If there's one rule of self-care, it's you do you. You should be doing activities that reliably resource you. You've learned from experience that when you do these activities, you feel like you've taken a nourishing, restorative nap. You feel better. You have more energy. There are no negative effects of whatever it is you're doing. You're able to act and speak from your deepest wisdom rather than from fear, anger, or shame.
Although mindfulness has been shown to be one of these activities, there are plenty others, and being aware of them at the time makes them even more enjoyable and resourcing. But there's an elephant in the resourcing room.
The Elephant in the Room
All of this talk of resourcing, recharging, and self-care is necessary at this particular point in history because of the mental health epidemic we're experiencing. The causes of that epidemic are a combination of very-much-out-of-your-control (the pandemic, inflation, Russia's war on Ukraine, other people being horrible, your genes), and very-much-in-your-control (your pandemic preparedness and response, how you choose to spend your money, what you choose to do with your time, whom you choose to hang out with).
The covid overlap is like the overlap in how you spend your time when it comes to control. Does what you do for a living crush your soul and deplete you of all of your energy? Do you love the people you work with? Are you in a toxic environment that you need to begin recovering from the moment your time off begins? Is your social time spent with people who uplift you, and in activities that aren't exhausting or otherwise destructive to your well-being?
Of the things you can control during your day, how are they going? With so much that's not in your control, maybe it's time to handle the things you do have control over rather than allowing them to bring you down.
Who's a Positive Match for You?
One thing you can control is the people you spend your time with. My tween daughter has a teacher who talks about "positive matches." She's talking about whether another tween is respectful, calming, non-judgmental, has boundaries, is supportive, and is interested in a reciprocal relationship. Do you have positive matches in your life?
This question should include your clients and the people you report to. Creating a resourcing lifestyle means you're choosing your own well-being, each day, with what you do and the people (or animals) you do it with. You're prioritizing yourself.
Craft that Lifestyle
As you move through this week, here are some things to pay attention to that might help you transition to a lifestyle that's nourishing:
Do you have interactions that leave you exhausted or emotional? How about looking for patterns in your interactions to see if there's a person, venue, or topic, that leaves you feeling miserable. Then, investigate your part in that and what you might shift to shift the outcome. What's one small thing you can do to resource yourself before, during, and after these interactions? Maybe you can prevent them rather than having to recover from them.
Are there people whose presence makes your nervous system go haywire? You have a few options here, including jettisoning them from your life, particularly if nothing good comes from your interactions (and yes, this includes clients who don't appreciate you or a toxic boss). You can also decide to not be upset by them, as you really do have control over how you feel around them (back to mindfulness practice!). With that said, wouldn't you rather be in a supportive environment?
What makes you feel resourced, recharged, and ready to face anything? Have you built that into your daily life? If not, why not? What's one small thing you can do, starting today, to move toward making it part of your lifestyle? How can you build your life around your values and well-being?
Take a few moments to notice how your body experiences people, places, activities (including social media!), and things. Notice where you're aligned. Notice what makes you uncomfortable, and explore whether that discomfort comes from fear, assumptions, anger, or shame. Discomfort isn't bad—it's information.
Here's The Tween and me at the beach (resourcing!), dealing with some seaweed (boo!), and about to spend 45 minutes swimming against a strong current (for exercise) and navigating rip currents (discomfort! And if you freak out you could be in big trouble. Knowing what to do and remaining calm are crucial.). I've lived by the ocean for all but four months of my life (a brief Vermont Law School detour), and I know I need to be close by as it resources me. Check out Blue Mind for the science on that.
What do you need to do? Where do you need to be? Who resources you? How about crafting a lifestyle according to the answers to those questions?
Finally, hit Reply and let me know if you're interested in a mini-retreat THIS SATURDAY, 3pm-6:30pm, EASTERN.
May ease find you.