I’ve been writing and posting a lot lately about self-care. You can check out Instagram and Twitter for #selfcarefriday. Taking care of myself, taking time to recharge and re-energize has made a world of difference over the past few months. It’s helped my day to day existence, but it has been remarkable in terms of how I view my worthiness.
Last weekend I taught a few workshops and a few classes devoted to healing anxiety and depression with yoga poses and mindfulness skills and tools. Amazingly, after each session someone approached me telling me about their self-care time.
It was very exciting to know that people are reading and responding to this idea. It’s certainly not my idea, but they’d been paying attention and that’s always gratifying. Slef-care is so valuable and terribly important. Like I said, it’s shifted the way I think about myself. Unfortunately, each person wasn’t really talking about self-care. They were talking about me time.
It’s very easy to get me time and self-care confused. As a mom, wife (now girlfriend), daughter, best friend, yoga therapist and ALL the different roles I play I have often found myself giving my time and energy away. I went from years where me time and self-care weren’t even concepts for me to getting them mixed up to looking forward to them every week. Growth, huh?
You know the pile of clothes on your closet floor that you love, but that need a hem fixed or a button re-attached before you can wear them again? Taking time to mend clothes, write thank you notes, re-shelve books or cds isn’t self-care. I hear from women who tell me that taking care of these things makes them more relaxed and less anxious so it’s good self-care.
I argue that these are personal chores and if they really make you feel better, perhaps you can call that me time, but not self care. Me time is setting aside time each week for those things that you have to do, but sometimes feel indulgent because they’re not for the kids or partner or work. It’s re-exploring my favorite yoga book that is going to make my classes better and me a better teach, but is still work. I’ve put it off for months because it’s not pressing and it’s not the immediate work, like blogging, writing the newsletter or putting together a new series of poses. That’s me time. Time for me to do what I need to do.
Me time is working out. It’s brushing my teeth. It’s the maintenance things that I need to do in my life that are just about me, that only affect me.
Working out is me time, going to yoga is self-care. I work out for my health, I go to yoga to restore, renew, re-energize and be a better Melissa. I go to yoga to be pampered, to have someone else think for me, to tell me what to do, to indulge me, to give me a light touch, hold space for me and encourage me. Sometimes I can’t wait for the timer to end on the elliptical, I never want yoga to end.
It’s different for each of us,, but I highly encourage you to carve out some of both for yourself. Taking time for maintenance was eye-opening for me, taking time for self-care has been life-changing.
So what does it look like for me? I get asked this a lot and I don’t have a great answer. It’s different each week. Me time tends to be spread out, while I dedicate time to self-care.
Me time this week was painting my toenails, which for me is important because my bare feet are visible all the time and sometimes it’s mostly what students see of me. I did a little shopping because I did not pack for cold in Kansas in May and I didn’t bring enough yoga clothes. I worked out a few times and just put on Spotify and pushed myself because I don’t have time for long workouts this week, so I’m doing some high intensity (for me) sessions. Next week I need to go to the doctor and will probably do my hair.
Taking a page from coach Jennifer Lee i like the idea of #selfcarefriday. Jenn does a great job of modeling this. I set aside a few hours on Friday, usually mid-morning to mid-afternoon.I like to treat myself to something yummy to eat-usually uber healthy like Life Alive Cafe in Salem or off the salad Bar at The Merc in Lawrence. Sometimes I get a massage, sometimes I take a mindful walk along Salem Harbor or if I’m in Kansas out by Clinton Lake because water is soothing and grounding to me. It’s not exercise, it’s a chance to get in nature and reset. Any contemplative, reflective time is self-care. I might pull out the mat and do a longer than usual restorative pose,
So, generally me time can be energy out or energy in, cause unless you’re a thread goddess mending is probably energy out. Catching up with an old friend is scrumptious, but it’s energy out and that’s me time. Meditation is energy in, self-care.
I encourage you to take time this week for both self-care and me time. Plan it (Intentional Sundays) and do it every week and see how your life changes!