Anything in your self care repertoire might feel positive and good one day, punitive and too much (or too little) another.
It’s getting to know what feels good and nourishing for YOU as much as possible.
Otherwise, NOT doing these little practices can become yet another thing we beat ourselves up about.
It can be similar with climate activism (or whatever you feel most strongly about).
We only have one mind, body, heart and soul. It makes logical and obvious sense to take good care of ourselves so that we’re more likely to benefit from better health and wellbeing.
Similarly, we only have one life support system – earth – and it makes sense to do what we can to improve things for all of us here.
On the other hand, we’re human.
We might know that crisps aren’t the healthiest dinner on the planet, we might regularly indulge in it anyway.
Ditto any habit you’re wishing you could quit (I’ve quit so many – alcohol, smoking etc) or healthier habit you wish you could make more natural and effortless (regular exercise, meditation etc).
The other day, after standing out in the rain for our usual hour’s peaceful Coastal Communities for Climate Action presence at the Octagon in Westport (supporting the children’s Fridays for Future strikes around the world), I popped into a local cafe to pick up a hot drink to take to a loved one.
Realising I’d left my rucksack (with my plastic containers for leftovers, reusable mugs etc), I shame spiralled a little at the thought of contributing to the endless waste we humans seem to generate.
Fortunately, I was able to catch myself in time and recognise that beating myself up for not being perfect and not attempting anything is completely counterproductive.
From the first meeting of Coastal Communities for Climate Action, I was keen that we take action in a sustainable way to avoid burnout.
That we empower ourselves and others to do what we can and constantly educate ourselves but that we make choices that are manageable.
We’re all going to have different definitions of what’s necessary. I was canvassing for my local Green candidate a few weeks ago and have been talking to people canvassing for other candidates over the weeks.
One of the major parties had a van driving around and I stopped them to ask about their environmental policies. With the engine running for the whole of our conversation, they stopped (which I appreciated) but I still feel surprise at the number of people who talk about other, bigger countries and how ‘there’s no point…’ in Ireland doing more when x, y and z blah blah.
We only have control over ourselves and our own choices.
It’s disempowering to blame other people when we need to learn to collaborate.
There’s every point in each and every one of us doing as much as feels good.
One of the things I love most about this group IS the emphasis on sustainable action not just for the planet but for US in terms of our involvement.
When it comes to making earth friendly choices v instant convenience, do you allow yourself enough leeway for those human moments so that, ultimately, you do more positive things than you would if you lapsed into self-loathing and figured there was no point even attempting to improve things?
What about when it comes to your own self care?
Progress not perfection is a phrase I’ve been using since I heard it on my yoga therapy training nearly a decade ago.
It – along with learning to talk to myself as gently as I talk to my Rainbow MagnifiCat – has helped my self talk become so much kinder.
Am sharing this in hopes that it’ll encourage you to honour the tiny steps you’re taking rather than psyching yourself out with impossible goals.