Joy and Grief

IMG_3848.JPG

This has been one of the biggest weeks for my family. We found our home on Monday and my brother got married on Sunday.

(Congratulations David Obuchowicz and Sarah Waybright - it was perfect.)

Within all these rites of passage, I kept thinking about my dad, who passed away over three years ago now. I think he would have been so proud of where we’ve landed, and the way my brother and I ended up here (not out of conventional or convenience, but fueled by desire and commitment). And it’s sad that he hasn’t been here to see the fruition of the arduous work of parenting.

It’s one the hard parts of this wild nature we spring from: it ends, sometimes quite suddenly, and for this the living is that much sweeter. There’s a fierce compassion to it all which holds me and all the feelings that come up during these passages. The joy and the grief will eternally live together.

I can whisper into unknown to him that we’ve made it, not totally, but at least to the place where our roots can hopefully grow deep.

Sometimes there are answers. Since his passing, I’ve associated those floating, ethereal seed pods with his presence. Yesterday the GPS routed me strangely leaving the city, and I went with it. While stopped in traffic, I looked up and there were hundreds of those fluffy pods floating above us. It felt profound and silly all at once - kind of like this life we are living.

Wednesday Missive: Are Others' Opinions Blocking Your Self-Care Success? (Here's How To Break Free)

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello Dear,

First thing: Please have a listen to my latest podcast with feminist business maven Stephanie Newman.  During our conversation, we speak about the myth of "needing" to stay at your office job, how feminist values can create a viable business, and the stories of our grandmothers (and how they influence our current ventures).  Listen and learn how to bring more feminism into your career - the world really needs it!

And now today…

We are in full-force house hunting mode (with some potential exciting news to share next week!).  While it’s an extremely stressful moment, especially while caring for a very energetic 8.5 month old, I feel very grateful for my current set of problems.

To me, these present-day challenges are a testament to the work I’ve done to let go of the self-care image I projected to the world in exchange for cultivating a truly authentic self-care identity.

Allow me to explain. Nine years ago, when I first starting teaching yoga in Washington, DC, I projected the image of a really healthy person, both inside and out.  From what the world could see, I went to yoga class a few times a week, ate mostly vegetarian, and, from what I heard from others, moved through life with a mature and calm demeanor.

While it made me feel good to hear this positive feedback, I wished I felt as a healthy as others perceived me to be.  

The reality of my life was different.  Sure, I was doing yoga and eating some healthy meals.  I could talk a lot about the importance of mindful communication and peaceful living.  The problem was that it felt like a lot of talk, and a lot less action.

What others couldn't see was how much of my mental energy went into judging my body and trying to control my eating.  If I felt like I was gaining weight, I would beat myself up and tell myself I wouldn’t eat any more _____ (sugar, carbs, etc.).  Then I would rebel against my restrictions and feel even worse.

In relationships, I pined after emotionally unavailable men and felt incredibly anxious whenever a relationship seemed to have potential (that was the point when I usually broke it off, as it seemed safer to be the one to end it before I got hurt).

And my emotions often got the better of me.  Without much provocation, I could internally fall into an anxious and depressed hole.  In this hole, I felt essentially defective, powerless to change and angry at the world.  These feelings would pass after a while, but they would always come back and leave me feeling worse about myself.

The hardest part of enduring my internal struggles was how much they went against the outwardly healthy image others had of me.  This wasn’t by accident. From early on, I had learned to source my self-worth from being perceived as “together.” I made good grades, organized my room and had professional ambitions.

When I would try to open up to others about my messy parts, I was often met with resistance:  

“Wow, I never thought of you as a person who ate sugar!”   

“I can’t image you ever getting upset.”

“You just make it all look so easy.”

Just like me, these well-meaning people were attached to my image of being a certain kind of person. The more I received this feedback, the less I wanted to share what was really going on inside.

With this outward image of perfection, there wasn’t a lot of space for me to have and learn from my struggles.  There wasn’t a lot of space for me to be me, or even try to figure out what that meant.

