A sorrel gelding lies in the pasture. Is he feeling okay? I tap into his energy. Yes, he is fine. He is resting. He feels safe and is recharging his energy. He is taking care of himself.
It is breakfast time and there is plenty of hay in the pasture that horses are eating. Yet the young bay mare went on the hill and is nipping the spring grass refreshed by the overnight rain. She just recovered from her sickness. Her brain is working to find fresh food. That is a huge positive sign. She is taking care of herself.
I love this palomino mare. She never buys into any drama in the pasture. She is always calm whether in the lessons with humans or in the pasture with other mares, and she never wastes any of her energy on useless fights with anyone. She is taking care of herself by conserving her energy on every occasion.
Self care is natural to horses.
Am I taking care of myself the same way? When I feel tired and really annoyed I ask a question: “If I could do anything and go anywhere right now, what would it be?” If my answer is “Go on vacation.. alone..” that means only one thing – recent lack of self-care. For me that usually happens during a very busy period. I reflect back on the last few months. What has been happening in my life? My summer was busy: my family was visiting for a month, lots of activities (including my own wedding!) and travel. I love my family yet I didn’t get much time for myself at all and that took a toll. Now here I am – tired and annoyed. In this state, how can I be helping others?
Becoming aware of where I am today is the first important step. Next step is to be patient with myself and experience self-compassion. What was I lacking during those busy months? My personal time includes that which re-charges my energy: time with horses, Qigong practice, receiving massages/energy healing, quiet time by myself reading or hiking, and getting plenty of sleep. If I add such activities back into my schedule, my energy will be rejuvenated. I look at my calendar and take a deep breath. I check for time slots between my work and family time and start adding one self-care activity at a time. I take another deep breath. All is good. I have a good plan for the next several weeks. In less than a month, I feel balanced again and am better composed to give to others.
Lack of self-care has been a great teacher for me and a reminder: unless I take care of myself, I am not able to take care of others in a healthy manner.
Take a deep breath. Listen to your body. What activities re-charge your body? When was the last time you did something for yourself? How will your life change if you do more of that? Take a deep breath.