Who Has Time for Self-Care?
I’ve always been a “To-Do-List” maker. In the past, I made grocery lists, work-related lists, lists of errands I had to run on Saturday, and even a list of things I’d like to do if I wasn’t so busy making lists! Do you know anyone like this?
Lately, my list also includes things like march on Washington, call my legislators, write to them when they stop taking phone calls, and put my money where my mouth is by getting rid of credit cards that are affiliated with companies that support things that I don’t. I never dreamed I’d need a list like this. I don’t want a list like this! Who would?!
In addition to being a list-maker, I’m an empath and maybe you are, too. Empaths are highly sensitive people who feel deeply and try to do as much as they can. They…we… act from a place of compassion and love but can easily get overwhelmed. It leaves me feeling like this…
So what can I do for body, mind, and spirit?
For me, it begins with a brand new To-Do list, identifying ways to balance what I need with what I need to do. What are all the ways I can nourish and nurture myself so I don’t get depleted?
- Body: Getting sick or exhausted doesn’t do anybody any good… least of all ourselves. To take care of our physical bodies, I suggest things such as a deep tissue massage, exercise a few times a week, eating healthy foods and also allowing the occasional treat, yoga, and my personal favorite- simply being in nature. Nothing compares to a few minutes in my backyard where I can listen to the birds and watch the sun set while I swing in a hammock with my fuzzy kids.
- Mind: This includes things that release my mind from my lists and the oh-so-real sorrows of the world. I read for the sheer joy of it (mysteries and historical fiction right now). I also do my best to focus on positive words of encouragement and affirmations like those Jessica Swift sends out as part of her 100 Uplifting Messages 100 Days in a Row. Part of nurturing a healthy mind is knowing my limits, saying “No” when I need to, and disconnecting from social media when it gets to be too much. Did I, a blogger, just write that?! Yes. Unplug and be present.
- Spirit: A balanced program of self-care has to include the spirit. It can take many forms including meditation, prayer, connecting with a like-minded spiritual community, embracing solitude, Reiki, creative expression, and cuddling your 2-legged and 4-legged loved ones (a bit more difficult if you have a parakeet or fish).
One of the first things I notice about that 3-prong guide to self-care is that it is all connected. What nourishes the body can also soothe the spirit and quiet the mind. This reminds me of my post titled Boundaries & Priorities from May 2014. Following these suggestions and reflecting on those I wrote about 3 years ago take me from “I have nothing left to give” to this….
In the March/April 2017 issue of Spirituality & Health magazine, Dr. Judith Orloff’s article “The Empowered Empath” shares some of her tips for refilling our well so we have more to give others. I am particularly moved by her Empath Affirmation.
“I will treasure myself and vow to have people in my life who treasure me.
I will use my sensitivities to better my own life and the world.
I will celebrate the adventure of being an empath.”
What do you do for self-care?
I’d love to hear what works for you.