August 17, 2012

a nest of self-care...

I come across (and participate in) a lot of talk these days about self care and extreme self-care. It's a subject that's very important to me. For my own well-being, extreme self-care has needed to become a regular part of my life. How extreme self-care looks can vary from individual to individual. And for me, it can vary depending on the day.

Some days it involves combinations of essential oils that help me feel relaxed and soothed. It often includes crystals and my Himalayan rock salt tea light holders. It can involve music. Coloring mandalas. Napping. Spending time outside, barefooted, sitting and relaxing, feeling the breeze.

I have an entire list - an actual, honest-to-God, long written list - of things which help me when it comes to extreme self-care.

Because sometimes, when I'm right in the midst of being bone-tired or extremely stressed out or highly emotional, and I really really need some extreme self-care time... sometimes my mind goes blank on things I can do, things that help.

One of my stand-by, go-to's when it comes to extreme self-care is simply nesting.

I pile a bunch of pillows (I have a LOT of pillows) on my wonderful bed, and I pile up on the pillows within the cozy haven which is my bedroom - a place that feels nourishing and comforting and lovely to me - and I nest.

And I rest.

I'll have essential oils going. I'll have my Himalayan rock salt tea lights glowing. My bedroom has lots of crystals I love, and I keep many of them within reach of my nesting place on my bed.

I have lots of books in my bedroom, and I can surround myself on my bed with the books I want to read or look at... along with notebooks and markers and glitter pens and sketchpads and a mandala coloring book. I have my ipod nearby as well as a radio and CD player - so music is always available. I can watch a tv show or a DVD from my nesting spot.

The point is for me to get away. For me to take a break from the computer, from the business, from people, from stress, from the outside world and outside worries. To give myself a space that's all my own for a while, a place where I can simply be and relax.

A nourishing, nurturing, comforting space.

A nest of self care.

There are other ways I practice extreme self-care... but this is one of my favorites, especially when the weather keeps me indoors.

Recently, I started to wonder if perhaps I learned some lessons about self-care nests from animals. I've spent my life with cats, and they've taught me some valuable life lessons. I think cats are very good when it comes to self-care. They race around and play and go wild for a while, but when they feel they need to rest... they really rest! They find cozy spots of sunshine, or warm blankets to curl up inside.

My cat Chloe loves to get on pillows. Right now, one end of my massage table is piled high with pillows (along with a rumpled-up sheet) and for the past several days Chloe has made this one of her favorite nests. She gets way on top of the pillows, settles right in the corner of the room where the pillows meet the walls, and buries deep inside the nest she's made for herself.

Sometimes we don't even realize she's there unless we walk right over to the massage table and peer over the pillows.

Sometimes she hears us coming, and she lifts her head enough for us to see her (well, part of her).

I think she has the right idea...  A retreat. Time and space away from others, off by herself. A place to rest and renew.

A nest of self care.