Lately, I’ve been realizing that sometimes self-care doesn’t look very much like self-care. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like self-care in the moment. That is, it doesn’t feel blissful or calming or rejuvenating. It wouldn’t be described as softening or unwinding or taking a break.
Even though I feel much better about my body than I did years ago, even though I am taking much better care of myself than I did years ago, I still feel the pricks of comparison.
When I’m in an exercise class, some days I find myself looking around. What is everyone else doing? Why am I not keeping up? Why is this so much harder for me?
I find myself feeling disappointed. Like Alex writes in her powerful post, I find myself spinning all sorts of stories. Old stories about not being an athlete or being clumsy or being too slow. New stories about how I need to work out harder and be stronger and do more.
Because we had a busy end of the year — the holidays, getting the house ready for company, getting married, having loved ones in town, submitting book revisions, working on other projects — I didn’t get a chance to reflect that much on the old year or the new year.
I feel like I leaped into 2015. Excited and grateful but exhausted.
So I was happy to find a great piece on making intentions around this time, which doesn’t make me feel like I’m already incredibly behind or missed out on something. The piece is by author Warren Berger and is called “Forget Resolutions, What’s Your ‘Beautiful Question’ for 2015?”
I think bucket lists are wonderful. It’s important to have a place for contemplating and listing your ultimate dreams, for reflecting on the experiences, activities and actions that inspire you. The experiences, activities and actions you just know you need to do. The things that are calling you.
But I also love an idea I read about in Jennifer Louden’s latest book — A Year of Daily Joy: A Guided Journal to Creating Happiness Every Day, which is filled with beautiful quotes, tips, insights and images. The idea is to create a “thimble list.”
In Thursday’s post I mentioned that there are many ways we can nourish ourselves — in addition to food.
Today, make a list of all the things that nourish you. I see nourishment as anything that’s fulfilling, meaningful, fun, playful, soothing, refreshing, invigorating, puts-a-smile-on-your-face, and meets a need.
Creating this list gives you the opportunity to reflect on what really helps you. Plus, when you’re stressed or overwhelmed, you have a list of nourishing activities and actions you can turn to, without having to think about it.
In this post I mentioned that I do most things slowly. It’s something I’m learning to accept and embrace about myself.
Because we look down on slow. Slow supposedly sabotages efficiency and productivity. It means waiting. And we hate waiting. In lines. In traffic. For an email. For a package.
But slow isn’t inherently a bad thing. It can even have benefits.
When we got married, Brian and I wrote our own vows. Writing my vows to him, and him reading his vows to me are moments that I will never forget.
Writing our vows gave us both the opportunity to reflect on our relationship, to consider where we started, where we are today and where we’d like to go. To consider our deep commitment to each other.
Writing our vows and speaking them has made them more concrete and meaningful and memorable.
I think we can do the same for ourselves. After all, our relationship with ourselves forms the basis for our relationships with others. It helps us make decisions and make meaning. It forms the basis for everything.
Recently, on her blog Design for Mankind, Erin Loechner shared her non-goals for the new year — something she’s been doing for several years now.
That is, instead of creating resolutions or intentions, Erin shares a list of qualities or traits or habits she’s learning to accept about herself.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! This week’s self-care links feature everything from making peace with food to exploring your word for the year.
5 questions for a bright and clear new year.
Every year I share the most popular posts (as judged by pageviews) on Weightless from January to December. This year’s favorite posts include everything from dealing with a loud inner critic to coping with guilt after eating to 10 reasons to love our bodies.
Overall, 2014 was all about exploring kindness; getting curious about our bodies, our needs and our identities; navigating negative thoughts and roaring inner critics (instead of trying to banish them, because they only return that much stronger when we try to dismiss them); seeking stillness and adding pleasure to our lives; turning to gratitude (genuine gratitude) when we need it most; and letting go of what no longer serves us.