Self-Care Comes First

This might as well be the title of my blog. It is the first rule on my list of “absolutely absolutelies”. Which means that I’ve learned this about a gazillion times before and still mess it up. It’s important though. Really important. So important that I first broke this rule and then also followed it this week.

On Monday I was already feeling slightly sniffly. On Tuesday I had a sore throat and general sense of being run over by a truckload of sniffles. I went to the last day of the beginners Yoga class I had been assisting with anyway and went to half of Yoga teacher training. On Wednesday I couldn’t not call it a cold anymore and still I tried to get stuff done and went to a talk on 8-bit culture. On Thursday I woke up and my throat was on fire, my nose was stuffed and my ears were hurting. I complained on Twitter and my sister ordered two days day of bed, soup and chick flicks. I submitted, rather unwillingly, I had stuff to do.

But lo, on Friday I was feeling better already and yesterday I was up and about again, getting to enjoy the sunny day outside taking pictures of my knitting and getting funny comments from passerby.

There was an interesting pattern at play here, too. When my energy was low on Monday and Tuesday I fell into a slightly morbid mood and nothing was really good enough. Especially I wasn’t good enough. I listened to hours and hours of monster talk and generally felt like shit. This feeling of not good enough then creates a sense of urgency, a need to “finally get my shit together” and I rail and shove against my shortcomings and lose even more energy. It’s a downward spiral if I ever saw one.

And this is where the rule of Self-Care comes in handy. It is the break in the circuitry of this pattern. I still listen to the monsters and feel like shit, but I take care of my body and if possible even of my mind and within days I feel ready to take on the world again, not from a place of urgency and dread, but from a place of wanting and play. The funny thing is, action from there actually achieves things.

Mostly I am writing this post as a reminder to myself that this rule actually makes sense. My past-Self, the one that wrote it down in the book of me, was wise. Listen to that wisdom.

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