This past summer was a uniquely challenging season of my life. So much so that I have had difficulty even knowing how to write about it. I am not quite there yet . . . probably because I am not quite out of the season. It’s much easier to talk about difficult seasons in retrospect. Laying it out in the moment is sometimes too painful, too vulnerable.
I am still in the midst of a hard time, which for me includes dealing with anxiety, depression, and occasional panic attacks. Oh, and insomnia. The gift that keeps on giving. Photo Oct 06, 10 37 04 AM As I have talked to my friends about what I am going through, inevitably I am told to “take care of myself.” And it’s good advice. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there are certain habits and practices that make me feel better. That pulled me out of a funk. That’s keep my brain from spinning and spiraling into panic. I think self-care is unique to each person, but for me, taking a walk to the beach always hits my reset button. It is absolutely impossible for me to maintain anxiety when I am walking up to the edge of the ocean. It always calms me and centers me. Every time. I know that if I take a walk to the beach in the morning, it sets the tone for the entire day. It’s not just a momentary pleasure… It puts me in a quantifiably different place. I am more at ease. My brain does not as easily go towards catastrophe and fear. I feel the presence of God when I am out in nature, and I am reminded that there is beauty in the world, and that regardless of circumstances, I can find peace. Photo Oct 06, 10 36 28 AM So if a simple, one hour walk in the morning can change my mindset this much . . . can change my outlook and the trajectory of my day and such a dramatic way, why don’t I walk every day? Why in the world wouldn’t this be something that is at the top of my to-do list? Why wouldn’t I make it my number one priority? That is the paradox of self-care. And I know I am not alone. I’ve talked to so many other people who struggle with putting into practice the things they know that are good for their soul. Eating better, hanging out with a friend, exercising… why are any of these things difficult to do? Photo Oct 06, 10 36 35 AM I watch to the beach this morning. It was the first time I have done so in about three months. And I am confident that this hour spent will make me a better mother, a better wife, a better writer, and a better person for the remainder of the day. It’s a practice I want to do every day, because I am better for it. Do you struggle with self-care? What hits your reset button? And is that something you struggle to put into practice?