Monday, July 24, 2017

Self Care Changes With Our Journey

(Written by Survive - Thrive - Conquer, Matt)

Self Care Changes With Our Journey

As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We do things on a daily or routine basis because "that's what we've always" done. I know I've said that very phrase countless times in my life whenever someone questions me, or I question myself as to why I do something.

Why do we go to the same grocery store, by the same brands of food, or stop at the same gas station? Because at one time we tried something and since the experience was positive and gratifying in some way, we just stuck with it. Over time, even with a myriad of other options, we often default back to what works for us. We are familiar with it, and we know the result of engaging in that behavior generally yields a positive result.

For example, there are two convenience stores within a block of each other, or right across the street from each other, how often do you find yourself gravitating towards one more than the other? I know for me, there are two gas stations that are on the way home from work, but I almost always stop at one instead of the other, regardless of which direction I'm headed.

Why?  Habit, Familiarity, Just Because...?

We also might be forming habits in our healing journey, in particularly with self-care. We continue to do what works for us because it's worked in the past, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it would also behoove us to keep an open mind to new experiences that might also be beneficial.

For me, self-care has always involved several Go-To options:
  • Listening to Music
  • Playing my bass.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Catching up on shows that I've recorded and allowing myself to be carried away in the story.
  • Reading my Kindle.

Those things usually always work, or if one doesn't work as well as expected, I can try another and often find some emotional peace and relaxation. After all, self-care is about doing things that we enjoy, things that make us feel good, or take us away from the reality of what's troubling our minds for awhile.

But, self-care can evolve too, if we let it. As we age, our likes and dislikes can change. What we did as teenagers, we probably don't do anymore, or at least not as often or as rigorously. What happens though, since we are creatures of habit, we sometimes ignore new opportunities or brush them aside in favor of what works for us.

Case in point, I had a bit of an epiphany not long ago. Each year I go to a music festival not too far from where I live. It's always a very good time, two days of reliving the glory days and singing along to iconic anthems from a cherished time of my life. That festival has been a rock solid form of self-care for me up until this year.

On the drive home, I was pondering this and wondering to myself, "what is happening to me"? Am I just getting too old for this or is there something more profound happening in my healing journey or just my life in general?

It caused me a good deal of stress for awhile, not so much from the "getting old" thought but more from the, "why doesn't this work for me anymore like it used too" perspective.  As it turns out, after much debate in my head and talking to a couple of close friends, I concluded that my self-care routine is simply evolving.

Maybe I don't need to go to this every year anymore. Perhaps every other year would be fine, or maybe just going down for 1 of the days instead of both would do the trick. Only time will tell, but the point is, that it's okay to be open to change in self-care. Just because something always worked before, doesn't mean that we can't ever deviate or find something different, should that time ever arise.

Back to this whole creature of habit topic that we started with - do you find yourself doing the same self-care just because it's always worked or because it's become a habit?  Have you begun to feel twinges that maybe something isn't working quite the way it used too?

If you have, I encourage you to sit with that feeling, explore it, and understand that there's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing to fear, and you aren't suddenly going backward in your healing. It just simply means that your needs are changing as you grow throughout this journey.

What's done the trick and been your go-to method of self-care might just be evolving into something new and exciting, or maybe just slightly different. Either way, what matters is that we do what's best for us and be open to whatever that change may be.

Rock Your Survivor Journey!

 - Matt (

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