My sweetheart called me this week distressed. Over-burdened with a (necessarily) rough travel schedule for his residency interviews, he was at his breaking point. It didn’t help that I was thousand of miles away…
Not a stranger to travel myself (nor a stranger to over-doing!), I felt for him. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. The practice is then to, ultimately, get from "there" to "here" and looking after yourself.
Here are five caring practices that help:
No if's or but's — you need sleep, period. Sometimes when we are over-wrought, over-burdened, and over-sensitive, the best medicine is rest. Simple, deep rest. When we sleep, our body heals and processes our waking experience. If you want things to clear up for you, give yourself a break to let them!
To Practice: Create a wind-down ritual– tea, reading, a hot shower… Having a ritual helps our body and mind know that rest is coming. Keep the electronics off and make sure your tummy is not over-full. All of these simple adjustments will help you maximize rest. And, treat yourself to some nice sheets!
2) Set Boundaries
You have to matter to you. Especially in times where our reserves are depleted. I was so inspired by how my sweetie chose to cancel private clients in order to commit to himself. We can ALL practice this. We can only give what’s in our cup; when nothing is left, we shatter. Take time to fill yourself up.
To Practice: Allow your needs to matter! When things are especially taxing for you, make sure you ADD more sweetness into your days. Put yourself on your priority list and keep your actions concurrent with care. This is not the time to check off your ‘should’ list!!
3) Eat REAL Food
Your fuel matters. Treat yourself to the best, real, wholesome foods you can find. Take the extra load off your digestion and neuro-chemicals by feeding yourself the most natural, lovely food you can find. And, sit down and take your sweet time to eat it!
To Practice: Make meals matter– Sit down, stop multi-tasking, enjoy! Whenever possible, feed yourself intuitively with an eye towards natural, REAL food. Avoid chemicals whenever possible, please.
4) Schedule Joy
When the going gets rough, we need to have MORE fun not less! Make things you enjoy a must! By treating yourself with care, you’ll be less inclined to take *everything* personally. (Trust me on this one…) Once a day, do something for the joy of it.
To Practice: Make a list of 15 things that make you happy. Your list can include anything from simple pleasures to big excitements; tea to travel, it’s your list! Then, keep this list handy for those ‘rough’ days. Pick a pleasure. Repeat.
I tell my yoga students all the time: sometimes we cannot ‘think’ ourselves into a better way of feeling – we have to MOVE ourselves to get there! By changing our body, we change our brain. That is no small bit of care!
To Practice: Make movement a daily priority. On the days you can’t make it to class, unroll yourself a bit with some Sun Salutations or a sweet Pigeon. Walk to lunch. Take the long route. Let the movement move you!