The gentle art of self care

I need to do this post as much for myself as for this blog. The last two posts have served as a nice run-up to this one. Two weeks ago Dashifen mentioned Pantheacon, which I have been attending sine 2007. This year there was no major controversy or dust-up. For that alone I feel thankful, because even though I was outside of the direct happenings, I took notice and it could be very draining. Last week’s post spoke of the need for boundaries. Something which would have been very helpful for me to continue to reinforce during those discussions. And finally, Thorn Coyle posted this article last week, and as soon as I saw activism fatigue I knew what I had to talk about here.

My usual MO for Pantheacon is this: The Wednesday before the con I fly out to California. This gives me a chance to spend some focused time with some chosen family out there. Thursday night I check in to the hotel. I do the con, enjoy it, then spend the following week in San Francisco. I have a slew of friends in the area and this tends to be my one chance a year to see them in person. The fun continues until that Saturday night, when I take an overnight flight back to the east coast. Inevitably I return home happy but bone tired. And then I hit the ground running back into my regular life because I have to go to work the next day.

For a few years there was no question of doing this and keeping up a frenetic pace. I was in grad school part time in addition to full time employment. I had deadlines and commitments. Any extra time to reground and regroup was a luxury. This year and last that was not a factor, but I am now dealing with some mild chronic health issues which limit my energy. But I still have not learned the lesson to take care of myself as well as I should, and as well as I advocate for others to do.

Last week I went back to work and had something scheduled every night of the week. On some level it’s great since it meant time with friends and time to work on belly dance. Over the weekend I had plans to attend a job fair at my undergrad alma mater and go to a friend’s birthday party. Saturday, the day of the party, I did my morning run around, got my hair cut, came home, then sat in a chair and played a little game on my phone. For two hours.

I crashed. Since I felt the job fair was as important to me as to the students who would be there, I canceled on the party so I would have the energy for the drive and networking. And I made the “executive decision” that this coming weekend would be more introversion and getting back on track… interspersed with some necessary tasks. That’s the trade-off when one does not have the money to hire a personal assistant.

So how am I taking care of myself right now?

1. Getting enough sleep. This is the toughest one for me. Not only do I have some trouble with falling asleep, but I have determined that my ideal wake up time is an hour or two later than the time I need to rise during the week to get to work. Yes I could wake up later, but I also like to take my time in the morning so I can get in devotional work. Plus going to work later would mean coming home later and potentially going to bed later. Not exactly an option I would like to use at this stage.

2. Eating well. This is a given. I am also indulging with some chocolate, most of it fair trade though. My latest discovery is a brand called Nibmor (and they do not give me anything to say that) which makes an incredible hot chocolate blend.

3. Taking care of myself mentally and emotionally. This means I am not beating up on myself for not getting certain things done (like having a blog colum up on time, ahem). Keep in mind confession 13 of the 42 Negative Confessions/Purifications. Chowing down on your own heart won’t do you any good in taking care of yourself.

4. Prioritize. The only reason why I am able to do anything right now. What’s most important for the day?

5. Spiritual touchstones. This is a Pagan blog after all. Spend time in your shrine, say prayers outside, light candles, do a spiritual cleansing.

6. Say no when you have to and do not feel bad about it. If you don’t have enough for yourself, you don’t have enough to offer others.

Take care of yourselves, and if you are in the latest snow path, stay warm and dry!

About Soli

Mystic, traditional foodie, librarian.
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