Finally, a few years ago, I saw that my image—what I was trying to project to the world in hopes of keeping safe—and my identity—how I really felt about myself—were at odds.  It felt like they were pulling farther and farther apart. I knew that if I didn’t let go of my image and work intently on my identity, this tension would only get worse. Maybe I would really hurt myself in the process.

Working on creating a healthy identity is challenging (Ok, that’s an understatement: There have been some deeply uncomfortable moments in there.).  It’s taken very specific self-care, including an awesome support team, a good sense of humor and a willingness to sit in the messiness of growth.

It isn’t easy to codify the self-care process of releasing image and shifting focus to identity, but if I had to break it down into a few steps, it would look like this:

  1. Allow others to think what they want to think about me (letting go of my image)

  2. Get quiet enough to listen to my own inner voice

  3. Translate this inner voice into an understanding of my authentic values

  4. Use these values as a compass to make tough decisions (keeping integrity with myself)

  5. When my decisions go against other’s image of me, once again, allow them to have their own thoughts while I stick to my values

I’ve learned that while image seems to be quite fixed, cultivating an authentic identity feels pretty elastic.  For example, right now in life, I see myself as a person who is capable of having a pretty mature and satisfying romantic partnership.  I also see myself as a person who has a pretty ok relationship with her body, and often stays mindful of what she feeds it (and can mostly enjoy the other indulgences).

Of course, I still struggle with my emotions, but with practice I am shifting my identity to someone who feels my feelings deeply while practicing self-compassion and the courage to stay resilient.

My self-care practices—my physical, emotional and spiritual habits—are what help me grow most in my identity.  Showing up for myself, even when my identity tells me that I’m not worth it, is what eventually changes my identity.  Practicing self-care, every single day, enforces the belief that I am someone who is worth caring for. This makes practicing self-care even easier, which makes it easier to value myself.  It’s a wonderfully generous cycle.

What about you?  

How is your self-care image different than your self-care identity?

What is this tension doing to you?

Is it scary to let go of what others think of you?

What would happen if you did, even just a little bit?

How are your practices helping your identity grow in positive ways?

What specific self-care habits could you add along the way?  

If you’re inspired, forward this email to a few of your friends and start a discussion on self-care image vs. identity.  Knowing where your loved ones get stuck and how they care for themselves will help you clarify your own process and build connections between you all.  

Doing this work is so much easier as a community.  With that support, I invite you to toss away any image that makes you feel limited or stuck.  Give yourself that freed-up space to explore what liberates your spirit and allows you to show up as your fullest you.  I can’t wait to know more of her!

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-Care Inspiration

Don’t forget to RSVP for the Thrive DC Do More 24 Party on Thursday, May 17, from 6:30-8:30pm (that’s tomorrow!).  It’s a free event (there will be a donation ask) with excellent snacks and lovely people.  I’d love to see you there! (If you can’t make it in person, please consider donating here.  It’s an excellent organization that really cares for our most vulnerable population in DC.)

Has everyone made this recipe yet?  SInce we were out of town last weekend and came back to full-force house-hunting, we don’t have much in our fridge.  After a little head-scratching, I remembered that this one-pot meal is so simple and delicious.

My favorite essential oils of the spring: vetiver and rose geranium.  I diffuse them in Jonah’s room while he pulls every last thing off his bookshelf.  What are you using?

Did you have a hard Mother’s Day?  I appreciated these self-care practices that can help one deal with a toxic maternal  relationship.

House Hunting

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Micah and I are in full-fledged house-buying mode. Wow, what a crazy process! Especially because we didn’t chose this (our owners want to sell our rental, which is a lovely house but needs SO much work), but again, it seems like our relationship is less about making choices and more about going with the flow.

We spent all morning on Sunday with our realtor looking at homes, toting Jonah around to each one. Micah had been sick all weekend (again!), but he was a trooper.

We saw one house that we really liked, and when we got home, I was so anxious to discuss it with him. However, he told me he needed to rest for a while first. Jonah was down for his nap, so what was I supposed to do with my anxiety? Eat half a bag of Cheetos and numb out on social media? I wanted to.

