I spent much of last week struggling mentally and wondering why I felt so anxious and emotional and while I was able to narrow it down to a handful of things that could be causing my dis-ease (I mean, duh), when I dug deeper beyond circumstances, I realized that I was stuck in a loop inside my head, constantly running through a list of fears that had been plaguing me subconsciously.
The silver lining here is that I am now able to catch myself in an anxious mental loop before plummeting down a rabbit hole of no return and this means I have to take action and ramp up my self-care routine starting with my morning meditation practice simply to quiet my mind enough to see through the clutter.
Honest free-writing or stream-of-conscious journalling helps tremendously as well. I’m an avid list-maker and have always journaled off an on (usually in the throes of an angry mental breakdown where I end up tearing the pages because I’m writing so hard or am ranting about whatever just happened)… I only recently started purposefully journalling every day, sometimes morning and night, just to see what pops up and although I was a bit of a skeptic, it actually works wonders.
For me, the key to self-care is consistency and making it a part of my daily and weekly routine… however, life gets in the way sometimes and it’s easy to skip our healthiest habits until we’re at a breaking point… eats an entire family-sized bag of peanut m&m’s to avoid the feelings and soothe the pain. Hello Breaking point 🙂
Slow down… you’re doin’ fine …
Second to morning meditation and journalling, my favorite I-NEED-SOMETHING-NOW self-care trick that usually works me out of an emotional loop pretty quickly is getting out into nature and walking. If I still find myself in a walking rut, I stop and look around and just try to notice everything that stands out to me that I find beautiful; the trees, the color of the leaves, the warm sun on my face (even in this near-freezing weather), the little critters running about, the birds, the breeze, the reflection on the lake… you get it.
It’s easy to get out of my head when I start focusing on the beauty outside of my head… but sometimes the inner voice is very strong and will continue to pull me right back in and so I have to work hard at focusing on anything-EVERYTHING ELSE.
I add an afternoon meditation practice where I am sure not to fall back to sleep (like i do sometimes in the morning, oops), I journal more, I tell Alexa to play my favorite music, I take a shower and sing as loud as I can to my shower playlist (mostly Sara Bareilles songs) all in an attempt to get back to my mental homeostasis or my balanced baseline where I feel like everything is A-okay. And usually, within a few days I’m feeling like myself again. This is when it’s easy to STOP all the things that were working… and this is when you need to KEEP DOING ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE WORKING.
Since moving, I’ve been able to walk the dogs again on a semi-regular basis, which is something we have both missed dearly in the past few years. Our last house was located up what felt like a million stairs and didn’t have a safe place to walk them, but now we have a little cement path that runs parallel to the lake and they love to follow it and just watching them look around so happy and curious at their new surroundings makes me smile so big and tear up with joy and happiness.
I’ve just purchased new harnesses that will allow me to lift them up and down the stairs and I cannot WAIT to get them! I truly hope they live up to my expectations of me literally being able to carry them -one in each hand- like Frenchie tote bags, up and down the flights of stairs to protect their backs and hips and joints, OH MY!
They seem to be handling the stairs well so far, but because of their previous back surgeries (2) and just being fragile Frenchies, I am very careful allowing them to take the stairs (or do anything at all that might land us at the Vet).
I think overall I’ve made a huge change in my life and am alone (and thus in deep thought) quite a bit more than I used to be, which I don’t mind (in fact, I wanted), but I think it’s getting to me a little. It also could be hormonal (uh, Hello Perimenopause!), which is always a fun guessing game, and I’m also really hard on myself and I am a little frustrated that my place isn’t entirely done yet, but I know, things take time.
And speaking of taking time… I am currently reading Wait for It by Jenn McKinlay and loving it but any time that I am sitting and relaxing and not doing all the things I SHOULD be doing quickly sends me right back into my anxious mental ponder… Should I listen to my intuition and allow some relax/reading time? or SHOULD I be FINISHING ALL THE THINGS I NEED TO FINISH NOW BECAUSE OMG I HAVE TO FINISH EVERYTHINGNOW…
Slow down… you’re doin’ fine …
This has been my mantra lately… ever since I created this reel… and I watch it every few days as a reminder.