirsty.
Call a friend when you’re lonely or overly stressed.
Eat something fresh.
Touch nature – if even for ten minutes.
Ask the Universe to help when you feel overwhelmed.
Don’t push so hard – when the problem is that you’re already pushed too hard.
Don’t be afraid that the work won’t get done if you rest when you’re tired. The work will get done; it will be done better than work that emerges from tiredness of soul and spirit.
Breathe and know that you’re cared for. Breathe again.
Nurtured, nourished people, who love themselves and care for themselves are the delight of the Universe.