What a whirlwind start to the holiday season! I hadn't planned to post for a while but a few thoughts occurred to me while running this morning. (Some of my best stuff flows from running.) I pushed myself onto the treadmill for my first round of indoor interval sprints, something I completely dread but force myself through during the indoor months. It was effortless. I was on my 8th sprint without stopping, feeling great and started thinking about why it felt so good this time. One reason I came up with was how I'd been making an effort to take care of myself this past year because of all of the injuries I've sustained recently. I've been diligent about rolling out and stretching after working out and I've been keeping up with monthly massages and acupuncture.
It reminded me of how important it is during these times of transition and upheaval that we do take care of ourselves. We entered into this season of three holidays back to back (more if you're in a multi-belief household), on top of that, in Chicago, we had the Cubs win the World Series for the first time in anyone's living memory and we had an exhausting election, no matter if you were blue, red, green or any other color. It's so easy during these times to say, "Halloween only comes around once a year, I'll lose whatever I gain in time for Thanksgiving." Or some variation on that theme.
You may also have been going through a lot of strong feelings if you were at all involved, even peripherally, in the election no matter if the result was what you had hoped for or not. Remember that you can't take care of anyone, or anything, else unless you take care of yourself. Try not to use the outside world as an excuse to skip your yoga class or binge on sugar. (I've been guilty of both in recent days and my acid reflux quickly told me to tone it down.) Yes, you should enjoy the holidays and celebrate any victories and feel any feelings you may have and find productive and cathartic ways to express them. As I often say in class, find your edge, please don't go over your edge.
We can run on emotions and determination for only so long. We're all corporeal beings, though, and we need to pay attention to our vehicle. Give to yourself so that you're able to give outward. To offer a personal example, for the past several weeks I have been covering a lot of classes for an instructor who is away dealing with a family illness. I'm also opening a show this week. I'm also preparing for the holidays and have lived on the same earth as everyone else, experiencing the vicissitudes of the past few months. I'm still taking care of my normal classes, my normal habitat stuff and doing my normal workouts. (I managed to PR in the Hot Chocolate at the end of October.) Last night, I was unable to get more than five hours of sleep due to my schedule. I did my best to get what I could, ate healthy, and was still dragging this morning. I gave everything I had to my students, but it wasn't as effortless as normal. I had to keep reminding myself that this was their time. They had made the effort to be here and I could not let myself check out while teaching. For some, this might be their escape.
My point is, change starts within. If you're not your best self, you can't be the best friend/family member/partner/world changer that you want to be. Start inside. Start taking care of you. Go outward from there.
Taking care of yourself may mean that you skip that second workout and take a nap before rehearsal (me) without beating yourself up over it. It may mean that you take a look at the time and how you're honestly feeling before pouring that glass of wine when you have work the next day. It may mean finding someone to talk with about your feelings in person. Reach out, get coffee. It's so easy to blast things out electronically but it's not as cathartic, fulfilling or nourishing. Maybe taking a break from reading Facebook is taking care of yourself. You don't have to make a big announcement or deactivate your account, just delete the app from your phone for a while or just stop reading it. (It's really helped my mood today. I find I don't have the capacity right now to carry the emotions of everyone else in addition to my own.)
One final disclaimer; I'm not saying to ignore the world, ignore anyone's feelings or shut yourself away. I'm saying take care of yourself FIRST. Then once you feel balanced and able, you can decide how you are best able to help take care of outside things.
I've been personally feeling very drained and uninspired for a little while now. It's frustrating and there are so many ways I'd like to attack it. But I need to get through this period first. I need to get to a place where I'm getting sleep again and every day isn't a relay race. I'll get there. I'll be back. I just need to do some maintenance. You'll be back too. Just take care of yourself, please.