Luckily, my new watercolor set had just arrived. I spent the next half hour playing with the colors, drinking tea, and listening to music. Rather than depending on Micah to calm me down, I used this downtime to calm myself down and take a bit of space around this big decision.

A little later, when Micah was ready to talk, I could approach our conversation in a more grounded way. Once again, a little focused self-care saved me!

I know so many of us are dealing with decisions that feel too big to ignore. In these moments, taking a little time for self-care can feel totally illogical. It feels like giving up.

However, in my experience, making decisions from a place of anxiety NEVER turns out well, while letting things work themselves out usually leads to pretty awesome results.

Our work is to be disciplined enough to take time out until we feel calm enough to move forward. I think that’s a pretty great recipe for creating a beautiful life.

Wednesday Missive: Is Your Self-Care Working? Here Are A Few Ways To Tell

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello, hello again!

I hope it’s a nice Wednesday for you.  This week still finds me in the swirl of house-buying.  I’m way too in the process to have any real insights right now, but expect self-care resources for moving and/or buying a house in the near future.

Within all the movement, I’ve been thinking about the different ways to view self-care.  The dominant culture tells us that self-care borders on frivolous. It’s equated with pampering and over-indulging.  You know, it’s the “don’t bother me with the world’s problems, I’m getting a massage” attitude that makes self-care look, well, pretty selfish.

Although I think we all need moments to really indulge ourselves, these pampering-focused actions never feel much like real self-care to me.  The self-care that I practice and teach to others often feels like the opposite of over-indulging. And the end result is not selfish, but I think rather, the true secret to creating a different way of being in the world.

Still, it’s so easy to confuse over-indulgence and self-care.  Even I have a hard time telling the difference sometimes, especially when I’m feeling stressed out.  

How do you know your self-care is working?  Here are a few ways to tell:

Your self-care is working when you...

  • Wake up feeling inspired about your day

  • Engage in less mindless, numbing behavior

  • Take more time to enjoy the small stuff (birds chirping, a sweet lady on the bus, iced tea)

  • Feel a full range of emotions (from joy to anger to grief)

  • Value your creativity and give yourself time to make things, even if they are goofy

  • Feel less inclined to give others advice

  • Worry less about the things you can’t control

  • Take more action on the things you can

  • Forgive yourself for past and present mistakes

  • Listen to your intuition and trust your inner process

  • Set real boundaries (and feel your life change as a result)

  • Ask for more support (and know this is a strong act)

  • Share your vulnerable feelings with people you trust

  • Don’t share your vulnerable feelings with people you don’t trust

  • Listen to others in a deeper way, even when you don’t agree with them

  • Are more inclined to cooperate than compete (less jealousy!)

  • Enjoy your relationships more

  • Feel a sense of belonging in a supportive community

  • Realize you have enough and purchase less stuff you don’t really need

  • Realize you have so much that you want to give back to others

  • Take action to give back to others (less procrastination!)

  • Inspire others to give back in a joyful way

  • Have the capacity to understand white privilege and systematic inequality, and show up to support racial justice (this one is for the white people out there)

  • Gain the courage to educate others about white privilege, systematic inequalities and how to support racial justice in a compassionate way

  • Understand that your life force is valuable and that you have a real purpose

  • Realize self-care is a process and that it doesn’t have to be perfect to work

  • Know to keep coming back to self-care when you feel tired, lost or numb

 

Wooo, that’s a pretty big list, right?  Please don’t get overwhelmed if you aren’t able to check all those boxes.  I don’t know anyone who can check all those boxes at the same time.

Practicing real self-care is a process, one that takes patience, self-awareness and a good sense of humor.  We’ll spend the rest of our lives learning it, which is ok, because we’ll enjoy those lives in the process.

The important thing is to figure out if you’re headed in the right direction.  Remember that children’s game “hot” or “cold”? When you go for a self-care action, ask yourself: “Am I getting warmer?” (going toward the metrics on this list) or “colder” (feel more alone, afraid, and cut off from the world)?

