My calendar is always full-but I like it that way. There are, of course, days when I have escape fantasies and quitting all responsibilities and simply watching daytime television. But this is less about the work and who I work for and more about me: often I find myself completely neglecting myself.
Tonight, for Happy Family Organics, I hosted a Live chat with Dr. Leesha Elsa-Cox, a board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and official Happy Baby Expert. I adore Dr. Leesha--she is a mom of 3 and is totally, brilliantly normal. I first met her last year--when she was experiencing what we all did: lockdown and remote school and pandemic; in other words madness.
Now our madness has lifted a little--kids are back in school--and we are also sort of used to this strange global pandemic world. As it feels more normal, I start to feel some of those old, normal feelings--like I want to escape right now to my couch or an island or just to my bedroom to nap for a month.
In addition to my escape fantasies, I often find myself caught in the spiral of wanting "me-time," then not being able to schedule "me-time," and then when I get the elusive "me-time," feeling guilty about it. And even more ridiculous, feeling guilty when I don't actually take any "me-time," because everyone told me I was supposed to this.
It is a cycle of complete madness.
This year, I set some firm daily goals: write in Yoke, 5-Minute Abs and Daily Meditation. I have fully stuck to Yoke but lately I've been less compliant on the 5-minute Abs and Daily Meditation. I always do one of these--but not both. I also have taken my Good Reads goal really seriously--50 books this year and I think I am ahead of the game! There are a few other goals--like working on my book, pitching more writing, getting a desk I love and walking/running more--which I've been really intermittent in following. And of course, I did declare this the year of "No," and I actually think I've been really good at saying No to nonsense; leaving more room for Yes! Even with my lackluster compliance, I have felt so much less frustrated and so much less in need of an escape.
But, there are still those days of me-time madness and escape fantasies that totally derail me from my plans!
Dr. Leesha said this really great truth: "Self-care is not about escaping, self-care is about planning for a life you don't need to escape."
I wrote this down and underlined it like a trillion times. This helped me realize why some of the positive changes I created this year are manifesting in more success in my career and my mental status. However, it also helped me realize there are still areas to work on as I build a life I don't need to escape.
Dr. Leesha shared the 5 B's of self-care. I think my goal for this second quarter of 2021 is to find ways to mindfully incorporate these into my week. The 5 B's are:
1. Beginnings--start your day with purpose and gratitude affirmations. I don't think this needs to be a long production. But, I do know if I take 10 minutes alone for myself before jumping into the chaos, I simply feel better. Plus, the words you tell yourself can carry you throughout your day. Positive truths are the best anecdote for the negative lies that can pop up.
2. Basics--eat well, sleep and exercise. Sleep will always be the one I struggle with, I love my full calendar and as Dr. Leesha pointed out--we all love to toil! If you get up early, you cannot stay up late. You need to sleep. I am going to try to sleep more (especially because I think in a couple weeks, crew season will wrap up and no more 4:30am wake ups!).
3. Boundaries--saying "No" to toxic people, toxic situations, commitments that you don't have the bandwidth for and whatever else does not serve you. As you know, I am loving my "year of no," partially because it is so freeing and mostly because I love being contrary. Seriously, learning to say no is so powerful and empowering. I need to do it more.
4. Besties--Friends are so good for the soul. I am so blessed in the bestie realm. I want all of you friends to know: the role you play in my life--childhood friend, old playgroup friend, new friend, old friend, neighborhood friend, Tractor Supply friend, girl scout friend--whatever "bestie" you are--well you are all part of my self-care. Relationships charge us and rejuvenate us. And I find when I am connected with a friend in need and can offer some small support, I find myself being filled with positive energy, versus being depleted. Call your besties! Make time for them! They need you and you need them!
5. Beauty--Finding beauty where ever you are is such an important practice in gratitude. For me, I have a combination of serious wanderlust (put me on a plane!) and serious agoraphobia (I am never leaving my zip code, except for Nordstrom curbside). I need to practice some more gratitude for where I am; so when I finally leave, I can have gratitude for that place as well.
If you want to watch the replay of Dr. Leesha, you can watch it by joining the Happy Parents Community on Facebook!