Moving Forward on Your Self-Care Path
Episode #2 of the course Mindfulness: Self-care for daily life by Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura
Pull up your notes from yesterday: What is the self-care you’ve actually done? What is the self-care you know you should be doing? What is the gap in between your ideal and your reality?
First, let’s look at your second list: the self-care you know you should be doing. Now, tear it up and throw it away! Stop “shoulding” on yourself! You have plenty of things in your life that you “should” do and that you “have” to do. I want you to shift perspective: Self-care is a gift you give yourself. I don’t want you to come to self-care because your doctor or your spouse or your boss says you should—come to self-care because you want to! Self-care is an opportunity to feel good, to find joy, and to enjoy your life and your well-being.
Self-Care as Joy
So, write a new list: What do you WANT to do? What makes you feel good? Where do you laugh? Where do you feel good in your body? Maybe you hate the treadmill but you love walking in nature. Maybe you hate aerobics but you love line dancing. Maybe you hate kale smoothies but you like spinach salads. There are a million ways to be healthy and a million and one ways to do self-care, and the best strategy is the one that you will consistently do. The secret is that you will consistently do the things you enjoy. Start by asking yourself: What do I WANT to do?
What’s in Your Way?
Yesterday, you finished your assignment by identifying the obstacles in your way. We all have real-life obstacles. Instead of pretending you don’t or wasting time wishing they were different, focus on what you can realistically do. Maybe you don’t exercise because you have young kids or an aging parent, and you can’t take an hour off to go to the gym. Okay! What can you do instead? Can you take your kids to the playground and climb the monkey bars with them? Can you take your dad to the park, sit him comfortably on a bench with a mug of coffee and a newspaper, and then walk the path around the park where you can see him? Or better yet, walk slowly and take him with you? Consider your obstacles with creativity, let go of those “shoulds” and consider your “wants”: What can you realistically do, given your circumstances, that you want to do and will enjoy doing to take better care of yourself?
Set One Goal
For your assignment for today, I want you to pick one thing. Something brief, something simple, something you 100% with absolute certainty and confidence can do today, to take care of yourself. Maybe you can turn off the TV ten minutes early and use a meditation app to breath. Maybe you can take a bath instead of a shower, and just relax in the hot water. Maybe you can go for a ten-minute walk around the parking lot during your lunch break. Pick something that you will enjoy—that will make you feel good—and that you know you can do today, and set it as a goal. Accomplish it before you check in tomorrow.
Tomorrow, we’ll shift our focus to the core of mindfulness and self-care practice: your breath.
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