16.2.2017 | 18:58
Slowing Down Is Self-Care
Spending time with my beloved 97-year old mom has helped me slow way down for the past two weeks. She often has the television on, and she spends much time in her easy chair. She is mobile and cares for her personal needs, so I am not in a full caregiving mode, just taking care of the house and being a companion for her for a little while.
One of my goals is to assist her but to leave a small footprint here, to fit into her lifestyle with minimal intrusion. So I have let go most of my usual activities. Shopping, cooking and chores are minimal. I have few social obligations here. I am grateful to be taking care of myself this way even while assisting Mom.
Nurturing the Luxury of Time
Having time simply to be is a great luxury today.
There was a time when I barely slowed down to sleep for a few hours. Where are you in relationship with time? How do you interact with time? What helps you to slow down and simply be?
Six Ways to Slow Down and Just Be:
If you long for a break from your hectic routine, one way to nurture yourself is to slow down, at least for a short period of time. Here are six simple ways to get yourself into the slow lane for a little while. Self-care is so rewarding when your personal life and environment seem stressful or chaotic and confusing!
- Focus on your breath. Pay attention to breathing in and breathing out. You need not change your breathing pattern. Simply observe it. Be with your breath for a couple of minutes.
- At your desk, close your eyes, and without pressing on your eyeball, cup one hand over each eye . Lean forward with your elbows on the desk and relax for two or three minutes. You might want to “breathe into” your eyes to help yourself relax.
If you normally drive or take public transport, walk somewhere outside your normal route. Savor the silence of a country road, the swish of tires in a suburb, or the rumble of engines on a city street. Talk to the cat in a stranger’s yard. Notice the sparrows and beetles, the taxis and delivery trucks. Notice the smell of garbage, of oil on the street or chemicals in the air, the coffee in a sidewalk cafe. Be alive to what is present on your walk.
- Take a time out. Declare an hour for yourself. Nap. Meditate. Color. Knit. Paint. Sand a piece of wood. Stare out the window at a yellow brick wall, bare cottonwood branch, or cloud-dotted sky. Set aside anything digital and rest or gently entertain yourself with a physically monotonous activity.
- Hang out with a trusted friend with no particular agenda. Talk or be silent. Sit on a park bench or a beach. Be aware of the mutual support as well as your surroundings. Find a rhythm of shared space. Notice if your steps match as you walk, or your conversation flows easily, naturally. If you are lucky enough to have an accepting friend, this can be very nurturing.
- Become a neutral loving observer. If your mind won’t leave you alone, use it to help you slow down! Mentally observe or talk to yourself about whatever is going on in your inner and outer worlds. Neutrally look at what is happening. Bring an intention of loving to your observation. Try to not judge, positively or negatively. Simply observe. I notice that I am typing. I notice a sore spot below my left shoulder blade. (More about this in my book, Nurture Yourself First: Gentle Steps in Personal and Planetary Transformation.)
Assignment: List more ways you could nurture yourself by slowing down, or changing your relationship with time. Pick one of your strategies and use it to care for yourself as needed.