A friend was seeking my advice about a work incident and needed it resolved by a specific time. During my friend's requested particular time, I had planned to reschedule a doctor's appointment and take a few moments to breathe and center myself after a day of back to coaching during my small window of space before picking up my kids.
I chose me.
I haven't always been skillful at choosing me, but as we redefine the new world we live in right now, where our time and energy feel more precious and directive, we can give into the fallout and start redefining our priorities.
Opting to stay true to what I intended to do and remain in integrity (with me) is an example of how I view self-care today. Listening to my inner world first rather than reacting to someone else's agenda and needs honors my commitment to me.
Pre-pandemic, I would not have viewed decisions like this that seem minor at first blush as an act of self-care.
Some would call this boundary-setting, while some may call it selfish, but for me, total self-care. Every time we dishonor our own promises to ourselves, our body, our nervous system, our hearts, remembers. And over time, the minor "gives" add up to significant burnout, resentment and disconnection to ourselves.
Preserving energy for what's is most needed and what we deem fundamental feels imperative.
Don't get me wrong, I am a life coach, a good friend, and I love helping others whenever I can. However, I’m learning to pause, breathe, and sacrifice less the commitments that I make to myself, in accordance with my values, capacity and energy level.
Even after practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for years, I realize that I am continually training to ask myself if what is being asked or desired of me aligns with my higher vision.
Self-care has become a more internal process that supports the symmetry of my inner and outer worlds, meaning what I think and feel is congruent with my actions.
A short moment to be still and breathe pulls my attention inward to listen to the quality of my breath, my life force, and receive information. The information I am seeking is noticing my current stress levels, the reoccurrence/volume and caliber of my thoughts and the feelings the thoughts are generating. The breath's biofeedback helps to precipitate an internal pathway to engage and discern the sensations in our body. Becoming aware of our own body' signals is key to helping us identify when we are in alignment with our core values and desires.
This "noticing" occurs each time I hit the meditation cushion, which is almost daily. So that is the designated time to check-in. Journaling is a beautiful tool to capture all we are experiencing that feels relevant and what we learn about ourselves along the way. I love to incorporate essential oils into all meditations and reflections to turn up the frequency and allow all internal systems to receive the benefits of plant medicine, including clarity of mind, peacefulness, and feeling more present.
Another form of self-care is honouring and recognizing heightened emotions. I let those real, raw, sometimes awful and uncomfortable feelings live in me. I validate them, and I breathe into them. I don't feel the need to push past them or positive think my way around them anymore. Instead, I let them hang out. I journal about them, share them with a friend or my husband, and when I give way to just allowing them, they move.
Today, claiming myself, staying true to what's in my heart and connecting with the vision I hold, for me feels, like the most tender form of self-care.