Some of the most challenging times for me to be diligent about self-care are around travel. Usually right before I leave on a trip, when I am on a trip, and just after. A couple of weeks ago, before I left for this present trip, I had an upset stomach, anxiety about leaving my injured daughter, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. I had just returned from Canada, and had about two weeks to get ready for this trip. My rituals were all over the place and my rhythm was less than peaceful. I had to get it together, but in an opposite way of years past.
I made deliberate choices to take my time, sit and sip tea with my girl, visit friends and start packing. I tried, almost everyday, to get my stomach in good health, so walking and yoga were a "must". I attempted to listen to my heart and did the things that registered with my gut. When I looked at my To Do List and felt overwhelmed: I chose one or two things per day, instead of trying to run around like a maniac and get it all done.
And this amazing thing happened...
In under two weeks my stomach felt better, I had greater peace about leaving my daughter (so did she), my anxiety disappeared, and I got EVERYTHING done I needed to get done (except maybe a little bit of food shopping). It was a huge relief and I enjoyed myself in the process.
So, my Note To Self for next time: Don't Stress if my Rituals are a bit out of whack. Be Deliberate about what is not negotiable and what I can let go of as far as my daily self care regime. It is there to serve me, not the other way around.
Caren McLellan Gazley is a soul care specialist and human rights activist whose work has led her to places like Mauritania and Albania. Still and L.A. girl at heart, Caren has deep wisdom drawing from her rich personal experiences about caring for yourself in the midst of parenting, partnerships, community and passionate work. She is the author of Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care.