Focused Self-Love

courtesy Metaxin via CC Flickr pool

Today’s thought on love is pretty simple and straightforward: are you lovin’ yourself right?

I mean, I’m sure you’re giving yourself some lovin’. In whatever form it takes, if you’re the kind of person who reads this kind of blog, you probably have enough compassion to give yourself some love, you know that it’s important, and if you weren’t so conditioned not to use the word “should” you would probably feel that you should give yourself more self-love.

What You Want vs. What You Need

The question is, are you giving yourself the right kind of love?

Let me give an example. Since I’ve been back home (a whole four days now, woohoo!) I’ve been trying to slip back into a routine similar to the routine I had before the road trip. That means every morning:

  • I sit.
  • I brew some coffee
  • I journal two pages
  • I eat breakfast while reading my feeds
  • I shower and start my work for the day.

I’ve also been trying to give myself a split work schedule – half the day spent doing my video editing work for an education client, and the other half spent working on my writing for this site and my novel (the deadline approacheth!). I’ve gotten plenty of groceries, so I take time out to cook for myself, and occasionally treat myself to a walk (I live along the shore of Lake Union, so there’s many nice places to walk).

I set up this routine as a means of self-care. One of the lessons every road warrior learns, some the hard way, is that there is a “drop” that comes at the end of any trip, and the longer the trip, the bigger the drop. Since I’m also dealing with the move, the end of a relationship, and some financial changes, I’m trying to give myself the grounding that will minimize the stresses of all of these things put together. There’s no escaping the drop, but you can take steps.

However, it wasn’t working. I was still moody, emotionally manic/depressive, easily distractable, easily irritable, insomniac, and worse. I tried chocolate. I tried ice cream. I watched guilty pleasure movies and tv shows like “Burn Notice.” I played guitar, singing John Mellencamp loud in the living room when my roommates were gone.

Nothing was working.

I looked at my activities. I was giving myself the love – not taking on new tasks, taking time for myself, giving myself realistic productivity goals. My diet was healthy. What was missing?

Free Your Body & the Mind Will Follow

Exercise. Ah ha! I had been frustrated before I left (and during the trip) with my inability to come up with a good way to exercise. Thankfully, the rigors of the road kept my weight, etc. in check, but I wasn’t improving.

My Motivational Guide

So I added a little insanity to my morning routine. That is, the Insanity Workout, a bodyweight/aerobic workout that is…well, quite active. It’s more than I can do right now, in fact, but that’s ok. When I’m collapsed on my floor, pounding my fist in frustration into the ground at my body’s reluctance to do another set of pushups, it is also cathartic for my other frustrations. The effort of the exercise becomes a metaphor for all sorts of other stresses and emotions, past and present. But suddenly I have the ability to actually take action; do one more set of ski-jump abs, or growl at the sweat flying off my body and just frakkin’ do it.

This Post is Not About Exercise

It has helped immensely. Yet it wasn’t on my initial list of “take care of Gray.” While I’m certainly a proponent of regular exercise, that’s not the point of this post.

The point is, take a look at the things you do for yourself. Take a look at how you love yourself, how you care for yourself. There are habits you have, treats you have in store, experiences you are looking forward to…but are they what you actually need?

If not, what do  you need? And how can you give that to yourself?


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