This past summer was a uniquely challenging season of my life. So much so that I have had difficulty even knowing how to write about it. I am not quite there yet . . . probably because I am not quite out of the season. It's much easier to talk about difficult seasons in retrospect. Laying it out in the moment is sometimes too painful, too vulnerable.
I am still in the midst of a hard time, which for me includes dealing with anxiety, depression, and occasional panic attacks. Oh, and insomnia. The gift that keeps on giving.
As I have talked to my friends about what I am going through, inevitably I am told to “take care of myself.” And it's good advice. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there are certain habits and practices that make me feel better. That pulled me out of a funk. That's keep my brain from spinning and spiraling into panic.
I think self-care is unique to each person, but for me, taking a walk to the beach always hits my reset button. It is absolutely impossible for me to maintain anxiety when I am walking up to the edge of the ocean. It always calms me and centers me. Every time.
I know that if I take a walk to the beach in the morning, it sets the tone for the entire day. It's not just a momentary pleasure… It puts me in a quantifiably different place. I am more at ease. My brain does not as easily go towards catastrophe and fear. I feel the presence of God when I am out in nature, and I am reminded that there is beauty in the world, and that regardless of circumstances, I can find peace.
So if a simple, one hour walk in the morning can change my mindset this much . . . can change my outlook and the trajectory of my day and such a dramatic way, why don't I walk every day? Why in the world wouldn't this be something that is at the top of my to-do list? Why wouldn't I make it my number one priority?
That is the paradox of self-care. And I know I am not alone. I've talked to so many other people who struggle with putting into practice the things they know that are good for their soul. Eating better, hanging out with a friend, exercising… why are any of these things difficult to do?
I watch to the beach this morning. It was the first time I have done so in about three months. And I am confident that this hour spent will make me a better mother, a better wife, a better writer, and a better person for the remainder of the day. It’s a practice I want to do every day, because I am better for it.
Do you struggle with self-care? What hits your reset button? And is that something you struggle to put into practice?