[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]Lauren Eimers-Wangrud brings us some very caring mental health advice for this Pisces Season as we are urged to find a little extra personal space during this meditative and ethereal time.
Images via Pinterst
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
– Audre Lorde, poet, writer, activist, 1934 – 1992
1/24th of your Day
You’ve heard it a million times before: you have to put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else with theirs. This Pisces season I challenge you to make self-care a new priority. It sounds self-indulgent, but as Audre Lorde so eloquently states, caring for oneself “is self-preservation.” In today’s climate, taking care of oneself is as important as ever. We will explore simple ways to reframe your days or weeks to allow for this important and sustaining practice.[/two_third_last]
[two_third]Self-care can nurture different aspects of your life. You can take time to care for your physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, personal, and professional self. Sometimes a self-care ritual will help just one portion of your self, but often something that is sustaining for one aspect can be buoying for another. For example, taking time to have lunch with a dear friend not only cares for your personal self, but can be supportive to your emotional self as well. A long walk is great for physical self-care, but it can also give you time to reflect and recharge psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.
In our culture, self-care can be conceptualized as self-centered, greedy, or weak, so it may be difficult at first to attempt to carve out a bit of time each day or week for yourself. It may help to remember when you are stepping away from the computer, project, or your partner or family, that helping yourself will better enable you to conquer the tasks that may be wearing you down in everyday life. Recharging for an hour a day can give you the resolve and energy you need to conquer the other 23 hours you have ahead of you.
Conceptualizing your day as 24 hours for you to use can be helpful in finding that one hour for yourself. You’ll need 8 hours to work and another 8 to sleep, most days (this is an important part of self-care, as well!), so that leaves approximately 8 more hours for eating, commuting, chores, childcare, and living your life. If you can first commit to 15 minutes a day for a few weeks, you’ll find it less stressful to jump to a half-an-hour, and then an hour in the weeks following.[/two_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth][two_third]What are things that only take 15 minutes that can be solely for you?
o Set down your phone and pick up a magazine, periodical, or book. Read.
o Lock the bathroom door. Parents know this is a gift to oneself.
o Breathe deeply. Meditate.
o Prepare yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or your favorite morning beverage and sit down to drink it while it’s still hot. No, you may not reheat it.
o Listen to a bit of music that you love.
o Cuddle with your person or pet.
o Paint your toenails.
o Write in a journal.
o Take a power nap.
o Call a friend or family member that lifts you up.[/two_third][one_sixth_last][/one_sixth_last]
[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]See? Self-care can be squeezed into a busy day, even if it’s only for a few moments. Once you are comfortable asking yourself for that time each day, gradually increase that amount of time. You may need to get creative with how you can fit an entire uninterrupted hour into your day. You may need to wake up before the rest of the house or physically remove yourself from your normal routine to get that time to yourself. You may have to get a babysitter or swap childcare days with another parent that is as in need of self-care time as you! Whatever you do, remember that this is an act of self-preservation, not self-indulgence.
This schedule-bending is worth it as you’ll begin to see the benefits of self-care spilling over into the other hours of your day. This could manifest itself as more energy to take on the challenges a day can bring. You could notice you’re calmer in situations that previously made you upset. You could find your creativity sparked or a readiness to connect more with others. Hopefully this Pisces season will help you in putting on your daily “oxygen mask” and realizing that in caring for ourselves first, we are better prepared to care for others and give improved attention to our families, careers, and responsibilities.