We don’t have to understand self-care perfectly for it to work wonders in our own lives and in the world.  We just have to keep taking little inspired steps in the right direction. We just have to keep getting “warmer” and helping others to do the same.

Sending out this message, even though it’s pretty imperfect, feels a bit warmer, as does drinking a cup of mint sun tea while I do it.  Knowing you are reading this right now brightens it all up even more.

I feel the warmth spreading, something beautiful and emergent incubating within it, and how lovely it is that we can all be part of this radiance.

With care,
Gracy
 

***
 

Self-Care Inspiration

Save the date for Thrive DC’s Do More 24 celebration!  On May 17-18, please consider donating to Thrive DC, a wonderful organization where I have volunteered for almost the past decade (and now am on the board).  Just $26 provides over 30 hot showers for DC’s homeless population. If you are avaialble, come to the free party from 6:30-8:30pm at the Wonder Bread Factory in Washington, DC.  I’ll be there and would love to see you!

A few articles that inspired my self-care this week:

Momastary’s Glennon Doyle is educating white women

The anti-bourgeois joy of eating from a bowl rather than a plate

The new lynching memorial is opening white America’s eyes

Seeing the hard parts of life can help you love the world even more

One woman’s unabashed desire to be very rich

Wednesday Missive: How to Stop Worrying (And Get the Most Out of Each Day)

****.jpg

Hello Lovely,

Podcast Alert!  I got to interview congressional candidate Laura Moser!  We talk about why she ran for office (it was right after she took Self Care 101!), how she balances motherhood and campaigning, and the way she deals with haters along the way. It's a must-listen (and, if you're inspired, please give her campaign money - they need it!). 

And now today...

This spring weather is everything!  Isn't it amazing when the post-winter fog finally lifts? Now, our work is to enjoy this stretch of gorgeousness before the summer humidities add their own weight.  Oh, the back-and-forth of it all!

Today marks eight months of Jonah's life.  Yesterday, as I pushed him through our neighborhood on our way to go see another house (yes, our house-buying process is still in full effect), I started reflecting on how much more peacefully I am moving through my days.  

Wasn't it supposed to be the opposite after becoming a mother?  This peace definitely doesn't come from an abundance of sleep or lack of clothing stained with bodily fluids.  Those are all constants, at least for this time. What then, was happening to my mind? 

The answer that came to me was about hoarding.  In yoga, there's a special word for it: aparigraha.  Aparigraha is one of the ancient ten steps to living a more peaceful life, according to yogic philosophy. It urges us to not accumulate more than we need, because the excess takes away from our own happiness and growth. 

I've often thought of aparigraha in terms of decluttering my home, changing my diet, and managing my calendar.  Our current culture is moving toward a "less is more" way of life and I'm riding that wave.  

However, yesterday was the first time I considered aparigraha in terms of my own thinking.  I'm now understanding that constantly worrying if I will have enough (time/money/energy/etc) for the future is a form of hoarding.

Due to many demands on my time these days, I've gotten more focused on just getting through the day with self-care. I wake up in the morning strategizing how to work my yoga practice in around Jonah's nap schedule and the best way to turn the random veggies in our crisper into dinner. My goal is to be in bed by 9:30pm each night, which also takes some planning. 

My mind has become so focused on getting the most out of each day in terms of self-care that I haven't had much time to worry.  Even though we are in the process of buying a home - which is extremely stressful - I'm staying pretty calm and present with the experience.  

I'm practicing aparigraha by being thorough in my self-care, work, and relationships each day.  I do what needs to be done today, and leave other decisions to the future (often making lots of lists for future tasks).

I see now that worrying about the future is a form of hoarding my energy.  This hoarding gives me the hope that I will continue to have enough and stay safe in my life.  However, I'm learning that true safety is my ability to manage my fear and take responsibility for living a fulfilled life, right now, today.  Worrying keeps me from this present moment fulfillment and drains my energy. 

When I practice aparigraha, are my days perfect?  Hell no.  I still get parking tickets, have bad hair days and definitely sweat the small stuff. But right now, I am far less interested in perfection and much more fascinated by the many creative and industrious ways to get the most out of our days, even within all the mess.

