Body: Practices of Self-Care

 Body 365

Over the next few months we are going to be exploring self-care, SANE perspectives and struggles relating to my one word for the year: Body.

In the last post I mentioned my failed detox attempt and identified that thing in me that reaches for the fast & fabulous fix instead of the daily, habitual small practices that are more healthy for me in every way.

It’s a recurring lesson for me which is why I re-read Anne Lamott books and why I always pay attention around my mum.

My mum is great at doing the small things. She is the only person I know who serves salad with fish and chips! And it works! She bothers with the piece of fruit or the yoghurt after lunch. She will peel a mandarin orange for everyone at the table after dinner and we will eat it as we chat, barely noticing. She and dad drink hot water every morning and take time for supper every night. Ramen noodles in our house is usually… ramen noodles. At my parents’ it is a balanced meal topped with sliced egg and ham, corn, spinach… and probably a mandarin orange afterwards.

When I was a girl I attended a camp every summer in Bushmills, where my mum was a leader in the senior section. At some point during that week away mum would sneak me a brown paper bag of plums and nectarines from the local fruit & veg shop. I can still remember how good they tasted. I didn’t realise she was doing it to make sure I ate fruit at least once that week, in between the fizzy drinks and multiple tuck shop visits.

Too often I am still waiting for someone else to sneak me that brown paper bag, or peel me a mandarin. Eating fruit is such a small thing that seems inexplicably beyond me sometimes, especially when I display such mastery at using the toaster. A few weeks ago I tried to address this by drinking a zillion cucumbers, when actually I just need to eat a few pieces of fruit.

Every season and every circumstance brings its own challenges. What are yours? What are your practices of self-care? Even if you aren’t great at caring for your body, what one thing do you take time for that is a small victory? If it’s hard to prepare a good meal because you’re busy or bored or stressed or lonely, what helps? How do you care for your own body in the midst of caring for your business or your kids or a parent or the poor or your mental health or your class or your congregation? Would love to hear…

(I’m excited to have some guest posts coming in September and October to explore this word further)

21 thoughts on “Body: Practices of Self-Care

  1. With a 6 month old baby in the house, sleep has been…well, minimal, for some time now. And it’s only been since I’ve been seriously sleep deprived that I realise how important it actually is. Well, for me, anyway. I feel so much better, I think more clearly and everything just seems easier after a good kip. So now, at the end of the day, when I feel like I’d like to stay up and have some time to myself, I have been heading to bed shortly after putting the baby down. Yes, I feel like a total nana having such early nights, but WOW, I feel so much better for it. So, for me, being strict about getting good sleep has been a key part of my self care.

    • yes I’m with you… it’s hard because you feel like you are losing other things, like time on your own, or even with your hubby (!) but it’s a key for me too…

  2. I’m not at all sporty. I hate the mere thought of donning special sports clothes and doing something that is going to make me puff and sweat. But all my life I have intended to do something to keep my body fit – and have always just intended to do it, no more than that. Somehow I wasn’t able to get beyond the good intentions. I enjoy walking but somehow I have never been able to make it part of my daily or weekly routine – till now. I have started going for a 20 minute walk as soon as I get home from work – so before I start something else and don’t want to leave the house again. It works. I enjoy it, it clears my head after work, it gives a break between work and whatever is coming next that evening, and I expect it’s good for my body too. Now that I’ve written it here, I will have to keep at it when the weather gets bad.

    • love this.

      “all my life I have intended to do something to keep my body fit ” … this is so me, the long intentions… good for you for finally getting round to it. I know walking would be a good practice for me too … donning special sports clothes is just never going to happen!!

  3. When I turned 49 I decided I needed to take some more control and responsibility for my health. So I decided to “walk to 50″…. I pledged to myself that I would walk at least two miles a day – every day – until I turned 50. If it was 10:00 at night and I hadn’t walked yet, I would have to do it before going to sleep. (Like you would not go to bed without brushing your teeth….)
    It is now coming up on almost three years, and I still do this almost every day. Most days I walk on the treadmill first thing in the morning (before anybody else is awake and needing me for something). It has now become part of my regular routine.
    I am still working on the healthy eating side of the equation. Some days I do better with that than others.

  4. I love your blog Sharon! Thank you. I also am great with intentions, it’s just carrying them out isn’t always so successful! However 18 years ago I was introduced to aloe vera nectar and there have been very few days since then that I haven’t drunk it first thing in the morning. It is simply amazing! 100% natural and so many benefits. Several of my friends are also now hooked.

