Self Care is the mindfulness focus for the week.
In observing the garden, it’s obvious that plants have an internal wisdom about what they need and how to get it, even though they can’t move about. (I do like to imagine when we’re not looking that they do move about like the Ents in the Lord of the Rings. But in our reality system, plants usually stay put.)
Even being rooted in place, plants practice a kind of self care. Some plants turn and face the sun to expose more leaf surface, efficiently using the sun’s energy to make food. (1) If the sun is too hot, leaves will fold up to reduce the surface area for evaporation. If there is an insect infestation plants can change their chemistry so they are not as attractive to the insects. (2)
A plant knows what it needs and tries its best to make it happen, even though limited by movement. We humans on the other hand, sometimes have a difficult time knowing what we need and figuring out how to get it.
“Self Care is Not Optional”(3)
At the Colorado Mental Wellness Network, where I work, one of our favorite sayings is “self care is not optional”, but we also sometimes struggle with the idea in practice. We acknowledge its importance but then rationalize how we can skip things. Self care is especially challenging when we are distracted by difficult situations. Practicing self care during a hurricane (or when loved ones are in the path of a hurricane), when someone we love is sick or has died, when there are difficulties at work…all of these things make self care challenging, but all the more important.
We are often in unconscious mode. We get to the end of the day (or week) and haven’t, exercised, connected with loved ones, spent time outside, stopped to appreciate blessings, or maintained good boundaries. We can all add to this list, I’m sure.
So the focus this week is on cultivating an awareness of self care, paying attention to when we are intentionally practicing and when we are not. When we discover times that we are not, we can simply acknowledge it without judgement. We may want to make a plan for doing better or not. The first step is awareness.
For more information on my weekly mindfulness focus click here.
(3) A slogan from the Colorado Mental Wellness Network