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I am an introvert in an extroverted field. Sometimes, instead of networking, I find a quiet hallway where I can do half sun salutations to stretch out my anxiety. During long meetings, I use a trip to the restroom to practice pranayama breathing and recite mantras in the quiet of the stall. While my coworkers may think I’m typing on my phone to fire off a quick email, sometimes I’m doing a free write on a Google.Doc to process a strong emotion. A great self-care plan can certainly take as long as a nature hike, but that plan is useless if we can’t hike until the weekend and we need to decompress right now.
A lot of people see self-care as something that takes extra work to access, like traveling across town for that yoga class, or saving up money for that trip to the spa. On the contrary, the most successful plans are the ones that allow us to take care of ourselves regardless of where we are, what time it is, and what resources we have at our disposal. When I talk to artists about self-care, I encourage them to brainstorm simple things that they can do in 2 minutes, 10 minutes, and 30 minutes. It’s no secret that self-care is hard on our busy days; but, if we have a few 2-minute and 10-minute plans in our pocket, it’s much easier to find the time.
Before you start brainstorming, ask yourself this: when I’m craving self-care, what are the needs that aren’t being met? All of your self-care plans have to directly address at least one or two of these needs in order to be worthwhile. For example, as an introvert I know that when I’m craving self-care it’s because I need one or more of the following things: quiet, rejuvenation, a chance to release tension, time to process, or privacy.
The beauty of self-care is that it helps us reset and regulate our internal rhythms, which leads to a healthier and more balanced life. When our self-care strategies include physical movement, it’s not just about releasing muscle tension – we’re regulating our heart rate and our breath, and we’re helping our glands and hormones out, too. When we tend to our mental and emotional needs, we’re literally shifting our brain state so that we can better access our higher order thinking skills. Finally, if we devote time and energy to our communal or spiritual needs, that connection to others or with energies larger than ourselves helps to combat feelings of isolation. With great benefits like these, it’s a crime not to find the time!
Be sure to keep all of this in mind as you brainstorm. When you jot down an idea, remember to think about what resources it requires; that will tell you how hard or easy it’ll be to put that plan in action at certain times or in certain spaces. Here’s an example, using a few of my own self-care plans:
- Half Sun Salutations: requires enough space to spread out my arms and fold forward.
- Reciting My Heart Mantra: requires that I close my eyes; ideally in private.
- Journaling to My Guides: requires pen and paper; oracle cards if accessible.
- Musical Interlude: requires my phone or iPod; privacy if singing along.
- Guided Meditation: requires my phone and wifi for streaming.
- Swimming Laps: requires traveling to the gym and my gym bag.
I try to give myself a lot of options that don’t require anything besides me and what’s in my purse on a daily basis. I’ve meditated on buses, I’ve done yoga stretches in roomy bathroom stalls, and I’ve scribbled to my spirit guides on coffee shop napkins. More importantly, the 2-10-30 method shattered my unhealthy belief that there isn’t enough room in my day for a reset. I’m committed to looking self-care from a new point of view. How about you?
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