Sometimes I feel like I’m running from a bear… the ominous term my partner and I use to refer to the burden of stress.
We are all familiar with the bear; maybe it visits you in the thumping of your heart, or the cyclical thoughts that keep you awake at night. However it visits, the bear encompasses our fear of failure, of not being enough, of not doing enough, of not being respected.
The bear is anxiety and sadness and unhealed trauma. It keeps us from caring for ourselves and of course, from providing helpful care for each other. It’s very difficult to love someone else properly, while our own cup is empty. It’s the reason we can find ourselves leaching our needed energy from the people we love, draining them of their resources. It’s the reason we over-eat, drink, and drown our sorrows in Netflix and 2X4 screens only to turn around and see that the bear has doubled in size and strength. It’s a culture-wide issue.
Here is what I have learned…I can only minimize the bear, with self care.
For me, that typically follows a levelling up system that looks something like this….(Mamaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?)
Basic physical care…. showering, brushing teeth, combing hair, eating healthy food, adequate rest…
Once I’ve cared for my physical body, I can add in…
Daily spiritual needs… a few minutes to myself, something interesting to read or learn, a few minutes of intentional movement, fresh air
And then I can work on more detail and routine…
30 minutes of exercise, a course to expand my knowledge, meditation, an artistic project…Once I hit this level, I start to feel like I’m making progress.
Most importantly, completing steps on my personal self-care checklist as though they are tasks to be ticked will give me the same sort of emptiness that comes from a household chore to-do list unless I complete them with the right intention….that I, too, deserve to be cared for, and that these few moments will help me step into the real me. Before I know it, the bear is just large enough to drive me, but small enough for me to know peace.
Mother of Hays