I am rereading a book I love called “A Weekend to Change Your Life” by Joan Anderson. I may be writing several blogs on the activities she has to help women discover their own passions and re-ignite a desire to take care of self. The calendar activity was an eye opener for me.
On a clean sheet of paper, without the use of your daytimer, try to remember back to the activities you engaged in over the past year. Start with January and move to the present day. Once you have events listed, put a square next to the activities that exhausted you, a triangle by the ones that invigorated you, a heart by the ones spent with a significant other, and a circle by the experiences that were just for you.
As I moved through my year, I became aware of how my days were occupied by work and family life, and how little time was focused on me or on my relationship with Tony. As I looked over the page, I wondered how many of my activities I did because I truly loved them, or I did out of duty or necessity. While there were some fun things like Becca’s college graduation, and trips to Iowa to do some speaking and college tours, and having all three girls plus guests at home this summer, those things also took a lot of energy. Sometimes my weeks were filled with nothing but exhausting activities. What was glaring at me was the lack of scheduled downtime in my months, no vacations, no chunks of time away to rejuvenate or re-energize. And other than the regular energy work exchange with a good friend, there were no scheduled times for self care.
It was a great exercise for me to see what was clearly lacking in my life so I can make different choices in the future. Tony and I sat down this morning to plan some dates before the end of the year, and we have plans to get away for two days in January. I am re-evaluating my exercise schedule, wondering how I can find a pool to start swimming, which I haven’t done for years. For some reason, the water is calling me and I would like to honor that desire.
As the girls are all on their journeys moving out into the world, it is a perfect time for me to take the journey inward, and plan out events that allow me to experience the joy of self, and rediscover my own passions. My inner journey toward self love will change the look of next year’s calendar. I hope that when I complete this exercise next year, less squares will show up and a lot more hearts and circles will fill the page.
What do you want your self-care to look like in the next year? If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. The time is now.