After my Summer of Self Care, I took a moment to reflect on how it went. Did anything change? Do I feel any different? I concluded that I do feel different. I feel a little bit more in control of my emotions (anxiety, depression, PMS!!, hangriness, dumb-male-syndrome, exhaustion, and others). How bizarre is it that some bubble baths, yoga classes, candles, peppy playlists and healthy mantras have actually changed the way I feel on a daily basis?
Learning to give my body what it needs gave me the power to change the outlook on my day. It gave me the power to help my mood not be sooo shitty. It gave me the power to calm myself when needed. It gave me the power to know that I can make myself happy. Now, this is nowhere near a completely honed skill, it is simply me understanding that I have the power to make myself feel better if need be. I can at least lessen the burden if not completely change my day.
The simple act of tapping into my thoughts, my body, and my mind on a regular basis and trying to measure how I am feeling has allowed me to add or subtract things that may help my day go in a more balanced manner. For example, if I’m anxious about a new client I can make sure to add in a meditation before their session. If I’m exhausted from a long day I can take a bubble bath, curl up with a book or just go to bed early. If I’m really sore or tight from a workout, or life in general, I can stretch throughout my day or plan to make a Yin Yoga class (this class is heaven if done right).
I also know that wine is not a good idea if I’m stressed to the max or depressed. I know that Happy Hour type of events aren’t the best for my sleep patterns on “school-nights”. I know that cooking dinner is way more satisfying than grabbing something quickly, however there will always room for take out! I know that a properly placed playlist can have me in a better mood in a matter of a few songs.
I have heard this concept being called the Mind/Body Compass. The coolest thing about this concept is learning that your body will tell you what it needs, you just have to listen. Are you always tired? Track your sleep and see if you simply need more or better quality sleep. Are you struggling to stick to your workout plan? Is it again because you’re too tired and need better sleep? Is it because you wait til the end of the day and no longer have the motivation or willpower to make it happen? Are you stressed to the max? Maybe taking a yoga or meditation class will help. Or again maybe you just need more sleep. If you spend some time listening to what you need you can then start to develop a game plan to make the necessary changes. Figure out the why and you can begin to move beyond just dealing with the feelings.
We are in charge of what happens in our lives. No one is going to willingly come and take care of us. I spent a long time playing the victim and blaming outside sources for certain situations in which I consistently found myself. Depression and anxiety played a huge role in that for me, but as soon as I realized that I was in fact dealing with depression and anxiety, I was able to figure out what made it better and what made it worse. I began using my self-care strategies to combat those gross depression feelings and have been able to completely change my overall depression story. While I still struggle occasionally, I can now keep myself from going all the way down the rabbit hole, just by listening to what my body needs. Be kind to yourself and take things slow, but make sure you are listening.