Our culture encourages busyness. I have made a conscious effort, when asked how my family is doing, not to say “busy.” And even with that extra effort, I find myself reporting that we are doing well and that life is busy. Being really busy has been a trigger for me. I find myself relaxing on my self care practices when I am busy and justifying not doing those things because I really just want to go to bed or it’s really important for me to get this done. And often, we get so caught up in what’s going on in our lives that we aren’t aware.
What I have found to be helpful in my life is to identify what being in a healthy emotional place looks like and what it looks like for me when I am struggling. It helps me to catch myself and then to try to make small shifts. For example, if I find myself up later than 10:00pm scrolling on my phone I know that I’m not being intentional and self aware. If I find myself talking on the phone a lot during the day, I know that I’m distracted and my mind is busy. If I don’t listen to a meditation before I go to bed at night, I know that I am crashing at night. This will probably look different for you. When I notice these things going on, I tell myself to take some breaths and try to consciously shift that a bit.
Now what does that look like, shifting? Is it the self talk of “here you go again! You were doing so great and then you get off track? I can’t stick with anything, even things that are good for me. No wonder I am a mess?!” Listen, I am a big fan of being kind to ourselves and it’s something that I work on all of the time. What helpful shifting can look like is “oh wow, I went to bed last night without my meditation. I must be really worn out. I’m going to try to get to bed after I get the kids settled so I can get my mediation in.”
And I want you to notice something else. When I talk about self care and the things that I stop doing when I’m busy and moving through my life mindlessly, the things I’m noticing aren’t big and time consuming and expensive. I have been working another job in addition to my practice since November. I have two little boys who are in several activities, one of which I help to run. I am on the board of a couple of organizations that are important to me. I don’t have a lot of extra time and don’t have the means to spend a lot of money on expensive self care practices. I listen to a meditation on a free app at night. I read and journal. It doesn’t have to be time consuming and expensive to take care of yourself. You may have to shift things and that takes time and practice, but it’s worth it.
So think about it, what is the difference for you?