Whit’s End: Slow down and make more time for yourself
Manic May is over. Though it was a beautiful month, I look forward to the months ahead.
Once upon a time I could explain why May was my crazy month. I frequently wrote about travel back then, and resorts enticed writers to visit before summer crowds arrived. This meant beach festivals, weekends in fancy lodges and an occasional magazine conference.
This year, May was filled by special projects (did you pick up our annual summer guide?!) and a move to my own apartment. I also sneaked in a camping trip and time with family.
These are all good things — great things — but along the way, I stopped making time for myself.
I could feel my body stiffen and my posture begin to slope forward. But rather than take time out to address these things, I dropped my head and plowed through.
That’s all on me; I’m surrounded by people, both personally and professionally, who encourage self care. During my parents’ recent visit, I told my mom I had 14 pages left to read. She gets it — she’s always encouraged this habit — and so she gave me the necessary space.
I suspect most of us could be better at articulating such needs.
It’ll take time to undo the physical knots I allowed to form in these past weeks. But I’m ready to begin. In the first many hours of June, I unrolled my yoga mat and dropped to child’s pose. It had been weeks since I made space for my home practice, and I could feel it in my hips, neck and shoulders. I spent 25 minutes moving slowly through poses, observing what my body craved. My mental to-do list tried to crop up, but I repeatedly brought my attention back to my breath.
Even when surrounded by well-meaning, supportive people, self care is (necessarily) an individual effort. The few obligations on my summer calendar are pure fun, but I must remember every day is more enjoyable when I’ve set aside time for myself.
Carla Jean Whitley knows she’s at her best when she makes time to slow down, breathe and stretch. Share your self-care tips by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.