Self-Care and the Changing Season
Autumn has arrived (Texas hasn't gotten the memo quite yet)! And while our culture clearly wants us to “rev up” our activity with various obligations and festivities, this season is a time to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the summer, preparing for the reflective time of winter.
As November begins, you may already be thinking about the long list of preparations to be made in anticipation of the holidays. Whether it’s seeing family more often (and longer), cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or attending an array of parties and get-togethers, these fall months can be fun, full, and hectic. And all this surge of activity can leave you feeling depleted and unbalanced, just at the time that mother nature is urging you to slow down and prepare to turn inward for a winter period of introspection and a much-needed rest. So how do we reconcile these two very opposing energies? And what does self-care have to do with it?
While you may do much for others this season, and enjoy doing it, refilling your cup will go a long way toward your sense of serenity and stability as you move into the cooler months.
Hopefully “self-care” isn’t a foreign word to you. But if it is, not to worry. This post will give you plenty of support as you shift your focus from the frenzy of the outside world (and others’ needs and requests) to beautiful, worthwhile YOU!
Though you may “treat yourself” from time to time with a fancy new outfit or a decadent dessert, that’s not quite what self-care is about. It’s about slowing down and listening to yourself in order to see what your body, mind, and spirit truly need to feel balanced, refreshed, and calm. It's about nurturing, not numbing. What do you require to operate from a place of fullness rather than from a place of exhaustion? When you can answer that question, and act on it, you're well on your way to greater well-being.
Think about the following question for a few minutes, or a few days. It may help you to uncover what would help you feel your best this autumn, allowing you to be there for yourself in new and rewarding ways.
If you took everyone else out of the picture for a moment - everyone - how might you choose to support and appreciate yourself?
Would you choose to:
read a few chapters of a good book?
get up a little earlier and quietly enjoy a warm mug of your favorite beverage?
make yourself a healthful meal, then eat it with your full attention?
write your thoughts and feelings in a journal?
walk your dog?
ride your horse?
visit an art museum?
call an old friend?
set a time limit on time spent with challenging family members?
give yourself the luxury of an unscheduled day?
have a good cry?
have a good laugh?
listen to a soothing piece of music?
take a warm bath, with candles glowing?
get to bed an hour earlier than usual?
allow sugar to leave your daily routine?
spend 5-10 minutes on a meditation cushion?
take a walk for pleasure, not to “get your steps in”?
enjoy a sunset?
dance to your favorite song?
Choose one, two, or ten of these suggestions and try them - treat it as an experiment and see what happens. Whatever you decide to do to show love to yourself, it all adds up and refills your reservoir of YOU! Running on fumes does everyone in your life a disservice - you most of all.
How can you work acts of self-care into your day? How do you plan to take care of the gift that is YOU this autumn?