When did you last take a moment for yourself?
I have been participating in the yearly Mid-Atlantic Region music therapy conference, all online. I was able to attend "live" last weekend, and have been able to watch re-play of everything else since! It has been amazing, such a learning and growing experience. One theme I have noticed, and the topic by the keynote speaker: self-care.
I have learned so much. Especially during this crazy time we are living, all of this change and now figuring out a "new normal." In the beginning of this quarantine, I found myself with a huge life change, as I'm sure most of you did! I was suddenly working from home, a full time caretaker for a one year old without any babysitting help, taking care of our household, and supporting my husband as he continued his position as an essential worker. I know that we all have different stories, and each story is so different. For me, the change was NOT easy...learning how to balance everything in a new way...at least my house didn't have to be prepared for visitors haha! But, I did it! It took about three weeks to get into the groove. When everything finally came together and everyone else was taken care of, I realized I wasn't taking care of myself. I was giving EVERYTHING to everyone else, which is so easy.
So I told myself I would do one thing every day for ME. A small start, so easy. It became a priority. I drank a hot cup of coffee, I listened to my favorite song loudly in my headphones, I created new essential oil diffuser blend, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, I purposed to drink water. I meditated - something I have never done before, deep breathing, focus on my body for 5 minutes. (At least) one thing every day.
Self-care. So simple, yet so impactful. It only takes five minutes.
Ami Kunimura, who was the keynote speaker at the music therapy conference, helped us focus on 2 words: compassion and stress. So different, but directly related to each other.
Compassion can be considered a warm feeling of caring or concern; kindness, compassion, or love; to be "with". A level of self-care is showing yourself compassion...how do you show yourself compassion? It's so easy to get involved in daily life and stressors of life we forget to be compassionate to ourselves. A great way of doing that is to be present with yourself. Place one hand over your heart and feel your heartbeat. Incredible. Take three deep breaths, slowly, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Be with yourself. You are the most important person in your life - without you, your life wouldn't exist. Take that moment.
Stress. Not going to lie, typing the word stress stresses me out. But...is stress always bad? How can we approach stress with compassion? What is stress trying to tell you? What do you need right now? How can you be more kind, gentle, and patient with yourself during stressful times? Acknowledge your stress. Drop your shoulders down, shake out your body, take 6 deep breaths.
YOU are RESILIENT.
Resilience: The ability to bounce back, picking yourself up instead of beating yourself up, adapting to change or creating change, responding to stress with self-care.
So...how are you putting yourself first. Not only daily, but after a time of stress, how do you respond with self-care? I create this blog post after learning so much about focusing on myself. At the KEYS program, we are excitedly looking forward to 2 weeks of self-care. I will be with my family, sitting in front of a campfire, being outside in flip-flops, right next to water. This is my happy place, this is my ultimate self-care.
Take a moment for yourself today. Breathe. Drink a cup of hot coffee. Sit. Be. You are worth it.