The Most Important Truth about Self-Care
I’ve been working for the past month and a half for an Italian non-governamental organization which provides relief to Syrian refugees by organizing educational programs for children and awareness sessions on diverse topics and for their families displaced in Jordan since the Syrian war broke out.
It has been a very intense experience, full of commitments and travel.
I tend to travel 3-4 times on 5 working days per week to a governorate, located in the North of the country. This time has been literally a ‘’probation period’’ both work-wise and in my personal life. I’m now testing my body-mind resistance at high-pressure levels after a lot of time of living a comfortable and easy-going life .
What I myself confirmed during this hardship time is that I NEED to stay grounded to feel safe and strong.
However, all this “mindfullness’’ is so hard for me to practice when I am in a rush and completely involved in a commitment for someone else.
At first, I didn’t manage to stick to my workout routine (that includes a yoga practice 5/7 days per week and 2/3 cardio workouts per week at the gym). Probably even worse, I didn’t manage to eat dinner, drink enough water, or get enough sleep. I wasn’t at my usual capacity, and I couldn’t even communicate with people without drinking a large Turkish coffee (the equivalent of a triple espresso!) first thing in the morning.
What naturally happened is that I started to feel fatigue during my downtime because I was releasing all the psycho-social pressure I stored up while I was working.
Today it took me few seconds of slow breathing at my working desk to realize that many times I don’t practice what I preach. I firmly believe that it’s important to take care of my body no matters what my circumstances are, but my actions lately haven’t been showing that.
I finally realized I couldn’t do it all.
I finally realized that I can compromise outside in my relationships with family and friends, at work, but I can’t negotiate the time that my body needs to recover after a hard day.
It reminds me of running. We have to divide our daily life into different intervals, each one to be run at a different pace and for a different purpose. Before running, we have to warm up and prepare ourselves to give our best when it’s time to sprint. If necessary, we also have all the right to take as many rest intervals as we deserve. And we can’t have to forget the recovery time’ at the end of our fast-paced lives.
For me, recovery time is family time, a glass of wine, half an hour of jogging, a prolonged savasana, a good night’s sleep, a whole day off. You don’t have to question the importance of the activities that nurture your body and comfort your mind even if they ask from you extra time to dedicate. Once a friend of mine told me:
If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have anything to give.
And it’s true! If I make myself happy by spending time doing something I love, I can make someone else happy.
If I look after myself, I will be more capable to look after my loved ones.
If I nourish myself, I will become stronger and be more able to perform my duties and responsibilities to others. The time we spend to take care of ourselves by gently stretching some lethargic muscles or taking a hot shower is all time we gain back to rebuild a new self ready to live stronger, better. And I swear there no such truth more valuable than this.
What about you, yogis? Which are your favorite habits that keep you healthy and restored? Share in the comments below!