Image by triangleworkshop, via Flickr
As I was mulling over ideas for this month’s theme of exchanges, I saw a series of tweets from Vanessa Laven about the importance of eating lunch as a means of self-care. I immediately contacted her and asked her to write about how good self-care is like forging a good exchange with yourself. I’m so glad she agreed!
Diane has been blogging about great ways to forge equitable exchanges with other readers, consumers and companies. However, I feel like the biggest and best exchange we need to work on is with ourselves.
Here’s another way to think about this exchange: By giving yourself what you need physically, spiritually, and emotionally, your body and mind will respond by coming up with great new ideas, new perspectives, and new solutions to old problems.
It’s a huge and scary thing to do and one that I often struggle with. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take heart and realize that investing in yourself starts with very small steps.
Step 1: Drink water.
We all know we should do it, but most of us don’t. I’ve started out small by having an extra glass of water a day. I eat out frequently, so I made a deal with myself. I have to finish off the glass of water the server puts on the table before I can have the drink I ordered. That simple step has led me to crave more water. Now I feel weird if I don’t have my water bottle with me. I got a nifty Camelbak bottle that has a filter built into the straw.
Image by Meneer Zjeroen, via Flickr
Step 2: Eat lunch.
I’ve blogged about this over at Oh My Handmade Goodness and at MamaO Knits Too Much, but it bears repeating: eat lunch. Eat lunch right now. If you keep telling yourself “in five more minutes,” you’ll look up and realize that it’s almost time for dinner. Your day is busy. I get that. We’re all busy. And it’s so much easier to put off and ignore. That leads me to step 3.
Image by highersights, via Flickr
Step 3: Recognize and listen to the signs your body puts out.
That headache at night is probably triggered from either dehydration or from not eating when your body said “I’m hungry!” Ditto feeling grumpy. Your body sends you smaller signs before the major ones (like hunger pangs, headaches, and illness). It’s hard to suss them out at first but keep at it. Write ‘em down if you need to. Listen to your inner self. S/he’s got a lot to say.
Why does this matter to your craft? You’ve read this advice a million times in a million places. The point is, if you don’t invest in yourself, your business (or hobbies!) will suffer.
You do have the answers to your problems. They’re deep inside of you, it just takes some digging to find them. The more you invest in yourself, the more wonderful things are able to rise to the surface.
Vanessa is the ninja behind Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts, where she expounds on life after cancer, her love of cage fighting and knitting. She’s also crochets oddly cute awareness ribbon style organs as an aid to fearlessly talk about cancer. You can buy a finished one or the pattern at her Etsy store, Survival Organs.