    Also a few months ago I decided to try to incorporate into every day one little treat of any description, coffee shop, walk with a friend, visit a craft shop, visit a friend.. Just something enjoyable for me. I’ve pretty much been able to do this and have found it to be a real help at this stage of my life. The daily walking thing is something I really want to do and the posts above have been a real encouragement. Thanks girls! 😉

  5. …and I was googling Anne Lamott since you mentioned her. She is new to me. I guess you’ve read a lot of her, can you recommend any of her books please?

    • i’ve read all her ha… in relation to this conversation it would be her non-fiction… i would probably recommend different books to different people! stitches or help, thanks, wow are lovely ‘little’ books that came out the past few years that might be a good place to start (she has a third… ‘Small Victories’ out this nov – as you can see i am stealing that phrase already!) .. you can read the start of them on Amazon and see what you think. my favourite is Some Assembly Required which is ‘about’ her grandson’s first year but also is just full of hilarious gentle wisdom and insight… as they all are!

  6. With a 3 year old, a 1 year old and 29 weeks pregnant life is all about survival right now! Unfortunately that means doing what I can, eating what I can just to get through the day. So my diet sucks… lol! Like Jude, my thing is sleep. So I’ve started trying to get to bed by 10pm every night, tho I still spend at least 3 hours every night awake with insomnia. I think this post has reminded me I need to try and fit in a little bit of ‘me’ into my life, so I’m going to try. A tip tho from my pre-current-pregnancy life is Couch to 5K. I started it and it was fantastic. There’s an app that coaches you through your run (created by the nhs). I did it for half an hour every other evening before dinner. It starts off with short bursts of running mixed in with walking and builds up over the weeks until you can run 5K. I totally recommend it for head clearing and energy boosting. I’m actually busting for this baby to be born so that I can get back to it!!

    • thanks Karen… a fab tip for those who can bear to put on running shoes!! i like it’s name… you’re just spending extended time in the ‘Couch’ phase while preggers .. and the couch is an important part of self-care too! xx

  7. I can give a wonderful seminar on the importance of self care but find myself daily raggity and worn down. I ‘scream’ for peace and quiet and solitude and all things lovely. Many times I know the answers but lack drive or space to incorporate. However, what I have learnt is that my heart is warmed by things that I see, smell, and hear. I crave places of simplicity and beauty: fresh flowers in the kitchen, music to play while I cook dinner, a candle to light. I have my little corner/nook in the kitchen that has a favourite family picture, journal, a cross, words that say ‘endurance’ or ‘gratitude’ made out of blocks, a place for coffee, a place to scribble reminders and menu planning. I can light a candle here, smell lavender and try to be. Just be. As for the walking or running? That will be my new adventure, or struggle.

  8. Man’s perspective: going for a run, taking my breaks at work, decluttering, sometimes going to bed as early as my wife, sometimes having ‘Chris time’…

  9. ‘Like a farmer’s field that is never allowed to lie fallow a life lived without margin leads to total depletion of the good things that replenish the soil/soul.’ Diana Trautwein

    I love this quote. It reminds me of the importance in valuing my being before my doing. As I repeatedly get sucked into that sense of rush I often feel the strain in my body- I’ll refuel with quick empty calorie snacks, i get headaches, I won’t sleep very well with an over active mind, I’ll be tense and stressed about my to-do list. I think I deeply underestimate the value of slow and nurturing my sacred centre. I place more worth on how productive I am, despite the detrimental effect it might have on my poor body, mind and soul….ironically sometimes the choice to go slow and simplify feels really difficult!

    • yes me too… you have expressed perfectly why I’m exploring all this. I place so much value on being productive.

      these comments are better than the blog and are doing me much good!!

      are we going to hear more of your wisdom over at monastchic ?! x

  10. My stage is looking after a busy, chatty, imaginative 3 year old and a giggly, climbing before he can walk, 11 month old. I’m still on maternity leave and concerned that I actually might have to be more organised soon, on my return to work. I recently got the sweet news that my application for reduced hours has been approved! That in itself is self-care! But mine are: de-clutter, the slow cooker, therapeutic back massages (pain and knots make me grumpy!), a cuppa with wee frizz & buy quality chocolate not biscuits.

    On office days and if those days of going to the supermarket on my own reappear in my life I will park the car far away from the door again.

  11. Pingback: BODY: SHARING MY STORY ON WEE FRIZZ | gemmaruthwilson{dot}com

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