Are you losing your days to chronic worrying?  If so, here are a few questions to spark your own mental aparigraha (from simple self-care to the harder stuff):

1.  Are you thirsty?  Go drink a glass of water. 

2.  Do you know what you are eating for dinner tonight?  Make a plan. This website has loads of great cooking inspiration.

3.  Have you exercised today?  See if you can take a walk during lunch or do 15 minutes of gentle yoga before bed. 

4.  What time do you want to go to sleep?  Work backwards from then, and turn off your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before. 

5.  Have you taken a little time to make something today?  You can cook a nice breakfast, write a few lines of poetry, doodle while you're on the phone, or sing in the shower.  You're a creative being and need to exercise that power to feel fulfilled. 

6.  What about tending to your social needs?  If you're feeling lonely, block off a half hour to call a good friend or make plans to volunteer. 

7.  Are you worrying about your busy schedule next week?  Make a list of all the things that need to get done and program them into your calendar.  Then go take a walk and enjoy the free time you have now.

8.  Is money stressing you out?  Make a list of things you can do to feel more financially secure (such as: talk to an advisor, start tracking your spending, cancel your Uber Eats account). Do whatever you can in this moment, and program the rest into your calendar. Congratulate yourself for thinking that one through (it's a hard one for most of us).

9.  Are you having a hard time in a relationship?  Decide if you are ready and/or feel safe enough to communicate your issues to the other person.  If you do, write them and ask to talk either in-person or over the phone.  If not, consider changing the relationship.  A well-trained therapist can help you see which is the best option for you. 

10.  Are you worried about your own physical, mental/emotional or spiritual health?  Right now, begin investigating support options.  Check your insurance and see what they cover.  Ask your friends for their doctor/therapist/teacher/12-step recommendations.  Book a first appointment or check out a meeting.  Give it at least three, if not five, sessions before you make a decision about whether or not it's working.  Don't do this one alone.  A little help goes a long way. 

***

Use these questions when you notice you're draining energy through worry.  Deal with what you can in the moment, program longer-range tasks, and let go of the rest.  A little focused intention and action right now can help you get so much more out of your days.

As you practice aparigraha and decrease chronic worry, you’ll not just open up space for yourself. You’ll also increase your capacity to show up for the challenging and vitally important issues that need you, like working for racial justice, advocating for actual gun control, and making sure all people have access to health care and a real education. Your self-care means you have the energy, focus and perspective needed to help others more vulnerable than you (which is such a deep form of self-care). 

For this, I will always remind you that you are worth this kind of self-care. You're worth feeding well, you're worth a great night's sleep, you're worth setting boundaries around, and most definitely, you're worth a clear, optimistic mind. 

Now, get started on a few of those questions!  Release worry and feel better today. I'll be back next week to remind you of it all again.

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-Care Inspiration 

Come to my Memorial Day Yoga + Self-Care retreat!  Check out the full details here. 

I love this piece that ponders "What If Things Work Out?"

Last week two of my friends had babies.  I made them these lactation cookies (which are yummy and nourishing for all of us).

Such an important question: how do we practice self-care while we are grieving? 

We Are All Mothers

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Last weekend, Jonah and I met my friend and her baby daughter for a walk. The weather was amazing and it felt great to get out of the house (no one told me I would spend so much time inside with an infant #napschedules). 

As we walked through the spring blossoming afternoon, we got into a long, winding conversation about racism, feminism, capitalism, how self-care could fit into those and, mostly importantly, how we could take more personal responsibility for finding solutions. We spoke a little about our babies, but they mostly bobbed in their carriers and let our words pass over their heads. 

Before I became a mother I thought other mothers got together and just talked about being mothers. Because of this thought, I always felt a bit excluded from the get-go and often felt less than (I mean, what problems did I have compared to a mother?). 

