Shelf Space is a regular segment where I share my adventures in reading all the books I own before buying anything new. Need to catch up on the journey? Come on over.
My first week of the program outlined in The Mindful Way through Depression
wasn't without its challenges. The daily body scan brought me face-to-face with the crawl out of my skin sensations that go hand-in-hand with my anxiety. I was unsuccessful at mindfully brushing my teeth for most of the week, so I've chosen flossing & washing my hands as my mindful activities for week 2. And to top it all off, my one mindful meal led me to realize that I can't stand the texture of melted cheese. Not exactly a win when the only thing you bought for lunch that day was a grilled cheese sandwich.
Even still, the first week was also ripe with glimmers of awareness and that has been amazing!
I recognized the that that the sensations of panic I experienced during the body scan -- tightness in my chest and the unbearable impulse to move or escape -- are identical to the feelings of anticipation that I get when I'm about to finish anything that bores me or saps my energy.
I'm also starting to learn what my autopilot feels like. The other day I put something away for my mom and less than five minutes later I couldn't find it. Plus I had zero recollection of putting it in the place where we eventually found it.
"Didja ever find yourself standing in one of the rooms of your house and you can`t remember why you went in there?"
Jammin' in New YorkImage Credit: katherine Bingley / (CC BY 2.0)
However, I think the thing that struck me the most was how much of a difference there is in my mood when I let myself slack on my daily practice. Having had time to reflect on my rather mish-mashed week in Alberta, where my self-care routine was tossed right out the window, I can't help but wonder if the reason that I came back feeling so fuzzy is because I left all of my "being" tools at home. Instead of approaching these practices as an opportunity to do something special just for me, I fell into the trap that Williams et al. describe on page 231, by "turning the meditation practice into one more "thing" [I] now have to do."
Now that I'm home and taking steps to get back on my path of self-care, I've realized that these practices are not something to take a vacation from. They're as important as eating, sleeping and brushing my teeth.
So now I want to know how you do it? How do you incorporate your self-care routine into your days away from home? How do you juggle your daily practice with vacation activities, family and friends?
Leave your tips below, and I'll be eternally grateful. I need all the help I can get!