Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Practice Radical Self-Care Like a Boss






So.  I’ve got a Radical Self-Care Plan.  Now what?

Once I pulled my plan together, I sat there at my desk, stared at it, and uttered those words aloud.  

I wanted to get this into play just as soon as I could, so I did a lot of noodling around on the internet, read a stack of books, and have discovered - am still discovering - some amazing practices that are helping me establish my self-care routine, carving out the me-time I need, and catapulting me towards the creative life I dream about living.

I’ve been incorporating a lot of new tools into my daily routine, some work, some don’t, it’s all trial and error.  As I go through this process of trying new practices to support myself and establish a self-care routine, I find my priorities shifting and my perspective clearing.  It’s hard to explain here, but I can feel myself going through a very powerful transition and it’s really, really exciting!

Let me first say that the beginning and end of my day really influences what goes on for me in between.  So, those beginnings and endings are very important and I’ve learned to protect them fiercely.  

And it’s so simple, really!  I’ve read about it, heard about it, poo-poo’d it in the past.  But my friends, let me tell you, I have drunk the Kool-Aid!  You may already know where I’m headed here - because I’m certain you’re far more evolved than I am.

Yup.  I begin and end my days in gratitude.

I’ve heard so many teachers and writers speak of it: before they even get out of bed in the morning they practice gratitude.  Wayne Dyer’s practice was quite simple - before setting his feet on the floor, he would sit on the edge of the bed and simply say, “thank you, thank you, thank you”.  Other teachers state a few specific things - health, happiness, home - plans for the coming day, or the people in their lives they are grateful for each morning.  I tried a few different ways to go about my morning gratitude, but in the end a reverent “thank you” three times with a full heart has become my favorite way to start the day, and I find that the rest of my day takes on that energy.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m finding myself more mindful, slowing down, becoming an observer.

At the end of the day, before I close my eyes, I review my day.  What were the high points for me?  What were the obstacles?  And then I express my gratitude for all of that - the highlights and the challenges because all of it is what makes up my little corner of the world.  It’s all what is making me grow personally.  Doesn’t mean I’m crazy about all of it, but I own it and fall asleep much more grounded and at peace than I have in a long, long time.  Maybe ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither grateful nor peaceful all the time.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  (Just ask my partner.  We have a schtick that goes something like this:
Me:  Honey, it’s not easy being me.
Her: Honey, it’s not easy being with you.
And we laugh hysterically at how humorous we are.  

Anyway, life does get in the way.  A self-care plan doesn’t always take top billing.  What I will tell you though, is that my self-care plan is now on my radar, it’s in my planner and it does get the attention it deserves, I deserve.  No, sometimes I don’t want to get my miles in.  Yes, sometimes I’d rather have a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of pinot noir for dinner instead of something more sensible.  Sometimes I’m too worked up about something (likely trivial or out of my control) to even think about my self-care plan, or doodling, or purging on the page, or a long bubble bath, or whatever.  But those are just hiccups.  And sometimes those hiccups count as self-care.  Maybe I don’t feel like getting my miles in because my body is tired.  So, I don’t do my miles.  Maybe cake and wine isn’t a sensible dinner, but maybe I need a little decadence that evening.  The important thing for me is to get back to my healthier choices as soon as possible.  Like, the next day, or that evening, or after cake.  

You see where I’m going with this.  I am in control of my self-care plan.  No one is grading me on my self-care activities.  No one is judging me on my choices (and if they are, who cares?  Not me.)  If chocolate cake and pinot noir feel more like self-care that moment than walking three miles then hey, that’s what self-care looks like that night.  The important thing is to get back to the activities that are supporting me in a healthier, more sustainable way.  I have a huge list of self-care activities that I can easily access  whenever I need some self-care inspiration.  Here are some of my faves:

  • Go outside – move, breathe in fresh air, take a walk – not a power walk, not a training walk, just a walk, paddle a canoe, take a hike, breathe in fresh mountain air, dip my toes in the ocean.
  • Hydrate - with water, not pinot noir – amazing how throwing back a huge glass of water can set a girl right again. 
  • People watch – go to the mall, a museum, the airport, a park, any place where people gather…then observe humanity.
  • Artist date – one of my favorite takeaways from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – go to an art supply store and buy new pens and a sketch book, go to a museum (again!), grab a camera and go on a photo safari, take an art class, be a tourist in my own town, and the list is limited only by my imagination.
  • Journal someplace other than at home – a coffee house, the library (mine has some cozy chairs by a fireplace), a hotel lobby (also an excellent spot for people watching), anywhere that feels comfy and quiet and conducive to writing a little bit.

And that is how I practice radical self-care like a boss.  I have a plan.  I have a back-up plan.  And when all else fails, I have chocolate layer cake and pinot noir.


Until next time friends, be good to yourselves!

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