Then, I accidentally crossed over into the other side of things. It’s true, my daily actions are mostly concerned with feedings and naps. However, my mind is so hungry to apply what I’m learning to the bigger picture of how to create our world anew. This feels like the ultimate gift to the future generation, and one that all of us can take part in. 

Within it, I definitely don’t feel “more than.” Rather, I see the unique joys and challenges of not having children more clearly, and in contrast, the beauty and pain of my own experience. 

I wish we talked about all this more - how secretly divided mothers and non-mothers can feel, how it’s so easy to romanticize or demonize the other experience out of insecurity, and how dominant culture wants to pit us against one and other. 

I believe that joining together as women - whatever life experiences we are having - is what makes us strong. 

Because, in truth, I think we are all mothers, and deeper, that none of us are. Rather, we are all stewards of each next generation and must live with, and create from, the weight of what we will hand over to them.
 

Standing Up For a Change with Congressional Candidate Laura Moser

Laura Moser is a mother, journalist, author, and she is running for Congress in Texas's 7th district. She represents a new phase of American politics - one where compassionate citizens step forward to make a difference.  

Listen to our conversation to learn why Laura's decided to run (it happened right after she took my Self Care 101 program!), how she handles the constant criticism that comes with putting herself out there, and the simple ways she practices self-care on the campaign trail.

Please donate to Laura's campaign (she needs every bit of help to win the runoff on May 22nd): https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/moser_website

A Quick Guide To Self-Care

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Often, in my self-care talks, I remind people that self-care isn’t just about green smoothies. It’s about caring for yourself as a whole being, including (but not limited to): getting solid sleep, setting boundaries in relationships, taking time to play and be creative, being nice to yourself and civic/environmental engagement. 

But, it’s not NOT about the green smoothies either. I’m taking a spring self-care class with Lauren Kaneko-Jones LAc, because I needed help reestablishing my self-care practices after this last period of pregnancy and postpartum. 

Wow, it’s so helpful! Lauren is reminding me of what I already know - eating/drinking lots of greens is important during this spring transition - and inspiring me with new self-care from the Chinese medicine tradition. 

Now, I’m doubly glad I offer self-care support as my work. I see how much we all need it, even those who are teaching it to others. As always, I’m amazed by how much energy refocusing in on my self-care gives me. I’m finding it way easier to hang with the changes (like one less daycare day this week) and to show up for what I believe in (I went to a talk on zero waste loving last night, so provocative and important- more on this soon!). And now, back to my morning smoothie... 

PS - I have a couple of spaces left in my spring Self-Care 101 group that starts April 22nd. Go here to learn more and apply.
 

Wednesday Missive: Do You Struggle During Transitions? This is the Self-Care For You!

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello Dear!

First thing: my Memorial Day Weekend Self-Care + Yoga Retreat is filling up!  Come practice yoga, walk in the woods, and make new friends.  Early bird pricing until May 1st!

Now...

Oh, I feel it!  Spring is creeping around the corner again!  At least in DC, she’s been an elusive one this season.  We get a sweet little taste of her and then are left to pine for her during a stretch of cold, gray days.  

This seasonal back-and-forth can be taxing on your body and mind.  If you’re feeling off-kilter, come back to your self-care basics like going to bed early, hydrating often, and finding a healthy way to vent your feelings (journaling is a great one for me!).

Within all this change, I’ve been thinking of the importance of reevaluating your self-care before, after or while you are transitioning into a new stage of life.  This is because changing your life almost always means changing your habits. The more conscious we are during transitions, the more we can use this habit-change to our self-care advantage.

As humans, we are creatures of habits.  We get used to doing certain things in a certain order.  Because sameness makes us feel safe - and it’s linked to our instinct to survive - we usually don’t voluntarily mix it up too much.

For example, you used to go to yoga a few evenings a week.  You practiced that routine for a couple of years. Then, you got the exciting new promotion and all the extra responsibility means you stay an hour later each day.  You notice that your yoga practice is falling off. You think you can go on weekends, but that doesn’t seem to happen because you want to sleep in or meet your friends for brunch.

