Making time to care for myself.
Doing a food diary, making healthy foods available, eating healthy meals, and going to my acupuncture sessions once a week (back in the day) was one huge feat for me, let me tell you - - mostly because it all took some extra time. The first few times I showed up to acupuncture, I was so frazzled from just being away from the office - hoping that no one was looking for me. Maybe this is a New York / finance industry thing, but you're basically expected to be at the desk at all times. So I had to get really, really brave to "step out" once a week. I practically felt like my job was on the line every time I stepped out.
But just the act of doing that - doing something to honor my body against all opposition - caused something pretty amazing to happen. It's like my body knew that I was trying to be kind to it and make it a priority...and it responded. Our poor bodies put up with so much. We ignore our health, we feed ourselves junk, we don't move enough, we make ourselves so busy physically and mentally that we "don't have time" to care for our bodies. But just like any living being, the minute we nurture ourselves with healthy soil and sunshine or the minute we show kindness, gratitude, and love to ourselves - - our body will respond with extra vitality. I learned this firsthand. Just the act of making time for myself had so many positive results that I can't even begin to count.
As I laid on that acupuncture table week after week:
-I started to feel worth (showing honor and respect to my body did wonders for my worth. It's a whole lot different than abusing my body.)
-I started to feel like less of a victim to my busy life. I realized that the world didn't end and wasn't going to end by being out for 1 hour a week.
-The fears associated with being away from the desk started to diminish.
-I started to feel alive again, instead of barely surviving.
-I began to have a shift and realized that my health mattered more than my job.
My health continued to become such a priority that I actually decided to stop working so late into the night. I made it a goal to start heading home about 6 pm or soon after. Again, I felt my job might be on the line for doing so as the tasks at hand were so great. I could write a whole post about how hard it was to sacrifice my identity of being the super star, the hardest worker, the one worthy of a huge bonus. I had to let that go. But I decided it was worth doing (and it was).
It turns out that life did start to improve so, so much. That year was one of the best ever. I was healing deeply in so many ways. I was eating so well (thanks to the jumpstart of the food diary.) And this is when my life started to completely transform. I learned how to achieve the most content feeling of peace and happiness. It was incredible. Pretty much everything I write on the blog was discovered during that year. And, it turns out...at the end of that year, my 7 year marriage ended. But what an incredible, incredible blessing it was that I had already been making time to care for myself. I was already on a healing path and getting better at managing my energy....so I had a lot of that energy stored up to face all that I had ahead. It was one of the greatest blessings of my life. And it led to many, many other blessings, including this :) :) :) :)
1. I take baths.
In fact, I just took one tonight. :) I looooove my natural rose essential oil bath salts by Antho. But you can also add just plain himalayan salt (very high mineral content) or epsom salt from the drug store and a few drops of essential oils for an amazing mineral bath.
2. I listen to music.
Somehow during my divorce, I got addicted to hymns. I had never really listened to them much before. But they filled my home and my ears during that time. So I still love them as they remind me of that that time that was actually very spiritual for me...in fact it was one of the first times I ever felt spiritual. So, well...of course I'll never forget that. Anything that reminds me of that time is now super nostalgic for me.
3. I go to the Farmers' Market or CSA.
I totally geek out over good vegetables. And ok, our petty cash needs to be replenished often during the summer. But paying extra money for good vegetables has become more and more important to me. I love to be frugal and save money in other ways but feel good about indulging in good vegetables.
I looove it. There is something so, so healing about acupuncture and massage. FYI, The Brooklyn Acupuncture Project offers a sliding scale for acupuncture (depending on your income: $27-$52 per session.) I really like the owner, Sarah. She also will do massage + acupuncture for $80. Such a smokin' good deal for New York. (photo from B.A.P.)
5. I clean.
Our home is not sparkling clean very often due to the demands of this blog. It has been worth it. But every once in awhile I do love to just clean and get our home in order. It feels like a luxury to do that as I always have so many other things on the list. But it is very much a thing I do to put everything else on hold and care for myself and our home. (FYI, I've been working on "greening" my home. I'm LOVING it. I'm down to using zero harmful chemicals. Can't wait to share some posts about that.)
I've listened to my infertility meditation for years. I still love it. But I guess right now those efforts to conceive have come to an end. So I'm actually trying out some different meditations. I'll let you know if I find any I really like.
7. I go to our place of worship (a Mormon temple).
I actually didn't always love going there. But when I became more interested in living a more spiritual life, I could see that there was a LOT of beauty and empowerment in the worship there. I loved going as a single woman after my divorce and I love going there with Danny. I went there during the day, prior to meeting Danny. :)
8. Danny and I go on walks together often. (I loooove it.)
I do my power walks during the day usually with my walking partner. But in the evenings Danny and I go on strolls. We head to the dog beach in Prospect Park (we saw 8 turtles there recently!!), we walk through the winding paths in the forest, we enjoy the magical fireflies, and we just chat about life and all that we have ahead.
What do you all do to care for yourselves? Is this an area you need to work on? (me, too. trust me.) I'd love to hear about what you do. Caring for ourselves in whatever ways we can is truly one of the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS we could ever do each week (both for us and our families). For me, I was so in the trenches before that I had to make those huge, huge changes in my lifestyle and career to start caring for myself. And now, it's more about maintenance. But it's still a lifetime endeavor.
P.S. I can't tell you how happy I was to see some of you doing the Food Diary. YAY!!! How about we do it this week, too? As much as I maybe don't want to, I can't deny that it was hugely helpful for me to do it last week with you all. Are you in? I'll do it with you. If you want to record it, feel free to continue recording it on the Food Diary post. Also, try to pay attention to the way you feel after eating certain foods. It's the BEST way to discover patterns in how well you feel.
Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on: