My self care journey has taught me that even when things aren’t perfect, in fact, especially when things aren’t perfect, that’s the perfect time for self care. That’s the perfect time to silence our gremlins or critics in our heads and lean into everything we know about self care. Here’s an example of when I did just that.
A few years ago, I felt like I was coming down with a cold, feeling tired and my nose was stuffed up. I didn’t want to write, do laundry, cook, or even read a book. I didn’t want to take care of myself. I didn’t want to do anything. Everything seemed to take so . . . much . . . effort.
But my first concert was coming up at the end of the week with the choir I had just joined, a glorious group of talented women I had always imagined singing with. I wasn’t as ready as I would have liked to have been, so my gremlins were telling me, “Even though you’ve been practicing for three months, because you can’t practice this one week, you can’t perform.”
I could have quit. I could have called my Director and said, “I’m sick, I can’t perform. I’m just going to stay in bed and forget the whole thing.”
But because I had been practicing self care regularly for so long, I was able to silence the voice in my head and think of all the ways I take care of myself. This was the perfect time for self care.
Have you ever heard this conversation in your head?
Gremlin: “I’m too tired to practice my music,” (or to stay on that diet, to prepare for that marathon, to complete that major project for work, whatever your thing is).
My Heart: “No, you aren’t, and you know that doing even one thing to take care of yourself could catapult you out of this negativity and into a better place”
Gremlin: “It doesn’t matter; I’m never going to learn all this music in time (lose the weight, run the marathon, finish the project). I might as well quit.”
My Heart: “It does matter. You’ve worked hard for this and it’s been your dream to sing with this group. Go to your Top 100 Ways To Love Yourself List and try one thing, right now.”
Gremlin: “I can’t do it. I’m so tired; all I want to do is sleep.”
My Heart: “Wait. I CAN do this. I will make myself a priority this week. I will reschedule appointments to sometime after the concert and free up time to rest and do as much as I can to take care of myself. I will ask my husband to do some laundry, cook a few meals, or go to the grocery store.”
Gremlin: “All I feel like doing is watching TV. And I’d rather sleep than meditate, do yoga, or exercise. I need some chocolate.”
My Heart: “Nope. Not buying it. I will watch less TV and go to bed earlier. I will meditate for fifteen minutes instead of thirty. I will exercise every other day for half my usual workout time. I will eat well and limit my sugar intake. I will buy some flowers and let them remind me that my dreams and goals matter.”
This pushing and pulling goes back and forth, but because of the past few years of learning to care for myself, I believe it has become easier for me to ignore the voices telling me I don’t matter or that my dreams are impossible, and to find the discipline to self-care. I have learned to get creative with my ways to self care and to realize that taking care of me can look differently based on my circumstances. I have learned that by incorporating self care into my life regularly, it gets easier to do in times when I need it most.
The concert was a success and I sang loud and proud.
Did I sing perfectly? No, but I showed up, sang my best, and fulfilled a dream to sing publicly in a group of gloriously talented women. And I found out that the perfect time for self care is when things are not perfect.
For more ideas on how to self-care go to fuzzyredsocks.