I took a 30 minute walk outside today.
A lunch time walk may not sound like big deal but I have an unhealthy habit of forgetting to get up from my desk for 5 hours at a time. I always have the best of intentions to take a break and walk outside in the middle of the day. And I have never done it until today.
Self-care, those intentional choices we make to nurture our bodies, minds and spirit, are the first items on the chopping block when time gets tight and the to-do list gets long. For me the first thing to go is “taking a break”, followed by writing, “seeing friends”, eating “healthy food”, and ultimately exercise. This past year I didn’t even plant any annuals because I knew I would have to water them. It was a bleak garden year.
Many days I am hanging on to my exercise class by my fingernails. I work out distracted and unfocused, with headaches and colds, coming in late and leaving early to accommodate clients, trying to fit in at least two classes a week.
But that’s not really self-care. That’s just enough fuel to keep going.
Last year my coaching business nearly doubled, I tried unsuccessfully to bring on associates, and was forced to both raise my rates and turn down clients to make it all work. Sounds like a success and feels like a disaster. And almost all self-care disappeared.
I decided this morning that I would put a walk on my calendar every day and set an alarm just like a meeting. I don’t miss meetings and I have a Pavlovian relationship with my iPhone calendar alarms, so I booked five walks. I still have too much work, and am finishing (or starting) things right up against the deadline, but truly another 30 minutes is not going to make that big of a difference.
I am also planning to scheduled one writing hour per week.
This is the simple technique I start my clients on when they are overwhelmed and need to make change: Make it small. Make it concrete on your calendar. Make it repetitive.
But I forget to take my own medicine sometimes.
I used to be dismissive of the concept of self-care when I was younger because it sounded so basic – eat decent food, sleep, see friends & family, get some exercise. Either I didn’t understand the concept of overwork at the time, or I maybe I bounced back quicker, whatever the case I am currently quite respectful of the concept and need for self-care.
Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I plan to spend more time being intentional in scheduling my breaks, my visits with friends, and my “purpose & joy” to quote a wise friend.
Snowdrops I discovered on my walk today.