Today was just a regular day at work – a good day – except for the ridiculous headache that plagued me all day.  As I get older (eek!) I realize how important self-care truly is, and how I suffer when I leave it out of my daily routine.  These travel/work assignments have given me lots of time to work out what works and what doesn’t, and since I didn’t really make more than a 500-foot radius today I figured this is as good a time as any to blog about it.

SELF-CARE: THE REALMS

PHYSICAL: I talked in another post about my journey through food, and I am quite comfortable where I am now, which is grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, soy-free and refined-sugar-free.  “What the heck do you eat?” people ask incredulously.  Um: meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fat.  Hey, it’s what’s workin’ for me.  Me and a whole lotta other folks.  We call ourselves Apples.  We follow this guy, ’cause basically he knows what the hell he’s talkin’ about and he lives what he teaches:

And I kind of heart him a lot, for being so generous with his knowledge, and for having more integrity and transparency than anyone I’ve run across in the field of health.  He’s kind of a big deal.  He tackles nutrition and fitness and a pretty awesome philosophy of life, at his website. Check it out.  Stay a while.  There’s enough information there to last you a month or more.  Or you could buy his book, which is also awesome.

So what else speaks self-care in the physical realm?  Exercise.  I used to be into it big time, then not so much, then not so much at all.  And then again some.  Now I’m using this time in Germany to establish a routine, get my body addicted to movement and lightness and flexibility and strength all over again.  So, because that guy up there is awesome, I follow his advice which is to include three basic things:

1. Move a lot at a slow pace. For me it’s walking and jogging, anywhere from 3-5 hours a week.  Yep, that’s all.  If you want to know why that’s all, read this.

2. Lift heavy things. I’ve decided (yesterday!) to adopt the SimpleFit program, which uses my body as the heavy thing and therefore is blessedly free of needing a gym to complete.  Do some pull-ups, some push-ups and some squats, 3 times a week.  Boom.

3. Run really fast once in a while. That means every 7-10 days.  For about 5-10 minutes.  I use Tabata sprints: run as fast as you can for 20 seconds.  Walk for 10 seconds.  Repeat 8 times.  Done.  Harder than I thought.  Fun to finish, and walk around in a stupor of exertion, grinning and thinking I’m a big deal.

I love simplicity, and this is kind of it in a nutshell, isn’t it?

The other big deal with physical self-care is sleep.  Workin’ on that.  I have had crazy adrenal and thyroid issues over the last few years, and they have set my body clock on BOING!  But it’s getting better.

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL:  For me this comes down to three things.  1) Morning Pages.  If I can empty my brain onto three pages of paper every morning, I am so much better off.  It’s not really a journal, as much as it is sort of a…Pensieve, for you Harry Potter fans out there.  A way to get all the dross out of my head, clear the cobwebs, gain some clarity.  I’ve done this for the better part of 14 years, and it works wonders.  It’s the single best thing I ever got out of doing The Artist’s Way.  (And I got a lot out of doing The Artist’s Way.)  2)  Keep negative self-talk at a minimum.  And that means catching myself when it gets loud, which does happen from time to time.  And 3) Sometimes letting the negative self-talk happen, but without attaching judgment or shame to it.  Or reality.  Sometimes I just gotta let ‘er rip, knowing that I’m really okay and this is just a release valve of sorts.  We will return to our regular programming momentarily.  That sort of thing.

RELATIONAL:  It’s perhaps ironic that on this far-flung assignment, I’m finding myself more open to connecting with the loved ones in my life.  A Facebook chat here, a Skype call there, an email to repair old wounds; I want people to know how much they mean to me, and how much they (and by they I really mean you) enrich my life and make me intensely grateful.

SPIRITUAL:  And that is a private thing, but in the end it’s about gratitude, humility, integrity, and remembering every day that I am not alone and I am no more and no less than That which created me.

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