Taking Care of Ourselves
As the New Year and new decade are now underway, I have been revisiting the ideas and practices around self-care in my life. In looking through some old posts, I came across “Self Care for the New Year”, written way back in 2013…oh my, how time flies! And I thought, wow, it’s time to update this and revisit this topic for 2020.
Last October, I had the great privilege of spending a week in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in a yoga retreat with one of my most respected teachers and heroines, Angela Farmer.
Angela, now in her 80’s, offers practices and teachings that honor the immense wisdom of our bodies, with gentleness, kindness, compassion, fluidity, and freedom being the most important qualities to cultivate in our practices. She said this during our week together, and I now have it written on the whiteboard in my office where I can be reminded of it every day:
Taking care of ourselves is the most powerful thing we can do for the world.
Here’s a short video that will give you a sense of Angela and her energy:
My own self-care practices continue to evolve, as I change, grow, and evolve.
Here are some of the things that are essential in my life, that I do my best to nurture and cultivate on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. They keep me (relatively) sane, keep my nervous system in balance, and provide a foundation for being able to offer my work to the world.
Nancy’s Self-Care Practices
My yoga practice is continues to be the core of my spiritual life and my physical health. Over the years, my practice has grown, shifted, and is ever-evolving. I continue to make new discoveries, and my practice opens doorways into meditation and connection that I deeply treasure. Showing up on my mat in my meditation and yoga room daily is the best way that I know to become centered, connected with the energy of love and the wisdom of the cosmos, to listen to my own body and open doorways for connection and deeper relationships with spirit and all life.
It’s hard for me to separate out yoga and meditation, because for me, they often are the same…or flow into each other without a strong line of demarcation. Meditation can, but not always does, look like sitting on a cushion. I value my meditation practices, and often remind myself to take short meditation breaks throughout the day, especially if I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Even a few minutes of centering, breathing, and stillness can reset everything.
Music is an essential part of my life. It accompanies my morning yoga practice (usually whale song, or the beautiful music of Snatam Kaur). I also am trying to make more time for playing my piano and native flutes. Music feeds my soul.
Walking & Hiking:
Walking and hiking continues to be a cornerstone of of my self-care and spiritual life. Outside, in the mountains or the forest or by a stream…in the arroyo in my neighborhood…with or without a dog or two or three…it’s essential. Walking is another form of meditation for me and it’s also my main form of exercise.
At least once a week, more if I can, I love to take a few hours for a longer hike. I live in hiking paradise, so this is not hard–if I can close the computer, turn the phone off, and just go. It keeps me sane, and I also get much of my creative inspiration, spiritual insight, and incredible communications with the wild ones on these adventures.’
Being near or in water is a huge help in shifting my energy, replenishing my body and soul, and remaining balanced. Walking by a river or stream, swimming in my local pool, or in nearby lakes and rivers when the weather is warm enough…water helps everything. I often try to remember to use my water time to also offer my prayers and blessings for all the waters of our world, and to receive their healing energy and blessings, as well.
Epsom Salts Baths:
I use these any time I feel depleted, stressed, or overworked, or any time I have been out in the world and feel the need to clear out any extraneous or negative energy. And, of course, baths are just great for letting the body and mind relax and open to the intuitive realms.
Snuggling with my cats, dogs…hanging out with my chickens…as you might imagine, the animals are the center of my life, and they take first priority. But just as with all things, sometimes I have to remind myself to stop doing…cleaning feeding walking door opening and closing…and just be with them. Of course, they remind me of this regularly, as they are the best teachers I know about hanging out, chilling out, resting, playing, and enjoying life.
2020 Self Care Resources
Self-Care Inspirational Worksheet
I created a simple PDF that may be helpful for you in thinking about your own self-care practices, and setting intention for really honoring them and making space for them in your life. You can download it here:
Thriving As An Empath: 365 Days of Empowering Self-Care Practices by Judith Orloff, MD
The more we honor and nurture and take care of ourselves, the more energy, creativity, vision, and stamina we will have to be able to show up for all of the things that call to us most deeply in our lives. I encourage you to make self-care a priority this year…it is powerful, and essential, and it will benefit not only you, but all of those around you.