If you read my last post, you know that the week of Valentine’s Day I facilitated a 7-day Self-Care Challenge on Facebook. Each day, participants were challenged to do a particular self-care activity, or one of their choosing that aligned with the day’s theme. We finished on Saturday, February 18th.
As a teacher / guide and eternal student, I straddle two worlds: the world where sometimes clients think I do everything perfectly, and the world of reality–which is one where I struggle with some of the same things my clients do. So I decided that I would not just be a facilitator: I’d also be a participant!
Here’s just one thing I learned from my participation in the supportive group we had this year:
The best self-care is not just small…
I often tell clients that their self-care activity can be very small so that it’s practical, do-able, and can fit into a potentially busy day. And since I’m planner by practice, I had plans for what I thought was a small self-care activity on the day we connected with nature.
I planned to take a brief walk at a park on the way home from teaching one of my afternoon classes. But I was so hungry that I went straight home instead.
After lunch–while I was posting an article about plants–I ended up really looking at the aloe plant a dear friend gave me for Christmas. I observed how it has changed and grown in the few months I’ve had it. And because it’s on my desk within eye view, I realized it’s available to me to look at as a break from my computer screen every day.
Creative self-care requires mindfulness!
Because I was thinking about the day’s challenge all day, reading and commenting on participants’ creative posts, I became more mindful of all the little ways I could connect with nature throughout my day. Here was one of my favorite posts from someone who lives in a part of the country where going for a walk in February isn’t quite practical:
“It is a beautiful day, but the wind is brutal. I was going to go for a walk, but I’ll be honest… I didn’t make it far. I’m now back home watching the squirrels chase each other around the trees, which is actually really relaxing.” (Renee M., MN, also photo)
Later, I planned to spend some time gazing at the moon in meditation after my evening class. But alas, the moon wasn’t visible through the clouds in my planned moon-gazing spot. Arrgh, both my plans had been foiled! However, just as I pulled into my driveway, I was taken aback by a very bright Venus through some parting clouds; I paused to take it in. To be curious about what I was seeing To notice how it made me feel. However brief, this experience turned out to be an extremely peaceful and expansive moment at the end of my very busy day.
So thank you participants, and to nature, for not cooperating with my plans! You’ve taught me to redefine self-care as:
a small, spontaneous moment of self-attention that arises from mindfulness and creates a positive feeling within oneself.
What do you think of this definition?
Future Self-Care Challenges
I hope to run this self-care challenge again next year–as much for me to practice and learn as for my clients! Here are what some folks said about participating:
- “Thank you so much for a great week! I have enjoyed the sharing and exchanging of information.“
- “I did it all! I enjoyed the experience and I learned a lot, thank you! “
- “Thank you so much for the week of wonders.“
- ” I did it all…with varying degrees of success. Thanks for all the great resources!“
- “I wanted to do it all but got sideswiped by illness in the middle. But I’ve learned some great things, and will keep trying to incorporate them into my days.“
- “I was able to do 7 out of 7!!!! Thank you so much for hosting The Self-Care Challenge. It was super fun sharing my results as well as reading everyone else’s!!“
- “It was a good challenge. I needed those reminders. Good to remember it’s a practice!“
- “…it does feel good to focus on myself.“
- “Best wishes to everyone who participated in this challenge. And thank you, especially, Kali, for guiding us through the challenge.”
- “When I first read today’s challenge I thought “Now how am I going to fit that in…” as today was a very full day. But as the day went by and I read all of my Self-Care friends’ post I became inspired!” (Photo courtesy Denisse M.)
- “Pooh, I didn’t get yesterday’s challenge done. Busyness happened and I forgot to take care of myself that way. Oh, well. Today is a new day!”
- “Nope, didn’t empty my water bottle like I should have. Why is it so hard to remember, I don’t forget to eat!”
- “I wish I invited more people to this challenge. You have to do this again so others can benefit!!!!!”
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