This past week or so has been quite strange for me. On Friday, I felt so stuck (technology, weirdness from a couple of strangers and I can’t even remember what else gave me pause), I gave up and decided to focus on my own self-care.
A short time after doing this, I had a breakthrough with a work issue that I’d felt blocked around for ages.
And, once again, I was reminded of just how important self-care is. My default has always been to attempt to plough on through no matter how I’m feeling or how much pain I might be in.
Even though self-care has been the focus on my work for such a long time now, it still astonishes me how helpful it is. I could have continued to attempt to get everything done when I was feeling less and less resilient.
Instead, I took a break and wow. Extreme self-care works wonders.
Of course, I did a Happy Dance thinking I’d figured out the secret to life, love and the Universe only to get entangled in a similar stuck energy a few more times this week.
Fortunately, I’ve remembered faster – I ask myself what I often ask my clients: What will help me most in this moment? What supports can I put in place?
For example, I’m in the process of moving from the east of England (Essex) to the west coast of Ireland (Westport). Initially, after I first had the inkling of the idea mid February, everything moved incredibly quickly.
Then the sale of my home here fell through and from feeling like I was on an exhilarating rollercoaster (which feels funny to write as I give such things an exceedingly wide berth), it’s felt more like wading through mud.
And I know that it will happen when it happens. That everything works out for the best. That there are forces I know nothing about. And that it will all be worth it.
I’m doing all that I can do to prepare and also enjoying the extra time with loved ones here and tying up loose ends and making some brilliant business changes. And I’m also a human being – it’s tough telling clients and supervisees and yoga students (and loved ones, friends, neighbours, colleagues etc) that I still don’t have a moving date.
Fortunately, they seem happy to have me here that bit longer but there’s something universally unsettling about uncertainty. I’m fortunate that I can still work here but it’s not ideal.
There’s also no way to live wholeheartedly without uncertainty.
The Romantic poet John Keats wrote about ‘negative capability’ as in, that space where things may feel icky and messy (am paraphrasing, obviously) and yet from which creative growth spurts can emerge.
Creative growth can’t really come from neat and tidy emotions and lifestyles. Am not at all suggesting we need to embrace our inner tortured artists – get all the support you can! Life can be challenging enough!
And yet, from emotional turmoil, enormous shifts can happen.
If you think about your own experiences of feeling stuck, what stands out? What helped you in those moments / hours / days / weeks / months / years?
With hindsight, what else might you have done to support yourself through it more gently?
On Friday, I decided that even though it was summer, I was going to do one of the (many, many) things I’m looking forward to about living in Westport and so I got cosy and journaled, watched a nice film, drank herbal tea and pretended it was winter. I reminded myself that just because I can’t see the seeds growing in the darkness and mud and it all feels so icky sometimes, everything is unfolding as it needs to unfold.
And (I’m pausing here because even though I know how helpful this is, it makes me want to scream when people try to rush it) gratitude can be wonderful.
If I attempt gratitude through gritted teeth, I feel like A Bad Person. I have an enormous amount to feel grateful for and practice gratitude daily. But when I’m in a slump, I don’t wanna. I want to stamp my feet or dance (badly. Am no Meredith Grey or Christina) it out.
Letting myself feel however it is I’m feeling is incredibly healing. By doing this, I’m more likely to choose healthier self-care like time with loved ones, a walk, bike ride or swim, some yoga, journaling, making nourishing foods, adding magnesium flakes or Epsom salts to a bath and imagining all the blocks drain away afterwards, doing more EFT on myself, opening my book (HERE) at random and picking a self-care idea that might appeal right then or choosing another…
If, instead (and I still do this – progress not perfection), I force myself to plough on through, am more likely to have popcorn or Bombay Mix (both an improvement on my pre vegan default of Wotsits but not great for nutritional value) for dinner. To be too sedentary. To stay up instead of going to bed when tired etc etc.
When did you last feel stuck?
What has helped you in the past?
What might help you next time?
How might you somehow remind yourself of your resourcefulness so you catch the potential spiral and use the stuckness as an opportunity to practice extreme self-care instead of beating yourself up?
I’d love to hear your answers.
And if you’re into yoga, you may enjoy Pigeon Pose (see the video below). Because we spend so much time sitting on chairs, hip opener yoga poses can be especially helpful for releasing blocked energy. Right below the skin, we have the fascia – a membrane that covers the whole body and which stores emotional memories. Working with this through yoga and massage etc means we can release a lot of that stuckness and other emotional and energetic blocks in a gentle, soothing, healing way.