I recently returned from Bali. It was so luxurious. So indulgent. I got massages. I didn’t have to make my bed. All my food was cooked for me. I didn’t have to do dishes. I woke early every morning to meditate and do a two-hour yoga practice. I withdrew into silence for 24 hours. I was driven around in golf carts. I stared deep into the jungle. I climbed a volcano. I swam. I surrounded myself with lush greenness.
By the time I got back to New Zealand, aside from feeling a little jet lagged, I felt amazing. All that talk about making sure your cup is full? Well, mine was positively overflowing.
However, timing meant that my dad went in for his knee reconstruction while I was away. I badly wanted to be here for it, but it wasn’t to be. My brother came out from Australia with his four-year-old to help Mum out. When I arrived back, Dad was still in the hospital. His knee was healing well and he came home the following day. My partner, Stu came north to join us.
I stayed at my parents’ house for four days. I helped Dad up and down from his bed and chair. I helped mum cook meals. I helped Dad do the exercises from the physio. I helped my nephew build Lego. I reminded Dad to take his medication. I helped my brother with chores around the house. I did my best to make sure Dad didn’t feel like a burden. I made sure that Stu was okay, as he had his own life stress going on. By the end of the four days, I was a wreck. I was exhausted. Said cup was now back to empty. And it was time to return to work.
By Friday I was starting to return to normal. On Saturday I headed back to my parent’s house and this visit included six hours in ED one night.
By now I was starting to get a really good picture of what self-care meant to me. And also what it meant, and how I felt, without it.
So I went to a heated yin class. I took a bath. I went for a walk with a good friend. I sat on the couch and did not much. I surrounded myself with lush, green nature. I turned up the music and sang while I drove. I went for brunch with a good friend. I read. I listened to podcasts.
And after all of this, my cup started to feel full again. I felt like I could show up and be my best self for my partner, for my Dad, for work. I sometimes find the language of self-care doesn’t sit quite right with me. But the last few weeks have shown me that regardless of what I call it, I need to make sure I prioritise time for things that make me feel whole.
So what do you do for self-care? How do you make sure that your cup is full? Or, if you’ve never thought about it, maybe today’s the day to take five deep breaths, just for you.