Secret #5: Committing to Self-Focus

by jenn on February 6, 2009

in 12 Secrets,Blogging,Books,Breathing Space,Creativity,Self-Care Friday

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?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Gypsy February 6, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Your post is something I truly needed to read! Thank you SO much. This is an area in which I truly have to MAKE time for and incorporate into my everyday~

Karley February 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. You are very right about time to ourselves being a necessity! I look forward to reading your post next week as well.

Lissa February 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

An entire self-care day? Every week? That is absolutely fantastic!

peppylady February 6, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Oh so much here to learn form.
Finding time for one self isn’t all that hard but the quilt of it or letting others make you feel quilty.

Coffee is on.

Ananda Leeke February 6, 2009 at 7:40 pm

hi jenn. i love that your mom told you it was okay to say no to people and things when you need to take care of yourself.

Claire Tompkins February 7, 2009 at 1:36 am

Jen,
I think you’ve got to be a little selfish to do self care justice. Selfish in a good way; paying attention to self. You know, that whole put your own oxygen mask on first kind of thing. We have to remind ourselves that it’s okay to do it.
When I need to, I just hide out. I fall back into my own little world and relish the notion that I don’t have to step back out until I want to!

D February 7, 2009 at 5:12 am

I too get grumpy if I don’t have time to make something and/or exercise. Those are my two needs when it comes to self care.

And, aren’t Moms so wise.

Blisschick February 7, 2009 at 9:24 am

What a very cool (and well balanced!) mother you had. 🙂

I know I am big time neglecting any sort of self-care when I start telling my partner I need a vacation, I need to “go away.” I HATE traveling so this is a HUGE clue.

But then I think about how I spend the majority of my time doing the things that bring me fulfillment, things I love, but I know that we need breaks even from that. My confusion comes here: if we are doing what we love, what do we do to relax!? I’m still trying to figure that out…

rowena February 7, 2009 at 9:59 am

I have been trying to do nothing. For a few minutes, at least. It’s really, really hard to not pack my day as full as it can, double, triple, quadruple tasking. I have so little time to myself, that I am always trying to do at least two things at once.

Sometimes if one of those things is purposefully mindless, and purposefully not meant to further my career and fuel my creativity it is a little recharge. Like reading a magazine while my kids play in the garden.

That’s about as good as I’ve gotten in the self care department. Working on it.

Kara aka Mother Henna February 7, 2009 at 4:59 pm

This is why I call all of my life a practice 🙂 Some days, like the one you describe here, I just forget and totally end up stomping and hungry and thinking, “ooooooh i hate everything!” 🙂 I’ve begun saying outloud to myself — when I catch what is finally going on — “Kara, Course Correct!” Sometimes if I can’t say it outloud for whatever reason, I’ll write it down to myself. It’s a good cue to start coming back to center… So glad you got your self care day back this week!! Think I’ll head off to the bookstore today myself!
miracles,
k-

megg February 8, 2009 at 5:04 am

Hmmm… I don’t – not properly. I tend to feel things and see things so intensely sometimes that I go into numb periods of tv watching and chocolate eating to not feel anything. I TELL myself it is self care, but I know it isn’t. One day a week sounds like bliss – I am glad that you didn’t follow your own rules that once – it reminded you of how important it is!!

xo

Rebecca February 8, 2009 at 6:21 am

I hadn’t thought about this much recently until I was tagged to identify five things I did to keep myself mentally healthy and my life in balance. Here are the five I came up with: http://differenceayearmakes.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/tagged/

It was an enlightening experince.

carin.c February 8, 2009 at 8:04 am

My self care days are typically Sunday and I usually get some sort of art done. But last Sunday I spent the entire day catching up on bills and paperwork that I had been ignoring and this very Sunday morning here I sit reading and commenting on everyone’s blogs. And although I enjoy that, you just reminded me that if I don’t go use the rest of my time to tak care of “myself” I am going to resent missing it 2 weeks in a row… so now I am getting OFF the computer! Thank you!

Amy Crawley February 8, 2009 at 11:25 am

Hi Jenn,

I, too, have tried to designate Fridays as my day to things other than create; or to create what I want versus filling orders. I think scheduling self-care time is very important. But it is also important to accept that sometimes life happens and we have to deal with schedule changes. That has happened to me this past week as we deal with a family health issue. In this situation I’m trying to be present and accept what is and let the days flow from there.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

-Amy

Kathy Crabbe - Soul Reader February 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Hey Jen, Sounds like you had a pretty wise mom!

In answer to your questions, “How do you commit to self-focus? What things do you do to practice self-care?”

I let myself sleep in and read and write in bed, sometimes til early afternoon, every day! It’s my favorite place to dream, be creative and loll about 🙂

Flug USA May 11, 2009 at 9:03 am

hi
Thank you for sharing that with us.
A self care day is exactly what I need. About the question what things I do to practice self-care, unfortunately I don’ practice self-care.
I can describe my weekend as a process of reloading energy for the next week.
I just have rest at home, don’t go out in order not to get tired as every day.
Which means I don’t practice things I like such as shopping or going out to restaurant with friends. In fact I have 2 jobs and I ‘m always trying to save money to afford holiday 2 times a year.
keep up blogging

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