Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Do I Need to Do to Take Care of Myself?

I’ve found a great deal of help in this tool, which I teach in my stress management classes at work. In any moment, the simple act of asking ourselves, “What do I need to do to take good care of myself right now?” can have a very powerful effect on our experience, our clarity and effectiveness, and even our health.

In the middle of our busy days, we tend to place our awareness “out there” for long stretches of time, concentrating on what needs to get done next. Because those to-do lists are never really finished, we can become stressed, tired, anxious, worried, or many other things without even noticing, because we are so focused outside of ourselves. Human beings are pretty adept at losing touch with our deepest feelings and most honest needs because we don’t practice paying attention to them. Our own truth gets lost in all of the “noise” around us.

We need time, and a space, for body and spirit to speak to one another, because without that communication our whole system can get out of whack. This can manifest in many different ways, such as having trouble sleeping, getting sick, or feeling like our emotions are out of control.

The spirit needs to hear the body’s deep emotions, to process the body’s experience in the way it seeks to. And the body needs to hear the spirit’s gentle voice to remember itself as whole.

Taking the time we need for meditation, prayer, writing, or whatever other technique we practice to experience our wholeness is not always possible when we’re in the middle of something.  But we can always take the time to ask what we can do to take care of ourselves in that moment.

I notice whenever I do this that my body immediately breathes easier, even before I answer the question. Just the act of asking validates my own precious existence, and both body and spirit are healed in that instant. I cease being a human “doing” and again recognize my being, which is perfect in and of itself and requires nothing else.

It’s amazing to me how after I’ve considered how I can best take care of myself, whatever I do in response is so delightful and appreciated, no matter how small. I woke up this morning tired and definitely not wanting to get out of bed to get ready and drive to work in the winter’s dark. I grumped internally for a minute, and then asked this of myself. The question assumes that we always have the perfect answer, which of course we do when we remember to ask.

What we focus on grows, and so after I asked what I needed to do to take good care of myself, I created space for more good in my experience. I got ready for work in a much lighter energy as I stopped to grab some bags of my favorite hot teas to take with me. I really enjoyed settling in to work this morning, considering which tea sounded the yummiest and getting it steeping while I turned on my computer and started to get ready for the day ahead.

I love how little things can become such big gifts! That cup of hot pomegranate tea helped me let go of my resistance, find my enthusiasm, remember my blessings, and bring the energy of gentleness and peace to every cell in my body. It was the answer to my prayer.

Considering what we need to do to take care of ourselves in any moment can be a wonderful way of reconnecting body and spirit, and a simple and powerful healing.

May you always take the time to focus on your own self-care, and may this tool be a blessing. . .


  1. I agree, we are so busy that we never notice that we are already stressed out on what we're doing. So, we better take time for ourselves both physically and mentally. We must stay healthy inside and out.

  2. This is a good article. When we let stress build up in our lives, it has negative health effects. Another great health resource I have found is here, and I think a lot of people might also find it helpful.