Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

From frustration to acceptance

The experience of being me is challenging sometimes.

It’s challenging after spending a weekend reeling from sensory input and having to slow way down.

It’s experiencing intense overwhelm and heaviness after trying a healing technique — one that others are praising and saying how good they feel afterwards and how much it benefits them.  I try it, and it feels like so much. Too much?

It’s my thoughts that “other people aren’t experiencing this,” and “Why is this happening again?”

And perhaps many people are not, maybe not specifically sensory processing issues or other sensitivities, but, as my Aikido/Tai Chi instructor reminded me on Tuesday night, everyone has limitations of some sort that they have to honor, and also reach their “too much” point at times. He said that being at the edge often means learning, and going over can lead to burnout or injuries.

I sometimes really want things to be easier, simpler, more relaxing for me. Not to get exhausted, even from doing things that I want to do. Not finding it challenging to be in my body at times and stay anywhere close to grounded.

And then, there’s returning to acceptance. There’s softening towards myself. There’s having a vulnerable moment after Aikido that opens up a conversation and other people sharing vulnerabilities.

 I realize that often when I feel overloaded and scattered, I often interpret it as I’ve done something “wrong.” And maybe whatever I did was too much for my system at that particular moment, but it may not need that strong of a label. My nervous system is giving me a signal that I need to slow down, back off. That requires honoring myself, pausing, and resting. It does not require a label or a value judgment. Once in a more grounded place, I can have more perspective about that experience and think about what to consider in the future regarding that activity. Experimenting and finding that that activity was too much at that moment doesn’t require chastising myself for wanting to see what it would be like. It may be an opportunity to give myself space and to learn from that experience.

I have done so much work the past few years around creating a life that more fully honors my sensitivities and limitations. I have so much more respect for myself and what I need. I still have moments where I get frustrated, where I want to do more, be more, and where I want to push through.  I also have more moments of acceptance, of giving myself space to be how, where, and who I am. I’m taking this moment to honor and acknowledge all of this.


My daily “what I did” list

One of the biggest myths I have is that I’m not doing enough.

It’s also very untrue. While I don’t have a typical 9-to-5 work schedule, I keep myself busy. There are many things I’m working on and towards, and I’m rarely bored.

So, as part of my routine of unwinding and getting ready for bed, I’ve started doing a “what I did today” list. It helps me see what I’ve done and accomplished throughout the day. I also sometimes write notes to track my anxiety levels, sensory triggers, and moods so I can look back and see if there’s a pattern.

I suppose I could call this a form of a bullet journal (more information on bullet journals here ), which is like a combination of a planner and a journal/diary. Overall, it’s a method of writing things down, whether it’s goals or thoughts, in short, bullet-point form. Before starting this practice, I didn’t spend much time researching bullet-journaling, but it is a something that I’ve heard that many people enjoy. .

Here’s an example from my journal from a few weeks ago (I made slight edits to put it more into context):

  • Took L (husband) to work
  • Brief call with Mom
  • Nia
  • Lunch
  • Got mail and some sunshine
  • Took short nap/reset
  • ~ 3 hours proofreading practice
  • ~ 1 hour workbook punctuation practice
  • Made dinner
  • Picked L up
  • Did Dishes
  • Took one online survey
  • Nia song review (listened and watched, then tried)
  • Did rhythmic movement and reflex exercises

It’s sort of like writing a to-do list after the fact. It gives me perspective. It helps me think of other things I might need to focus on in the days ahead. It helps me value the small, day-to-day activities more, such as making a meal or having a conversation with my love.

At the end of the day, when I ask myself, “Did I do enough?”, seeing this list helps me feel more assured that the answer is, without question, “Yes.”

The sanctuary of mornings

I’m a morning person in the sense that I enjoy mornings.

I used to imagine morning people as being bright, cheerful, perky, and outgoing in the mornings. In college, these were the friends or acquaintances who would greet me with a bright and sweet, “Good morning!” as though they had rays sunshine oozing out of their pores. (Now, there’s a mental image.)

I used to not consider myself a morning person because of the above idea. I later decided that I was a different kind of morning person.

I prefer to keep my morning time to myself, preferably by myself. When I lived in a communal house, I relished getting up before everyone else. I’d meditate and do yoga when the house was quiet. I’d look out the third-story window, out to the next-door neighbor’s house, down to the garden, where the soft light was hitting the plants. There was – and is – something so peaceful, almost magical, about claiming that time as my own.

I wrote the above words earlier this week and had the realization that I hadn’t been getting enough quality morning time recently. Somewhere in the transition of moving and settling in, I’ve disrupted my tendency of waking up early. During the week, I’ve been sleeping until my husband’s alarm goes off at 7:30 a.m., and then we’re both awake and have to get moving. I love being with him in the mornings before he goes to work, but I want to treasure the time before.

So I decided to make a conscious shift:  Friday, yesterday, I set my alarm to 7:00 a.m. I ended up waking up a little before then. I got up, made myself a cup of tea, and took the time to meditate and stretch. I gave myself time to savor the morning, with myself, by myself.

Friday link roundup 10/7

Moving, redecorating or rearranging? 8 ways to help make your your home feel like a sanctuary.

How often do you think of your feet? 4 Steps to Happy, Healthy Feet.

On the U.S. and maternity leave (and lack thereof).

In Poland, which already has strict restrictions on abortion, a proposal to ban all abortions (including in case of rape and incest) will be dismissed due to protests against the ban across the country.

The peace deal in Colombia was put to a vote, and despite the anticipation of it being passed, 50.2% of Colombians voted against it, resulting in a defeat.

Wednesday, October 5 was World Teacher’s Day. The United Nations estimates that the world needs 69 million new teachers by 2030.

On the psychology of victim-blaming.

Hurricane Matthew has devastated Haiti and other areas of the Caribbean and is approaching Florida. Live updates here.

Friday link roundup 5/13



“You need to let timing do what it needs to do. You need to see lessons where you see barriers. You need to understand that what’s right now becomes inspiration later.”  – From To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life.

A store in Manchester, England is starting a quiet hour initiative, in which they create a quiet shopping environment one hour a week for anyone who may need it. With my sensory issues, I’d definitely appreciate if a store did this. Although my first question would be: could you please dim the fluorescent lights?

Please, Please Clean Your Room – a dose of parenting humor from the New Yorker.

On being genderqueer and pregnant.

Diversify your reading list:  A list of LGBTQ books that have protagonists who are people of color.

“People make spreadsheets to assess their financial situation, but it’s not often that people do the same to take a hard look at the inner-workings of their personal or social lives.” Since I need time and space to restore my energy,  I’ve been budgeting my emotional energy for years (no spreadsheets for me – mainly mental check-ins to see if I have energy and desire to do certain activities, depending on the activity and how much I’ve done that week). It’s nice to see a post about the importance of it. 

It’s Friday the 13th! On the psychology of superstition.

Love letter: Rest

I really enjoyed the April Love 2016 prompts.  Doing this reminded me that sometimes the key to creativity is starting with a simple concept. This is the first one I did.  


Rest. Created on April 7, 2016, Watercolor. 


Dear Rest:

I am grateful for the breaks you give me, the deep breaths, the permission to close my eyes. Thank you for giving me space to nourish myself and restore my energy.

Friday link roundup 4/8

The benefits of napping.

Self-Care Ideas for a Bad Day.

An artist created and installed small rooms in abandoned manhole covers in Milan to make an important statement.

Ever been told you are “too much” or “too sensitive”?  On embracing vulnerability and “muchness.”

April Love 2016:  Daily prompts for love letters for the month of April.  For more information, go here.  I’ll be posting some of my letters and art soon.