Wrapping up 12 Months of Extreme Self-Care

So, here we are one interesting year of exploration later, finishing Cheryl Richardson’s last homework assignment from her book,

Extreme Self-Care

Did you take the time to create your Extreme Self-Care First-Aid Kit?

I did.

It was fun to ponder the questions and create my own personal Rx for those times when life sends a tsunami roaring into town.

Actually, I think it might be the most valuable of all the self-care homework assignments we’ve done, because now I have a concrete life-raft I can reach for as soon as I see the rogue wave on the horizon. That should cut down immeasurably on the amount of pummelling, bruising and water-swallowing I endure before I finally float back to the surface.

Following its wise counsel will be like holding my own hand (which is attached to a stronger, more grounded, clairvoyant me) as I ride the waves.

So, here’s my Extreme Self-Care First-Aid Kit.

1. Who can I turn to for support when I’m afraid? Who comforts me, makes me feel safe, and allows me to have my feelings? 

My husband. I really did marry my best friend.

2. Who do I need to avoid? Who adds to my anxiety level, overwhelms me with questions, or has a tough time just listening without interrupting or offering advice? 

My mother.

3. What does my body need to feel nurtured, strong, and healthy? 

Lots of sleep (as much as I fight it, I function best on 10 hours a night); healthy food at regular intervals (I need to have frozen, homemade soup on hand, create a healthy menu plan and grocery list ahead of time to pull out when I’m too overwhelmed to think healthy); walks outside in the sunshine (guess I won’t be moving to Vancouver).

4. What responsibilities or commitments do I need to let go of to clear some space so that I’m able to feel my feelings and do what’s necessary to honor my needs? 

The to-do list needs to go. Bow out of meetings, committees and outside commitments.

5. What unhelpful coping strategies or activities do I need to avoid?

Not eating. Not getting enough sleep. Isolating myself. I need to spend time with other people, not necessarily to talk about what’s going on, but just to remain a part of the world instead of removing myself from it.

6. What spiritual practice restores my faith or connects me with God or a Higher Power of my own understanding? 

Sitting in my rocking chair, sipping tea and alternating between reading random selections from my collection of favorite books and staring out at the trees.

7. What do I need to feel comforted at this time? 

I need to take some melatonin (a natural sleep aid) while enjoying a long, candle-lit bath and then slide into bed early with the window open and my pillows surrounding and supporting me, like a baby in the womb.

8. How will I best express my feelings? 

My journal –  with an assortment of colored pens and crayons.

9. What object can I use as a talisman that will remind me to breathe, relax my thinking mind, and return my awareness to the present moment? 

My gratitude rock: a rose-quartz crystal that is always either at my bedside table are traveling with me in my bra.

10. What can I do when I need to take a break from the emotional stress? What’s my best healthy distraction? 

Immerse myself in someone else’s story, by either reading a great book or watching a favorite movie from my collection of Spiritual Cinema DVDs. Play with color.

So there you have it. Twelve months of Extreme Self-Care wrapped up in an intensely personal, one-of-a-kind, personally decorated first aid kit.

Makes me want to go on a hunt for one of those cute little kid-sized doctor kits with the play stethoscope and pill bottles (minus the needle, thank you very much) so I can tuck my prescription into the satchel for future reference.

And what about you?

What does your doctor’s kit hold?

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