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Self-Care, Whatever That Is

Posted by on August 6, 2013

“Busy, but good!”

I’m getting a bit tired of hearing myself say this in response to all “How are you” type questions. I suspect that we’re all busy. But is it “good”? This part, I’m a bit less sure of.

As a counsellor-in-training, I spend a lot of time talking to My People about self-care. The great thing about being a counsellor is, I get to say, “Here’s the importance of self-care, here are some ideas…Figure out some ways that work for you and let’s chat about them next time”. And then we book an appointment for next Thursday. Which is a big relief because, frankly, I’m a bit weak in this area. Give me an empty day and I’ll find 3 projects to finish, language flashcards that need learning, a new recipe to try and someone to help.

On the one hand, having a productivity-oriented personality is a good thing. It means I can multi-task, be active in many areas and rarely waste time. On the other hand, it means I tend to burn the candle at both ends.

So, my friends, here is my query: how do you rest? How do you re-charge or care for yourself? I’m interested in small, daily activities and long-term habits. How do you know when it’s time to pull back? And finally, if you can recommend a light, non-disturbing, moderately well-written, mildly humourous and overall life-giving novel (preferably historical fiction), I will give you some bonus points.

7 Responses to Self-Care, Whatever That Is

  1. John Rafferty

    I try to create space or pauses between changes of pace in the day, then take some moments to be still, to breathe, to listen and to jot down some ideas during those times. I’m studying til 1pm, before heading out for an appointment? Stop studying at 12:40 and take 15 minutes to sit quietly, reflecting on the morning and the love I’m likely to bump into the remainder of the day. I also try to pay attention to the sky. One Rafferty brother says it’s the key to understanding life’s many movements. By paying attention to it, you can know when is a good moment to just watch the sun emerge or set, when you should just be still and watch the approaching storm, and when you should just give thanks for the palette of colors our Creator has used to give life to our world.

  2. Mindy

    My lovely Meels,

    God is teaching me something similar. Recently I read the chapters on simplicity and solitude in the book “Celebration of Discipline” which got this all started for me. I’m also reading (very slowly, mind you) “One Thousand Blessings” and “Ordering Your Private World”. “The Rest of God” is also a good one too. Can’t say I have any solid answers yet but if anything, I’m learning to say “no” to more things and “yes” to less. I’m still trying to discover the “secret” in not feeling guilty about eg. playing computer games for 4 hours in a row though Evan encourages me and says it’s fine, lol. One thing I’d like to improve on is being still. Being in nature or in the quiet of the morning/evening seems to encourage this most…. but my mind tends to wander a lot.

    Anyway, not very helpful but I wanted to let you know I’m in the same boat.

    As for fiction, I really enjoyed reading “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” set in WWII times in Greece. It’s lovely.

  3. g2-8f50cb27bc36d82b7a49c2b4d3ad3d98

    Having kids helped me slow down a lot! I used to hate being alone for more than a few hours and would need to get out of the house at least once a day. After S was born, I found myself staying at home a lot more. Sometimes I felt so sleep deprived that I couldn’t go out…At first, it was hard…and boring staying home all day but over time i got used to a different pace of life. More importantly, I changed my expectations for what needed to be accomplished each day in order for it to have been a “good day” and I practiced being thankful for what had happened each day.

  4. aelish

    I turn to poetry and in this case, W.H. Davies, Leisure

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

  5. aban

    sweet friend,

    i usually bake as i find that restful. I listen to music and paint my nails. I paint. I try and nap, though i’m not super amazing at that. i watch downton abbey (:

  6. American Punjaban PI

    Currently I’m abstaining from being the care-taker. I have codependency issues and for me that is necessary. I find it completely gratifying to know I didn’t step in and take over and that I didn’t force myself to take on someone elses work when I have enough of my own.

    My eye-opening book was “Emotional Blackmail ….” the book. And my Aha moment was the question “where is it written?” as in where is it written that I have to succomb to passive aggressive rants on what my duty is?

    In the past I’ve found that sitting in my car alone was a nice getaway from the norm. I still find peace in my car for some reason lol. My car is a happy place and has been for the last 20 years of my life. It’s a place to talk out issues, discover new things, and bond with my family. So whether they are in it or not, it remains the happy place. Sometimes I blast the music and pretend I’m a rock start and others I turn it off and just take in the world around me as I pass it by.

  7. yweima

    I was just catching up on your blog and so this novel suggestion might be late. One novel that I think fulfills all those requirements is ”the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” The title hits a humourous note to start, and there are many humourous situations throughout the novel. Despite a fair amount of it being set in WWII it is an ultimately uplifting book about a quirky community in the Channel Islands. Plus, it’s epistolary. A couple years ago a friend in Kigali lent me her copy and I liked it so much once I started it that I read most of it on the winding bus back to Bujumbura, even though I don’t normally like to read in busses.

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!