It came up a lot during my recent Comforting Touch for Doulas trainings, the topic of self-care.
I have A LOT to say on this topic evidenced by my 4 part video series, the Sustainable Doula's Guide to Self-Care. Doulas, definitely check it out. I highly recommend it!
But I also want to come at this self-care thing from another angle, and that's turning it into a communal challenge. Because self-care deserves that kind of attention.
And I'm not talking about pedicures and trips to the spa. I mean, this Brianna West quote above is so spot on!
True self-care is making decisions EVERY day that make us feel good, healthy, rested, balanced, supported, connected...
True self-care is saying no to the things we only say yes to out of a sense of scarcity or a need to be liked.
True self-care is letting the emails wait to be answered until we're sitting down, feeling calm and available, not frenzied while waiting on line out of mindless habit and a false sense of urgency.
These are the simple everyday choices I'm trying to make differently so I don't need to escape. So I don't feel like I need another life!
I'm not claiming perfection here, but progress is being made.
As a doula, I used to leave births completely dehydrated from not drinking. Now I have to pee every 30 minutes from how much I drink!
At births, I used to eat through the night to energize myself until I learned that our bodies can't digest well during the hours we usually sleep, so now I'm intentional about eating something before 11 if I'm going to be up all night with a client so I can be well nourished until the morning.
Recently at a birth, it struck me how crazy it was how badly I felt about needing to lie down for 20 minutes after being up all night with a client. I did it, but it wasn't easy.
This is what made me think about sharing this with you. Because sometimes, amazingly, it really does feel like a challenge, just to do the things that make us feel sane!
For me, that's the current challenge I'm on. At births, to take time out and rest when I feel weary. In my daily life, I'm intentionally building space in my days between clients for rest and saying no more often to late night clients. Because this current fertility medication I'm on can make me feel incredibly tired and that's the self-care I need!
This is the true self-care. The choices that make it possible to continue showing up for our lives, our clients, our families, and ourselves.
What's the true self-care you need in your life right now?
Doulas, what's the self-care that's been missing for you during, after births that you know must change before you need to escape?
My non-doula friends, what is the self-care you need that goes beyond baths and chocolate, and even beyond massages?
Let's do this together! Share your personal self-care challenge in the comments so we can see and support each other.
As an extra incentive, everyone who plays will be entered to win some self-care with yours truly. The prize is a free massage or acupuncture session if you're local to NYC, or a video conference havening session if you're from out of town.
All you need to do to enter is share your personal self-care challenge in the comments. And check back in within the month to tell us how it went!
I will draw a winner at the end of July.
Here's to making this the summer that self-care built. Let the self-care games begin!!!