Written by Lydia Merl
I’m a terrible procrastinator. Or maybe I’m a really great procrastinator. Either way you look at it, I’m aware that this is not my best quality but it has been a persistent presence in my life. I know procrastination stems from fear and self-doubt and it rears its ugly head whenever I am tasked with something that triggers my vulnerability. When I do finally do the thing I’ve resisted I’ve gotta admit, I feel like superwoman. That superwoman feeling is pretty irrational when the put-off task is something mundane like making an overdue phone call or finally responding to an email but sometimes, like when I finally post my blog, that superwoman feeling feels totally justified!
Back in college, I missed an opportunity to study abroad because I let the deadline for registration pass. In my defense, it required a written essay that I didn’t want to write, but that I did write. My topic was procrastination, however, I didn’t mail it in time. I wish I could say that I was being ironic but it was completely unintentional! The truth is, that voice inside me told me it would be better to not get in because I missed the deadline than be rejected because I’m not good enough. Each time I give in to that saboteur inside my head I fulfill her prophecy but when I resist her temptations, she shrinks.
Practicing yoga helps me quiet that “I’m not good enough” voice and has led me to other self-care practices that also keep her at bay. Be good to your body, your mind and spirit reap the reward. Be good to your spirit, your body and mind win. Be good to your mind, your spirit and body flourish.
I’m at my best when I am taking time to care for myself. I know this yet my regime definitely waxes and wanes. The list of things to do can seem daunting and that voice can get all judgey and critical about even that…
Practice yoga. Meditate. Eat organic. Oil pull. Get a massage. Exercise. Get 8 hours of sleep. Drink 8 glasses water. Take a mineral salt bath. Journal. Dry brush. Foam roll. And on and on.
Who has time for all that?
Not to mention that my intention behind all these practices needs to be grounded in self-love. If I am indulging in my (absolute!) favorite Organic Enzyme Facial at SKIN APEEL yet thinking of nothing other than my to-do list, am I really taking care? If I am exercising more as punishment for what I ate than as joyful expression of gratitude for what my body can do, am I really taking care?
At times my inner critic can be pretty freaking wily too. She will lure me into thinking self- indulgence is the same as self-care. It’s her voice that encourages me to hit the snooze button, again or have another scoop of ice cream or that second glass of wine yet she’s the first to condemn my doing the very thing she coaxed me into.
On the yogic path we learn that there is no separation, we are all one. In this framework, taking care of ourselves is the same as taking care of others. We also know that we can’t possibly care for others if we don’t care for ourselves (like the air mask on an airplane analogy).
The difference between indulgence and care can be subtle but listen closely: beyond that inner voice is always the observer, the one who can’t be fooled or manipulated and completely knows the difference between what the ego wants and what the spirit needs. Sometimes my spirit wants a massage. Sometimes she wants me to put others needs above my own. Spirit isn’t vain or self-indulgent. Spirit asks only that we pursue those things that bring love, joy and peace.
What self-care rituals can you incorporate into your routine? Perhaps you can set aside a few minutes each day to sit quietly in meditation or make an extra effort to get to a yoga class. Try doing something you do on auto pilot, like washing dishes or brushing your teeth, with extreme mindfulness or schedule a massage and set your intention to stay present and in gratitude for the duration. Pursue actions in your daily life that bring more love and more joy and more peace to a world that really, really needs it!