Self-Care Failure: I dropped my ball, but had a way to pick it back up

Man meditating

In my previous post I wrote about how I was returning from giving a half-day workshop at a mountain resort in Alberta and attending a conference in Phoenix. I went for a beautiful walk and, according to the attendees, gave a great workshop while in Alberta. In Phoenix I saw a good friend of mine give a powerful and inspiring keynote and I am so glad that I was there to see it live. I learned a few things, spent time with friends, and even went to a hockey game. I had meetings with people who want to collaborate with us. I ran on the treadmill five out of six mornings I was away.

 I was also away from my family and my office for about a week. I missed Halloween. I tried to contribute via emails and phone calls to a major project I’m part of at work. I stayed at three different hotels, and drove down a snow-covered road in an area I’d never been to before.  I briefly lost my credit card (as noted in that previous post). I ate too much crap and didn’t make meditating or reading for pleasure or journaling priorities even though I know that they are all important elements of my self-care. 

In the airport, travelling home on Friday, I felt anxious even though nothing was going wrong. On Saturday I tried to make my way through work emails that had piled up (not replying, just making notes about what I needed to do). 

In summary, I was breaking almost all of my self-care rules (including doing work when not at work). On Sunday, I told my wife that I felt like I was in a funk, which is what I was noticing in the airport on Friday. I indulged in more than a little Halloween candy over the weekend and was a sloth on Sunday, though I did meditate thanks to the encouragement of my wife.

As I write this I recognize that I blew off my self care and I NEED to get back to doing it consistently, but through the weekend all I could think of was “I’m still sick,” which frankly made my funk even worse.

I came back to work, started with a meeting, and spent much of the day feeling rather overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that I had waiting for me. By the end of the day, however I had mostly tamed the chaos. 

Now, I could take the “I’m still sick” thoughts and shrink into myself and eat even more Halloween candy while stressing about everything I have to do. Instead, I’m trying a different approach. I made myself a healthy lunch, worked out, and meditated. When I got to work I had a meeting, but after that I tackled things that were truly urgent then I went through each email and thing that came my way and thought, “what’s the next thing that I can do about that” and put that action into Omnifocus (this is a GTD thing so thanks David Allen).  

By the end of the day I was feeling somewhat better. Yes, I’m still sick and just like having to take my medication every morning, I have to be proactive in all the rest of my self-care.  I’m grateful to know what I needed to do to get out from the overwhelm and what I must do, consistently to stay healthier. 

Picture courtesy of Sebastien Wiertz under a CC-BY license.

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