Sometimes Self-Care takes a whole year…
Admittedly I needed a whole year to get my life in order. I needed all of 2019 to prepare for getting married. I needed a consistent 12 months of therapy to get thru pain and guilt from experiences I had the year before. I needed to get my finances in order and pay off some debt. It was a long one, but I deserved that year – an entire year of grace and forgiveness towards myself.
Progress, growth, learning from lessons, forgiveness; that requires real patience with yourself. I am grateful for that time and proud of my progress. And believe me when I tell you that if I did not take that year seriously, I would NOT have been prepared to handle this mess of a societal pandemic and the rampage of violence that is happening to my Black and Brown communities.
But through it all, as I am working through this trauma and disappointment, I am still learning how to be patient with myself. I compare this in progress self-aware journey to that mile I jogged the other day by the riverfront. It was tough. I procrastinated on leaving the house first. I got dressed then I did the dishes instead of getting in the car. Finally after I had no more excuses left, I drove to the trail. When I parked, I turned my Google Fit on. I needed to see my progress. I hoped outta the car and hit the pavement.
100 steps in I realized that I forgot to stretch, so I paused. I found a wall to lean forward on and stretched my calves. Because sometimes you forget to prepare and take off before you’re actually ready. And when it gets hard, you might need a wall, a shoulder or a break to lean on. Just remember to lean forward because you’re not finished here.
I got back to work.
I jogged for a little longer. Checked my distance to see that I didn’t reach a mile yet. I only ran 0.88 miles. Had to reach that mile – NO MATTER WHAT. That was the goal. I was tired – still. I kept going. It didn’t matter what the time was, just the distance. The progress. I had to remember that I was here for me. The sun was getting higher now. I kept it moving. I ran for a hundred feet, then I walked a few feet more. I did this a few times until I reached that mile. I was finally there and proud of my progress.
This is how we have to be with our own lives. We have to keep it moving. But realize that pauses are progress too. I don’t feel guilty anymore for the breaks because they helped me recharge. I could stretch out my mental and emotional muscles to make room for even more self-care. Progress is self-care too. And even though I didn’t send out a newsletter for at least a year (March 2019 was the last one), I was making progress. I don’t feel guilty for the pauses.
I want to remind you to let go of your guilt too. Accept that breaks happen and welcome back in the forgiveness in your life so you can get back to the goals you had in the beginning of the year or end of 2019. You still have what it takes to hit the ground running. Take a few gratitude breaths to celebrate your progress. It’s a great time to chill on the negative self-talk. But still hold yourself accountable for your own self-care journey and growth. Only YOU are responsible for that. Remember that it is not about how much time it takes to reach your goal(s). Just be sure to stretch real good and keep it movin.’
Self-Preservation is the Mission. Recharge yourself so that you are ready to get back to the purpose work you were called to do.