#TheStruggle for Self-Care Is Real

Today I begin day five of Headspace. It was advertised to me on Facebook a few months ago, and I immediately felt drawn to it because meditation is so difficult for me to practice on a consistent basis. Apps have been successful with me in some areas, such as running and weight management. My thought was that perhaps meditation would be successful as well.

So, I started now five days ago.

…and thus far, it is a freeing, enlightening ten minutes of time.

What has emerged thus far?

During my ten minutes I become sort of a “thought and body watcher.” I step back, notice my thoughts and my body, and let them be without judgment, as if I was watching people or noticing traffic on the street, or scenery. My guide — and English voice — has encouraged me to be mindful without any judgment.

Second, I’ve noticed body tension, especially in the back and neck. It’s not like I’ve never noticed the tension before, but it’s felt different, almost like I’m seeing the tension for the first time. Like it’s registering that stress might be a cause, and that self-care is involved. It’s like I’m giving myself an inward check-up.

Something else I notice is a satisfied feeling I have, especially toward the last couple of minutes, that I’m taking care of myself better. Even I it’s just for ten minutes. It’s knowing that I’m caring enough about myself to just sit and be with myself and my body for that long.

As a therapist, I talk a bit game about self-care, but the truth is that it is a daily battle. I fight prioritizing short-term payoffs over long-term payoffs. In moments, I throw a minor pity part for myself and tell myself that “stretching hurts,” or “I’m too tired,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow instead,” or I simply lay down with my kids so that they’ll fall asleep, and I wake up some time in the middle of the night.

Sometimes, It just doesn’t happen, but I’m working to make sure it does.

I’m building my setup for success bit by bit — using apps, ass-kicking friends, fellow travelers, and whatever means I can to get the right priorities lined up.

So, I continue practicing and refining the routine — make a plan, practice it, evaluate, repeat — until I get better, and better, and better.

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