When life gets busy, taking care of ourselves is often the first thing to go.
I was a little out of sorts the past few days.
And by ‘out of sorts’, I mean, annoyed and cranky.
At everyone and everything.
Overwhelmed by ‘obligations’ and things I had to do.
Irritated by every inconsequential thing.
You know what I mean... when your husband chews that certain way, or your coworker sips her coffee with the gulp, or the neighbors are mowing their lawn… again, and what’s with that driver on the road, and I don’t have any clothes to wear, and this house is a mess, and why am I the only one who can clean up around here and….
It snowballs quickly.
So, that’s where I was.
Frustrated, cranky and overwhelmed. Acting out at my family and caught up in blame and judgment.
Crushing my Tuesday ;)
WELCOME TO AUTOPILOT
When I’m in this place, I’m just going through the motions.
I'm ignoring myself.
I have zero self-awareness.
I’m not pausing, I’m not checking in.
I’m rushing, I’m frustrated and annoyed; I’m forgetting myself.
And then it’s SUPER easy to get caught up in the influence of the outside world: obligations on a calendar, actions or inactions of family members, friends and people standing in front of me on line, the reflection in the mirror, posts on social media etc….
When I’m in that place, my brain is actually seeking out ways to be annoyed.
Because it wants to prove itself right that it should be frustrated and cranky.
And our brains are quite skilled at finding them.
In fact, I literally went through my calendar just to see how many things I could get annoyed about.
Guess what? Found a bunch 😉
But that’s not how I want to show up.
I want to live into and experience all the moments of my life - good, bad and indifferent.
And when I'm taking care of myself, I am SO much better at taking care of others, and handling whatever comes my way.
I am less swayed by noisy chewing, traffic for no reason, hectic days and people not home in time for the dinner I prepared, that I’m now eating four servings of.
“IF YOU THINK THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM IS 'OUT THERE', YOU'LL TRY TO SOLVE IT FROM THE OUTSIDE.
TAKE THE SHORTCUT: SOLVE IT FROM WITHIN"
— Byron Katie
For the great majority of my life, I didn’t know this.
Had no idea I was in control of my thoughts, feelings and actions.
I just assumed I was at the mercy of whatever was going on around me.
Always reacting, rarely responding with thought and attention.
I thought if I wanted to feel differently, I had to change the people and the events happening around me.
I don't need to tell you how little success I had with that approach - despite all best efforts.
But now I know, it starts within.
When I am connected to myself and taking care of me, I am far better able to handle the world around me. The problem is, it’s soooo easy to forget this.
It’s a constant coming back to yourself, over and over again.
TAKE TIME FOR YOU
One of the most inwardly connecting and care-full practices I know of is a daily journaling practice.
It's centering, provides focus, brings attention to thoughts so we can help work out and understand what's going on - from the inside out.
It’s probably the single most important thing I do for my mental and spiritual health.
And when I am doing it regularly, I’m more in touch, connected and aware.
And all the external stuff doesn't have as much pull on me.
And yet…. I didn't give it much attention these past few days.
I blew it off when I was out of town and then did the quick version once I got back because I was ‘busy’.
And it took a friend asking me how I could better manage my emotions, for me to realize that this simple 15 minute self-care practice was the missing piece.
I wasn't taking care of myself.
Interesting how the very things that keep us calm and grounded, are often the first to go when outside influences talk more loudly than our inner voice...
Things like quiet time, reading, playing or listening to music, journaling, reciting affirmations or positive thoughts, imagining/planning for the future, physical activity etc….
Does that resonate for you as well?
Could I have found 15 minutes to journal in a more complete way each morning?
You know where that time was spent instead?
Getting caught up with the latest from the Kardashian clan and figuring out which type of sandwich I would be from a Buzzfeed quiz. #whyamilikethis
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m in a chaotic mindset and my actions are keeping me stuck there.
Case in point, I knew far more about Coachella fashion trends (worn by people I have absolutely never heard of, wearing things I would never wear, to a place I don't even want to go) than I did about my own feelings this week.
Yet, when I can slow down enough to notice what’s happening, that something isn’t quite right, I can bring awareness to my thoughts, feelings and subsequent (in)actions.
And then I can change them.
Awareness is power.
"YOU, YOURSELF AS MUCH AS ANYONE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, DESERVE YOUR
LOVE AND AFFECTION"
What does taking care of you look like in your life?
Grab a piece of paper and brainstorm a few things that bring you home to yourself.
Where you feel at ease, understood and connected.
Where there is acceptance, forgiveness, understanding and compassion.
Maybe it's journaling, reading, praying, meditation, photography, bird-watching, knitting, volunteering, sitting quietly, a gratitude practice, watching the sunset, doing breath work, riding your bike, hiking with the dogs, having a lazy Sunday, or practicing yoga.
If you can’t think of anything - write down 5 things you want to try out.
Here's the secret... schedule this time in your calendar.
Really do it.
Tuesday at 6 am I'm going to say nice things to myself in the mirror.
Imagine what would change if we started saying kind things to ourselves in the mirror instead of what we're probably usually saying??
Wednesday at 8 pm I will read that book of poems I love.
Thursday at 2 pm I will take a walk before I pick the kids up from school.
Here's the REAL secret... you need to actually stick to it.
Think of all the promises you make to others that you would never back out on.
Why are we so quick to backtrack on the ones we make to ourselves?
Do the things to take care of yourself every single day and you will not believe how much better equipped you are to handle everything that comes at you.
This work is so important.
Don’t skip an opportunity to show yourself the love and compassion and care that you so easily give out to others.
Have a great week friends. x
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