Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reclaim Empty Space for Yourself

Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation."—Audrey Lorde

I'm preparing a retreat for March 27, and as always, the exercises that call out to me to offer are usually things that I am working on myself or are close to my heart.

It seems life is always too busy for us to take a moment for ourselves. A busy mom, with three kids, in my yoga class today was complaining of sore legs, and the instructor asked, do you ever get a chance to sit for 10 minutes in the day? No, she replied, quizzically, as if this was unheard of.

I well remember those days of small children and non-stop activity. Life with young adults who have their own lives and barely check in for meal times is quite different.  But I still make myself crazy busy some days, and forget to stretch when I'm on the computer, or resist getting out for a walk in the sunshine with my dog because of the 'list of things to do'.

Here are a few suggestions for reclaiming that empty space on the agenda and filling it with Me Time (for your sanity and health, adapted from Oprah magazine).

Do one thing at a time.Don’t make the bed while brushing your teeth, check your voice mail while eating lunch or half listen to the kids while glancing at the news.

Get lost in the flow....learn a new musical instrument, write in your journal, sketch in a notebook, swim laps in a pool.
Stolen moments: take those tiny nooks of time to walk to work, eat lunch outside on a bench, make dinner without answering the phone, breathe deeply and check in with your body every hour or so, gaze out the window and daydream; The practice of doing nothing feeds your need to replenish, which is just as important as the to-do list.

Be silly. Do one fun, spontaneous thing that makes you laugh – dance alone, blast a CD during morning commute, eat a lollipop in public. 

Take a half-hour walk with a friend and leave your cell phone at home. Focus on discovering something new in your surroundings you’ve never noticed.

Give yourself a day of doing nothing, to balance the days of doing too much. Rest, or engage in joyful activity - what will recharge you?
Attend a one-day retreat, Sunday, March 27, Spring Wellness Retreat, H-OM yoga studio in Hudson. $75. 10 am to 4 pm. Bring a lunch. Come recharge your batteries with creative journaling exercises and gentle yoga.


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