“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” ~ Dalai Lama
Today I woke up with such a sense of urgency for all that I had to get done. I hit the floor running and almost skipped my morning meditation. I decided I’d just do a short one to save time. I chose a 10 minute guided meditation from my favourite app, Insight Timer. Whether you’re a beginner in meditation or are a long time practitioner like me, this app is the greatest! Anyway, I digress…..
After spending the entire 10 minutes lost in thought and feeling quite grumpy after, I decided to try again with a much longer meditation. Why the hell am I in such a hurry anyway?? It’s Saturday for crying out loud! Where did this habitual behaviour of putting my To Do List ahead of my mental, spiritual and physical well-being originate?
After an hour of meditation, I finally began to feel the grumpiness and hurried energy melt away and be replaced by a sense of calm and serenity. Perseverance is key. I then decided to do an hour of my favourite yoga practice. Why not transmit this wonderful energy into movement? What struck me during a particular pose wherein you curl into embryo to rest a moment, was that I rarely rest a moment. I have to be told to do this. Once again, I was reminded that I stink in the self-care department!
Now, I can waste enormous amounts of time on social media sites and watching TV and call it rest, but I’m kidding myself. Not that I believe there is anyway wrong with either of those activites. I love Facebook and Instagram. I love how easy it is to stay in touch with my friends and family overseas. I love chilling out in front of the telly sometimes too. But calling it a wellness practice is rubbish. It doesn’t nourish my soul. It merely strengthens the habit of distraction… the habit of moving away from instead of into self. I have dozens of books on my shelf that I want to read and a dozen books in my head that I want to write, but I get lost in busy-ness and call it work. Working mainly from home brings the added challenge of knowing when to call it a day. There’s no quitting time and there are always “productive” things I could be doing. Self-care doesn’t seem to rank very high in the “productive” category.
Then comes the crash. This is the part where I’m wracked with exhaustion, which leads to grumpiness, headaches and poor sleep, which leads to more fatigue and overwhelment. I know this is a typical cycle with the modern day working mum and that I’m not alone. There is a certain pride we take in thinking we are Super Woman “doing and having it all.” And we can do it all, but at a very high price. The price being all the afflictions we suffer today at epidemic proportions…. Cancer, heart disease, weight problems, diabetes, depression, anxiety and mental illness. We’ve been conditioned to believe that self-care in any form is selfish and a sign of weakness. We should just take a pill and get on with it! Men seemed to have figured this one out pretty well. Most of them don’t seem to be wracked with guilt for going golfing, surfing, fishing, or whatever they like to do to relax and have fun. Most of them haven’t been raised to believe their job is to take care of others at the expense of themselves. They intuitively understand that without taking time for themselves, they’re not going to be on top of their game or at their best. We could learn a lot from men, but instead we resent them for our failure to speak up for ourselves and take time for self-nurturing. It’s not their fault we run ourselves ragged. I’m particularly blessed with a phenomenal partner who always encourages me to take the very best care of myself that I can. He’s my biggest supporter in that because my happiness is very important to him. It also doesn’t hurt that when I’m in my happy place, I tend to be a nicer person to be around. He’s no dummy!
The bottom line here is to remember that self-care, in whatever form, is an act of love, not selfishness. If I am to be of greatest benefit to others, I need to be drawing from a full well. All that busy work will get done in its own time. Besides, I’m far more efficient and effective when I’m rested, happy and nourished.
So, go forth and nourish yourselves and drop me a line to let me know all the ways you feed your soul. I’m always looking for new wellness tools.