Week 8 at Escape was both inspiring and motivating, despite the fact I was in the midst of a viral flu attack taking over my body! I struggled through the evening, trying not to cough too much, and hoping I wasn’t infecting all of my fellow Tribers with whatever I was suffering! I made it home that Tuesday night in a headache-induced fog, and didn’t leave my house until Friday.
I had known I wasn’t well, I had known I was tired – I had even written about it in both week 6 and week 7, and I had tried to do less. I felt like I was doing a lot less than normal. But less wasn’t enough. I needed to do almost nothing. It reminded me of that scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where Paul Rudd is trying to teach Jason Segel how to surf – do less, but not nothing:
It felt appropriate that our challenge for week 8 was to take small steps towards a goal, testing a hypothesis around our potential future careers. In my true overly ambitious style, I had originally thought I would test the hypothesis of “Would I like to write a book?”!! After our Tribe leaders had clarified we were looking for our MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, I realised that a book was very far from being the smallest thing I could do! It’s clearly not in my nature to do less!
However, when you’re unwell, you have no choice in the matter. Less is what you do. In fact, for long periods of time, I couldn’t and didn’t do anything! It felt so strange to have so little energy that everyday activities became a struggle. I did however, have an increased sense of gratitude for the energy I do normally have on a daily basis, and felt a renewed interest in learning more about how I maintain and protect my energy levels more regularly.
Coming across Kate McCombs’ article this week then felt even more timely – she shares her 5 Self-Care Strategies That Aren’t Fucking Mani-Pedis! Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love a shellac manicure, a luxury pedicure, and I am a big fan of long, hot bubble baths! And Kate mentions the benefit of these in her article, but these are “kind self-care”, rather than “reflective self’-care” practices, and the latter practiced regularly are infinitely more significant and sustainable.
As Kate says summaries in her article: “Sustainable self-care is about setting boundaries on your time. It’s about nurturing healthy relationships. And it’s about holding the balance that we are both strong and fragile at the same time.”
And, from my perspective, it’s about allowing myself to take the smaller steps required to get there.
Do you ever struggle with depleted energy reserves? Or find yourself over-stretched? How do you practice self-care in your life? Please share your perspective in the comments below.