Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Making Self-Care Happen

Two weeks ago, Jason traveled for work, leaving me with both girls for more than 24-hours for the first time since Laurel's birth. My mom came up from Virginia to help out, and Jason was away for only two and a half days, but I feel like I'm just now recovering. Laurel is going through a phase where she wants to be held, specifically by me, pretty much 24-7. It makes it hard for Cadence, who would also like a good bit of attention and who continues to try new and interesting ways to have those needs met. I'm definitely feeling the mommy-drain.

The weekend after Jason's travel, I spent half a day with some girlfriends at Phipps Conservatory - one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh. I led them through some self-reflective activities and we all spent time soaking up the beauty of our surroundings, basking in the peacefulness of a morning away from our everyday roles as wives and mothers, and gifting each other with our presence and support. After a couple of days of being back into rhythm of life, I appreciated a marked difference in my capacity for patience and my ability to be present and available to my family.

And a few (rough) days after that, the capacity was greatly diminished. I had filled my tank over the weekend, but then went about using it all up without putting anything back in. This, of course, resulted in A Bad Day: yelling, downward spiral, the works. I know that making time for self-care is important, but sometimes it takes these drastic reminders for me to remember just how important it is to not only make time for self-care but to make time for significant self-care, regularly.

I have recently been getting back to my yoga practice and have been revisiting one of my favorite yoga books: Yoga Body, Buddha Mind by Cyndi Lee. In a chapter titled "How to Relax," she makes a suggestion for how often to incorporate restorative yoga into one's practice: twenty minutes of each daily practice, an entire practice once a week, and a week of practice every year. I wonder how that might work as a prescription for self-care?

So I'm challenging myself (and anyone else who recognizes the need for more consistent self-care) to consider the following:

1) What can I do for 20 minutes every day that will help me meet my needs for self-care? (And when will those 20 unfettered minutes occur?)

2) What can I do for 1-2 hours once a week that will help me meet my needs for self-care? (And when will those 1-2 hours of unfettered time occur?)

3) What kind of self-care retreat would fit into my life over the next year? (And do I need to be alone? with family? learning something? totally unstructured?)

Image Credit: Love yourself by Quinn Dombrowski, cc license

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