I'm going to be honest, I'm not a natural at self-care. Oh sure, I'm pretty good about meditating, doing yoga regularly, and eating relatively healthfully; but all of those things I can easily justify as "business-care". I can't be a good teacher if I don't maintain my own practice. It's only recently that I've noticed how essential self-care is within my practice, as both a person and a business-owner.
As you'd probably expect, I'm a pretty bendy person. This has always been the case. But this flexibility comes with a dark side, as I easily injure my ligaments and tendons, and have a recurring thing where my knee cap pops over to one side. Once, a doctor even cautioned me to wear orthotics to prevent the collapse of the arches of
my feet. Old, arthritic injuries to my foot and toe compound this problem. My natural alignment is a little wonky. I don't pity myself for these problems, first, because I know we all struggle with our own challenges. And second, because these challenges directly led me to my yoga practice.
Despite my attitude and consistent practice, certain imbalances and misalignments are so deep-seated, I still experience pain and injury. After throwing out my back last year and spraining both my ankles this fall, I decided it was time to put my care in someone else's hands. I can't tell you how relieving it felt to share the responsibility I have for my health with someone else. It truly was like a weight being lifted. Now I make self-care appointments in my schedule. This could be getting chiropractic, massage therapy, or acupuncture; taking a long bath, writing in my journal, or even pausing for a few minutes before I leave the house to give my cat a chin rub.
It can be hard to get started on a self-care routine (especially when we already feel overwhelmed.) So here's a self-care checklist that you can refer to as you schedule your week. I use this list to make sure I book time to recharge every day, before I add in my weekly commitments and responsibilities. An added benefit of actually scheduling time for yourself is that it's easier to give a "no" or "not yet" to requests that may push you over the edge into depletion.
✓ I scheduled enough time to sleep, exercise, and eat well this week.
✓ I have enough time between commitments, so I don't have to rush.
✓ I blocked out two hours to do something nice for myself this week.
✓ I have at least one plan to connect (in person, over the phone, etc.) with a person (or animal) who loves me and whom I love.
✓ I have a clear and realistic list of to-dos. When I'm done with my to-dos, it's time to relax! If I don't finish everything, there's always another day.
This time of year can be so draining. It's easy for the self-care give-and-take, to become just give, give, give. That's why we are thrilled to bring you a special self-care night this Valentine's Day. I'll be leading a gentle yoga class, followed by chiropractic adjustments by Taylor Clifford, D.C. and finally, a guided relaxation. We'll also have special deals for participants, so you can keep your self-care routine going. You'll leave class relaxed and balanced. Give yourself a self-care Valentine this year!
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Erin Haddock is the director of Five Keys Yoga, LLC.