Or, you used to have a great meal-planning, nourishing food routine.  But then your uncle got sick and you spent a lot of time visiting him in the hospital.  Out of convenience, you began to subsist on Thai food or big, yummy burritos. After he passed away, you realize you’re still eating a lot of Pad Thai and burritos.

It’s normal for your habits to shift after a big life change.  From a very logical perspective, you’ve just trained yourself to do something new (stay later at work, eat the burritos, etc), and displaced the practiced routines that made the other habits easy.

From psychological perspective, you’ve shifted something important in your life and this has almost certainly changed your identity, or how you see yourself.  If you don’t take time to consciously understand that you’re a different person now, you may feel disoriented, stuck or like you are just spinning your wheels.

Creating, or even just redirecting, habits and routines takes a fair bit of energy.  Moving through big life transitions takes a bunch of energy as well. Keeping up with a shifting identity within all the change is challenging at best.

What are we to do?  I believe the best way to handle all of this complexity is to: 1) recognize that you’re going through a transition and 2) take an organized, conscious look at how your self-care has changed as a result.

You can ask yourself:  what used to work, but isn’t working now?  Why might this be? How can I strategically build in those habits again (or let them go if they weren’t really working)?  How have I changed my identity? What habits does this new iteration of me want to keep, cultivate or let go?

It’s important to take a self-care inventory after:

  • You start or end a romantic relationship

  • You get a pet or one passes away

  • You move to a new apartment

  • You begin a new job or get promoted

  • Someone close to you gets sick or passes away

  • You travel for an extended period of time

  • You get a health diagnosis or cleared of a diagnosis

  • You have a baby or adopt a child or have a miscarriage

(Or, as in my case, you do three of those things in one year!)

These moments of transition are great times to get extra support.  Transitions are inherently shaky periods that stir us to our core and bring everything to the surface.  Having someone or something to hold us together during these vulnerable moments of growth can mean the difference between feeling stuck for years or consciously healing, growing and moving forward.

As I move in and out of some of the deepest transitions of my life, I’ve recently doubled-down on my self-care. I feel the positive effects of these choices and investments in every layer of my being.  Never have I been so sure that self-care is the easiest, most joyful and most authentic way to grow as a human being. Seeing it happen with over 200 of my clients has also reinforced this belief!

So, if you need a little extra support, consider Self Care 101, my step-by-step, create-a-sustainable-lifestyle-of-self-care group coaching experience.  It’s the last time ever that I will offer this powerful work in this format and I sense it’s a great fit for a few of you out there. I have a few spaces left and we start this Sunday.  Is one of them yours? Hit “reply” to this message and let me know!

With that, I am stepping back into this tender moment of emergent spring.  I have a cup of tea to warm me and something yummy in mind to make for dinner.  Although there are so many hard parts and unknowns in this crazy experience of life, in this moment my self-care reminds me I am going to be okay.

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-Care Inspiration

Who wants to practice yoga to support congressional candidate Laura Moser?  I’m co-teaching a benefit vinyasa flow + restorative yoga class at Hot Yoga Capitol Hill on Sunday, May 6 from 2-3:30pm. After taking Self Care 101, Laura sprung into action and has redefined what it means to be a caring politician. I’m beyond inspired and want to support her!  I hope you can make it (or at least donate to her campaign).

My partner, Micah and I recorded a podcast together! It’s a bit awkward and a bit sweet.  We tell the story of beginning to date and becoming parents (all within three months!), and test out the awesome new sound system that Micah engineered for the podcast.

This is the yummy dinner I have in mind for tonight.  Spring is a great time to eat corn and cornmeal.  According to Ayurveda, it has a drying, scraping quality that helps get all the gunk out of your system.

Anyone out there with Imposters Syndrome? (Yeah, me too sometimes). There’s help for us all!  I was featured as part of this inspiring compilation of leaders sharing their ideas for How To Find And Use Your Unique Strengths At Work for the Conscious Company magazine.

I really liked this article on the capitalization of the word “empowerment.” It’s furthered my resolve to make this self-care work as accessible as possible, and to always remind people that authentic self-care is an internal experience, not something you need to buy.