I've been in a bit of a funk this week - lots of swirling & spiraling emotions. One thing that I know about myself (thank you therapy!!) is that I am "super empathic" - I tend to absorb/get drawn into/take on other people's emotions & experiences to the point (sometimes) of being drained. There was a time when it took weeks to pull myself out of this spiral. Now, thanks to therapy, stacks of self-help books, and caring friends...I can usually recognize what's going on and do a better job of reacting. I spent the first 2 days of this week absorbing a friend's grief & watching the spiral start.
I was email chatting with KP, encouraging her to make a list & work the list. The universe gave a me gentle nudge that said...uhm, perhaps you should practice what you preach. Well, yeah. That would be good. So, I'm writing myself an emergency self-care checklist - the things that I need to do when the spiral starts, when the dark & twisty sets in. I found a few fantastic sites with self-care lists - one is linked under the image above. I love this Tiny Buddha article on what it means to really take care of yourself. I've had this Freedom Experiment list pinned for a while - 55 Gentle Ways to Take Care of Yourself. Here's the start of my own list -
1. Sleep well. This is a tough one for MANY of us - whether it's kids, or back pain, or worry - we don't sleep well. Last night, sleeping well meant bringing a space heater into my bedroom so that I didn't wake up chilly. I don't take sleeping pills, but I do take melatonin if monkey mind is keeping me awake.
2. No alcohol. I want wine to be a celebration, not a crutch...plus, late night drunk texting means that Barb doesn't sleep well. I'm drinking tea, warm almond milk, and freshly-made juices.
3. Exercise. I mentally kick & scream against this one. I can find 738 reasons to skip a workout on the 15 minute drive from work to the gym. I've spent the last year convincing myself to just drive straight home. Not anymore. My deal with myself is "at least 15 minutes" - but hey, once you go to the trouble of getting to the gym & getting changed? You might as well stay.
4. Music. Loud in the car. Headphones at my desk. When I'm dealing with so much internal noise, I need to block out external noise. Not sure if it makes sense that I use music to do that...but it works!
5. Outer order. Gretchen Rubin talks about this as a secret of happiness: outer order contributes to inner calm. I spent an hour or so last night sorting through a stack of mail/papers that has been growing since early Dec. I spent an extra 1/2 hour this morning cleaning up my kitchen & taking the recycling out. I was 15 minutes late to work - but it was worth it.
6.Spiritual practice. I feel like a giant dork writing that....but that's what it is. Meditation. Yoga. Affirmations. Intentions.
I'm going to print this list & keep it handy. Make the list. Work the list.
What's on your emergency self-care list?