Our Friday Five is very simple today. Share five ways you’ve learned to care for yourself when life becomes overwhelming. What does the pastor do after a rough day in the office, or at meetings, or at a bedside, or even, in the pulpit? Share your best five self-care strategies, and, with any luck, we all will learn at least one or two new ones.
1. Yoga. I walk to a local yoga studio and take a yoga class four or five times a week. Yoga has for many years been one of my primary go-to’s for self care.The classes I am taking now can be really strenuous but I feel amazing afterward: stronger, more centered, focused, peaceful. A few weeks ago I practiced yoga while on vacation in the Uinta’s (mountains east of Salt Lake City, Utah), looking out over trees, a river, and the mountains. (See photo above).
2. Walking. I walk for exercise. I am blessed to live in a town where I can walk most any place I need or want to go – and I do. I walk to process life and think. I walk to clear my head when I am stuck in sermon writing or meeting blech or some complicated parish dynamic. I walk my dogs and laugh at their silliness. I walk as often as I am able. I try to get in 10,000 steps three or four times a week, and it’s harder than I thought it would be!
3. Meditation. I meditate every day for thirty minutes in the afternoon, usually around 3pm. It’s a curious practice. I learned to do TM (Transcendental Meditation when I was 19, back in 1976…while at college). I still occasionally use the mantra the TM trainer gave me, but mostly just to center my busy mind. Usually I don’t need to use anything, I just fall right into it and come out thirty minutes later. But some days I really struggle to sit still, focus, breath, and meditate. Now my intent with meditation is to quiet myself and open myself up to God and what God might be saying to me in my life. I continue to try and be a better listener and hope that meditation assists with that. But mostly meditation is a daily practice of relaxation and self care. I always feel better afterward, more clear headed, more peaceful.
4. Knitting. I go through phases when I knit more or less, depending on how busy I am and how tired I am. Recently I finished knitting my first sweater for my five year old goddaughter. I am godmother to twins, so now I am working on the second one, a little larger and in a different color way.
5. Gardening. This year I over-planted and my garden is a jungle. Too much rain hasn’t helped….but gardening is one of my joys and I look forward to it every summer. It is relaxing to spend time in the sun, weeding, planting, and harvesting. It is also great fun to know that my meal is comprised of many items I grew, organic, healthy, delicious.
In addition to all of the above I also see a chiropractor and a massage therapist once a month. And I go with a two of my local clergy gal-pals to get manicures about every other week. We laugh, drink tea or coffee, and spend time together just pampering ourselves and being women.
I’m a big believer in self-care as a means to fill my own well, nourish my interior self, in order that I can then care for others.