It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written here, and I’ve missed you! I want to share about where I’ve been, and the lessons I’m taking with me.
June took me out of my normal. It brought a leg injury that put me on crutches for a short stint, followed by a second health issue that knocked me off the crutches – and directly into the bed – for a little while.
Both ailments were, thankfully, wholly tractable (thank you to my awesome doctor for figuring them out, and thank you to all who responded with such kind comments and wishes to my IG post about it). But, both health issues were eventful and unusual and uncomfortable enough to get my attention. And both had stress as a contributing factor.
As I made my way back to feeling like myself again, I started to reflect. I realized that I was four months into living a dramatically different life. Our family has been pretty much at home since early March, and we are very happy and grateful to be able to do so for our own safety and others’.
My new shelter-in-place life has much lower levels of connection, natural light, outdoor air, and casual, frequent functional movement than my prior life had. It also doesn’t have some of the holistic health supports (like acupuncture) that I usually benefit from.
While I had been very committed to exercise during this time – my dedicated hour of the day for dance classes on zoom – I wasn’t getting the kind of regular, short bursts of movement that I used to get walking down the street to the coffee place, or dropping off my kids at a class, or even just walking from one end of the coworking space to the other. Not having those small, regular forms of movement ended up having a genuine impact on my overall health.
I’ve redesigned things now. I’m moving more frequently, and differently. I’m spending more time outside. I’m courting sleep like it’s a dreamy lover – and I’ve let go of a couple habits that aren’t great for a night’s rest, like that second (okay, third) cup of green tea, or those last compulsive looks at the phone late at night. These are changes that weren’t really necessary in month one or two of this new reality, but that are necessary now.
I’m offering up my experience here in the hopes that it can be a prompt to take a pause and revisit your self-care routines.
In your new pandemic day-to-day, especially as that new day-to-day turns into month after month, what needs revision? Reinvention?
What is gradually falling through the cracks that you want to pick up again? What self-care routines or practices were working okay at the beginning of the pandemic but aren’t working so well anymore?
What do you need to care for yourself now? Rest? Stillness? More movement? More light? Time to prepare healthy food? More texts with that friend who makes you laugh?
It’s important to name here that privilege of all kinds makes it far easier to care for oneself. In fact, I’d say that one of the very definitions of privilege is having the resources and freedom to care for oneself. The amount of trauma we experience day to day, the time or financial resources we can put towards self-care, the safety and serenity of our working and living environments, and myriad other external factors dramatically impact our ability to care for ourselves.
And yet, we can also hold on to a passion for finding ways – large and small, momentary or extended – to bring more peace, nourishment, and rest into our lives. Thinkers and teachers like Adrienne Maree Brown (more here and here) and Octavia Raheem have powerfully articulated why self-care is revolutionary – and essential – for women who are facing, and/or working to transform, oppression and injustice. They help us see the inseparability between self-care, justice work and liberation.
We care for ourselves, I believe, for two equally important reasons. One reason is that we are sacred, glorious, singular expressions of the life force, each of us one-of-a-kind across the universe.
To deny ourselves care, and adoration, and quiet attunement is to denigrate the divine. To care for ourselves – not to feed our egos or take more than we need – but to truly tend to and love ourselves, is to take a stand for the sacredness of life.
Caring for ourselves is a way of showing reverence for creation.
But we also care for ourselves because in doing so we increase the potency and vibrancy of the raw material of us, so that the raw material of us – from our hands to our minds to our spirits – can care for others, create for others, serve others.
Particularly now, we all must give ourselves the nourishments that enable us to be clear-seeing and vocal. We must each discern what self-care allows us to be sourced enough to envision and enact the profound change our world desperately needs.
Your sourcedness is worth it –
worth it to you,
worth it to me,
worth it to all of us.
Photo by Sapan Patel