Last time we spoke about how to use resistance to doing self-care as a self-care practice in and of itself.
Today we are going to shift our attention to what I believe is one of the most important principles of self-care:
Do what works… for you.
Do What Works is an underlying principle of Sacred Self-Care. Within this tenet are three key concepts:
- What works for me might not work for you. And vise versa.
- What works will change… often!
- Sometimes what works is simply getting through the day.
1) What works for me might not work for you.
Conversely, what works for you might induce extra stress in me.
I’ve mentioned several times how a lot of the typical self-care things (hot baths, spas, pedicures, etc) just aren’t that effective for me.
Still, for a long time, I tried to make myself do the typical self-care things that seemed to work for others – because I wasn’t aware of other options.
I’d feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed. I’d take a bath because that’s what you are supposed to when stressed, right?
Then, I would exit the bath, frustrated (the bathtub was never long enough to accommodate my 5’9″ frame), over-heated, slightly dizzy, and, in some ways, worse off than before.
Clearly, hot baths don’t work for me. They might for you. Yay you!
2) What works will change. Often.
What worked yesterday even, might not work today.
This is normal. We all go through different stages and experiences in life (crisis, loss, injury, transitions, etc). These varying experiences often require shifts in self-care.
In short, what works won’t just change, it will change often.
Let’s use an example from my life (a year ago).
At this time a year ago, I was nine and a half months pregnant.
SO many of the things that worked for me before becoming pregnant were impossible. Not only that, but some of the things that worked when I was eight months pregnant, no longer did a month later.
Let’s make a list. 🙂
- Long hot showers (vs baths). I kept trying to make these work because I so love the feel of hot water coursing over my body. But, I ended up on my knees time after time, overheated, dizzy, about to pass out, etc. Not. Fun.
- Hiking, walking, being active. The first trimester I was so sick and exhausted that exercise consisted primarily of pulling myself off the floor to get a cup of water. By the third trimester, due to ligament pain and no lung capacity, walking is something I did because I had to, not because I found it nourishing.
- Snuggling on the couch with my husband. Thanks to some extreme vagus nerve stuff, I could only sit upright or leaning slightly forward. No reclining back and snuggling into the arm of my husband – unless I wanted to experience immediate nausea, heart rate increase, difficulty breathing, hot flashes, etc.
When what worked previously no longer does, we experiment and discover what works now.
For me, singing worked during this time. It helped shift so much fear – initially around the potential of miscarrying and later around everything else that it is possible to be afraid of during pregnancy including the prospect of labor.
New small things that also worked included sitting under the tree in our front yard (versus being active), sleeping on my left side (versus my back or my right side), and eating yogurt versus vegetables. 🙂
3) Sometimes, just getting through the day is enough.
There are times when all of our self-care falls to the side.
We also moved when I was nine months pregnant.
We had been looking for a home and then, just like that, we found it, closed early, and moved.
During the days of the move, I didn’t do any of my normal self-care stuff. Instead, I focused on just getting through the move, staying as connected to my body as I could in the meantime.
By the end of each day, exhausted and having completely overdone it, all I could do was watch tv and try to fall asleep… Just to do it all over again the next day.
Basically, in times of lowered capacity or extra ‘stuff’ happening, we simply do the best we can.
When those feelings of inadequacy or frustration (over our lack of capacity or inability to do our normal self-care things) arise, we meet them and, like with resistance, allow that to be the focus of our self-care for the day.
Afterward, we might consider putting into place new systems so that the next time we experience a similar situation, we can be more supported throughout.
For example, next time I might ask for help moving. Hmm… asking for help – what a concept!
In summary, do what works for you keeping in mind that:
- What works for you might look very different from what works from anyone else. Only you will know what truly works for you.
- What works will change. Staying present with your body and what is currently happening in your life will help you determine what works for you in this moment. (I’ll be writing more on this topic soon!)
- There are times when ‘what works’ is simply getting through the day. That is ok. You can trust yourself to return to what nourishes and supports you when the ‘crisis’ is over.
Next time 🙂 we are going to dive deeper into the ‘do what works’ principle and take a look at how it applies to self-healing.
Following that, I will guide you through a simple process that will help you know what works for you. Stay tuned!
What works for you?
Thoughts? Comments? I love to hear from you! <3