In this campaign for the presidency, self-care takes on a whole new dimension of importance and meaning.
Here I am. 1:45AM. Burning that midnight oil.
For about four consecutive days, I managed to be prolific on two hours or less of sleep per night. Then last night, I finally slept the more typical eight or so hours.
Conventional wisdom may indicate that my health would suffer from such a schedule. Furthermore, those two hours per night were actually broken up into 10-30 minute power naps throughout the night, in between periods of intense work.
Only I can say whether this system works for me or not. And it does work. It may not always work, but right now it does without taking a detrimental toll on my body and mind.
Down to a cellular level, I feel healthy, but I do still tend to overdo it, while sometimes forgetting to meet my nutritional and hydration needs adequately.
Yesterday, for example. I planned to make a smoothie in the early afternoon but kept getting swept up in consecutive waves of work and short naps (five minutes or less, usually not actually falling asleep). Before I knew it, I had gone until six pm without consuming nutrients. And that is honestly not OK. It doesn’t work. As a result, I ended up having a small food binge on less-than-ideal items to overcompensate for my body’s neglect.
I say it’s not OK, and that’s true, but in a different context it is completely OK. Meaning, it is not OK in the sense that it works as a sustainable paradigm to put into practice. But it is OK in the sense that I am actively learning my lesson in realtime and will do better tomorrow.
It is essential to balance work with self-care. The more work there is, the more important it becomes to take self-care seriously.
What does self-care really mean though?
It means all the things…
It means making those five minute power naps a priority.
It means not waiting until my body is craving food before consuming sustenance.
It means consuming well-balanced sustenance, and drinking lots of fresh water.
It means going outside in bare feet and walking in the grass.
It means sitting under a tree and meditating.
It means going for walks and runs, doing yoga, or lifting weights.
None of these things have to take up too much time. Actually, one secret to productivity is, none of those things even have to interrupt work.
When I move my body, I stir up creative impulses that contribute to my work.
When I sit down to meditate, my monkey-mind keeps coming up with ideas. I used to be afraid of clearing my mind and losing those ideas, but that’s not how it works. Clearing the mind does not erase ideas. It only stores them. They are usually easy to retrieve at the right time.
Rapid activity cycling works wonders. That just means, switching between different categories of tasks on the fly, doing each task in small chunks. Rotate among the tasks without worrying too much about completing them. Over time, everything gets done. This is especially useful for alternating between work and household chores. And if you get too worn out at any point, just rest your eyes for five minutes.
Sleep and resting eyes are not the only ways to restore energy. Having quality interactions with other people can be like a boost of caffeine. So can sitting in the sun and sun-gazing. There are many ways.
So what do you do though, if you get past the point of no return? Your body feels tense, you start to feel irritable. You begin feeling mortal again.
This can be a path to a downward spiral if you’re not careful.
So here is what it means to be careful when you are worn down to your last nerve:
-Forgive yourself. You were working hard, and that’s beautiful. You got carried away, and that’s a sign of excellence. Pat yourself on the back for that.
-Look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? Even if your eyes have dark circles and you are extra pale, you are still an amazing combination of flesh, blood, heart, and soul. Allow yourself to be impressed that you exist. Say to yourself, “I love you, I love you, I love you. Right now, I commit to prioritizing my own harmonization.”
-Turn off your technology if you need to. Unplug, even if only for a few minutes or hours.
-Delve into the most relaxing pastime you know of and that’s available. For me, this usually means a scorching bath in Epsom salt with some essential oils in a nearby diffuser. Maybe for you, it means getting a massage, or Reiki. Maybe you need to masturbate or make love, or go rent a cabin in a remote location for a few days.
Do whatever it takes. Because this is your life, ya’ll. You’re no good to anyone when you’re a frail husk. Even if you can do some good as a walking corpse, this is purely non-sustainable.
A beautiful thing happens when you push yourself to the edge of collapse, and then take care of yourself.
You get stronger. You can take on more. You can go even longer next time before reaching the point when you have to stop.
Alternately, if you keep going past your point of collapse, and you do end up falling apart, the result is discouraging.
You get weaker. You can’t take on as much. You last even less time next time.
So, don’t do that. Take care of yourself. Become a vessel worthy of your greatest dreams and ambitions.
Don’t know how? Reach out. Reach out to me. I will coach you. I will empower you to be the best that you can be. Reach out to people you trust. People who want you to succeed.
If you’re surrounded by people who tend towards negativity, it’s time for some spring cleaning in your social life. Find people you want to emulate certain characteristics of. Find people who lift you up and give you wings.
When you learn to fly, you can teach those negatively-inclined folks how to fly too. You’re not abandoning anyone. You are merely endeavoring for self-preservation and empowerment, so that you can transcend the mire and inspire others to do the same.
Do what you can, what you want, what you must…
As for me, I am hitting up a hotel with a hot tub, pool, and fitness center for a couple days. I would not be able to do that without the support of a friend and partner who is paying for the room.
You may say I am lucky, and I am. But I have also learned to make my own luck. I have chosen supportive people for my inner circle. People who want to help me rest, recovery, nourish, and succeed.
There was a time I did not have such support. I had to choose it. I had to know I was worthy of it. I had to let it in.
You can do this too. I am on your side. I believe in you, and I will do what I can for you. That goes for anyone reading this. And everyone not reading it.
I am going to shut down the computer for at least a day, possibly two. I’ll be writing some content on a designated word processor, including a speech on the current state of the nation and President Trump’s disconcerting fear-mongering. I’ll be presenting that speech in a livefeed mid-week or earlier. More info to come.
If you need to contact me during my hotel stay, please call or text 517-410-1944. That’s my cell.
Oh, and if you’re in or around Lansing and want to go swimming or work out with me between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning, feel free to give me a call.
Namaste, and be good to yourselves.
Also published on Medium.