Self-care is the most important and most difficult part of my world, some days. It is so easy to get lost in all the debris and difficulties of running our lives and managing all the chaos and uncertainties of these days. Add maintaining abstinence and a solid recovery program, and there sometimes just doesn’t seem to be enough time for everything!
There are two parts to this discussion: the first is real days away break that you do once or twice a year; the second are self-care suggestions for any day.
I have a friend who runs a powerful business, and she gets super excited at this time of year, because she goes offline, every year, for two weeks. She calls this her third step work, and says she needs to be willing to step away, to entrust others with the work, and be offline with her Higher Power and close family for this time. They go to a place they all love and they do the things they enjoy. “This is when I feel the most alive” she says.
I encourage you to do the same. There is a three-day weekend coming up, if you’re in the USA, could you make it four days? And could you plan it as a time of rest?
Or could you take a week and limit your work hours. Do all these things and others to give you a level of recharge; a clarity of mind, a clearing of bad feelings, time for deep sleep and daily naps.
Here are some other ideas.
Talk to the people you live with and love about what you need. Ask for help, negotiate your activities to give you some rest and restoration.
Sit down with your Higher Power and do a step, or discuss an issue. Call a friend and read an excerpt from a good book together.
Binge on 12 step meetings you have never attended.
Go plant some flowers by your front walk. Or buy a bunch of lilies and enjoy the smell as they open.
“Why bother? The hard stuff will be doubled when I get back and the things I don’t want to do will still be there!” says the Pessimist.
“True, and if you don’t take a break, where will they be in two weeks? Probably still worrying you! Or could an effective break give you the clarity of mind and the spiritual power to get the mess cleaned up?” answers the Optimist.
And my friend encourages me to take smaller steps to “be offline”. These are some self-care things I can “sneak” into my day without a big disruption.
Take a walk without your cell phone.
Curl up with a novel by your favorite author.
Go indulge a hobby. Would you like a list of online yarn shops?
Take a bath with Dr Teal’s Epsom salts, or attach an essential oil to your shower.
Or mix the Epsom salts with lotion or conditioner and give yourself a massage
Get a massage or a facial, or both with a haircut and new nails.
Buy cheer up cards at the Dollar Store, address them to yourself, stamp them, and ask a friend to mail them to you randomly.
Make a playlist of music you like and ask some skilled friend or family member to put it on your phone. (The Beatles “Let It Be”, or the “Sounds of Silence”)
Stop at a tea shop for an extra special tea.
Aromatherapy with candles or essential oils?
A private journal to deal with the feelings that come up when you give yourself time alone.
And for all of us, all the time: Set a timer; turn off all the electronics at a specified time before bed (a whole hour!) you will find your sleep increases dramatically.
“Why do this? I have enough on my plate already,” you say. When you were in the food, you obeyed Father Food and lived the life food gave you. You binged and purged and starved and obsessed and dieted and ate and struggled. Now you are free of that.
Seriously, what kind of life do you really want to live? What changes do you need to make to get more of what you want and less of what you don’t want? Are you really happy in this life now? Take the time this May day, to mentally construct the life you wish for, and plan out how to bring – at least some aspects of it – about. What will make you really happy? What will make your struggle and sacrifice worth it?
You deserve to have what you love and want in your life. You deserve joy. You deserve flowers. You deserve time to rest. You deserve time to enjoy your life.
What will help you create a life you really want to live in??
Blessings to you,