This is a tricky decision to make, because I'm just coming out of a funk and still really struggling to do the daily self-care that my body needs. But that's just what I want to do - the doing part of these years of learning.
I expect that my therapist won't be keen on the idea. Maybe the naturopath won't be either. I believe that they see their work, together, as support for me to do the doing and since I haven't been consistently doing it maybe that looks like I need more support.
But it doesn't feel like support, these days. It feels distracting and disrupting. It feels like one more thing I have to do for someone else - keep an appointment. It feels inconvenient and, due to a billing error, suddenly expensive. A break, a pause, looks so freeing and open.
So what do I want to do with this pause that will make it worth the risk of declining my practitioner's support? How will I make this work for me? I'm drafting a routine for myself to include the daily practices necessary to heal my body and sustain my emotions and mind. Here's some of what that entails:
- early to rise - My alarm goes off at 5:30. Usually I snooze for up to another hour, then rush wake my son, get him to shower and dress, before I start on what I need to do for the day. So from the minute I rise, I'm already taking second place. Actually getting up at 5:30 would mean time to for morning pages or journaling, a mindfulness exercise, then shower and dress myself.
- eat real food - On Sunday evening, I prepare a week's worth of healthy breakfasts and lunches for myself. On a good week, I eat what I pack. On a bad week... I eat out. A lot. This is bad for my health because I typically reach for carbs and fat. (It's also hard on my budget, another area of my life that needs tough love.) Eating real food means choosing recipes that are healing my body (low sugar, low carb, lean protein, healthy fats) and then actually eating them. I'm revisiting the Leptin Lists that were prescribed to me when I first discovered the naturopath several years ago. And returning to the crisp fresh produce snacks presented by the nutritionist.
- hydration - It's been a pleasant surprise to learn how much consistent hydration improves my mood and mental clarity. When I drink lots of water, like 48 - 72 ounces, I can tolerate stress, think, get stuff done, and let my moods roll through rather than stick around all day or longer. Plenty of water actually makes me a better human being.
- mindful pauses - Some days, adulting is too darn hard for me. I get depressed or overtired and being alive weighs down so heavy that my body aches and my mind spins. On those days, especially, I need to stop, take a walk, or close my eyes in the Wellness Room for ten minutes. But even on the easier days, a pause refreshes me, slides my responsibilities back into perspective, and connects me to the me-part of my life rather than just the tasks of the day.
- sweat! - Moving my body burns calories, sheds pounds, and entertains the heck out of me. I'm more resilient in all ways when I'm working out most days of the week. Changing into my gym clothes is the hardest part but once I'm moving, I feel really good.
Tangled up in all this striving for good health and self care is something about my beliefs about myself and my life. Am I worth taking good care of? Do I want to be alive and for a long time? Is my life worth living and my work worth doing? Depression says, No. And again, no. Over and over until I'm too tired to resist and I yield to believing that the answer is always no.
It requires a vivid imagination and a good sense of humor to say, Yes.
The world is a big and chaotic place and I am small and, yes, meaningful, in the midst of it. My work as a secretary and as a mother is repetitive and mundane, and yes, it's worth doing well. My body is temporary, already bearing the toll of the years and, yes, it warrants persistent care and tending. Yes, because my tiny life touches other tiny lives and we matter to each other. Yes, because good is worth doing and being for each other. Yes, for laughter. Yes, for beauty. Yes, for comfort, sanctuary, and justice. Yes, for remembering important things and returning to them with the passion of awakening for the first time. Yes, because connection is real. Yes, because where there's a breath there's a hope. Yes, because I am here, now.
I don't and probably won't always remember to say, Yes. My imagination falters and my humor is pretty dark. But deep in my gut, where intuition and faith reside, yes simmers and bubbles up to my memory. I make a fresh list, again, of how I choose to live. I start to practice, again, the routine that heals me. And I look for the reminders of yes.
Those reminders, for me, right now, aren't revealing themselves in my therapy appointments. That might be the biggest reason to take a pause from sessions. And seek new places and people who say yes.