Perhaps I am a little late to the game… the self-care game that is. Prior to this month, I knew only of sporadic self care at best and was much more familiar with nonstop pushing… pushing of my body, spirit, and mind. Sure long, hard runs were on my to-do list, but only because this was good for my health and training, and not because they were part of a self care regime. Sure I took hot showers, five minutes long, so that I did not grace everyone with the aroma of an unwashed body. Sure I read books… biology textbooks and journal articles, that is.
I have recently come upon the realization that I viewed rest as a luxury and even an extravagance; I measured my worth by my productivity level. I still, in some regard, maintain this skewed viewpoint, but I am grateful to have at least been offered another perspective. In the last month, I was forced to rest and adopt a list of things which I would consider “self care.” The list did not come easily and I had to convince myself that these self care techniques were worthwhile. Activities which reduced the tight muscles in my chest, things which gave my mind a much-needed rest, things which restored beauty. Watching the sky and sun set into the stars, enjoying a long bath while reading a riveting fiction novel, running for relaxation and not for health, pausing for a game of dominoes, laughing like it was going out of style, reconnecting with friends, learning mindfulness and prayer, and allowing tank tops, shorts, and flip flops to be my wardrobe. These things slowly reminded me of my humanity… that I need beauty and rest. That they are as much an obligation as a job would be and there is no honor in running myself into the ground.
The grace that I feel mandatory to extend to others, I must also extend to myself. Not my forte. Not even close to my forte. And yet, I must do it. I must radically care for myself so that I can love others. Even though it is radical, it is not selfish. It is wise.
What are some of your radical self-care techniques? Please do share!