We’re on week 5 of the Next Chapter book club and Gail McMeekin’s fifth secret in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is committing to self-focus.
Fridays are my self-care days. I don’t have any meetings. I don’t do any phone calls. I have time just for me.
There was a Friday a few weeks ago, when I broke my promise to myself – big time! My calendar kept getting shuffled around, the rest of the week was pretty packed, so I ended up scheduling back-to-back meetings from 9:30am-5pm. I rationalized to myself that this was okay. In fact, the first thing I had put on my calendar a couple months before was a meeting with a professional organizer, Claire Tompkins. Having focused time to clear the clutter in my office was definitely my idea of a self-care act.
What didn’t help was that I started to fill in every nook and cranny before and after that meeting. A call to plan an event for a community that I really love. A visit from a dear friend. And then a marathon trip to the bookkeeper. Granted, all the things (besides the bookkeeper, of course), were things that I enjoy and are important to me. However, I became so oblivious to my self-care day that I even neglected to build in time for me to eat! Oops.
Later on when Claire checked-in with me for feedback on the organizing session, she also mentioned that I didn’t seem like my normal, positive self. What she was picking up on, but I didn’t acknowledge until later was that part of me was resentful that I didn’t protect my self-care day. Instead of basking in the rested, inspired and spacious feeling of a normal Friday, I was overwhelmed, rushed and stressed (oh yeah, and very hungry!).
Having time alone is crucial for my mental health and my creative process. I’m usually pretty good about carving out those boundaries. When I was younger, I remember my mom telling me it was okay to say no to things if I needed to take care of me or something that was important to me. I appreciate that she did that.
Today on my self-care day I slept in, I’m going to the bookstore later on and I might even allow myself to read some fiction ;)!
How do you commit to self-focus? What things do you do to practice self-care?