This is a weird, long and hard day for me. I had a group call in the middle of the night to connect from th other side of the world with awesome rebel therapists I had the pleasure to grow with for the past few months, our last one. At the end of it, I was both very sad and very inspired. Despite being exhausted physically, it was impossible for me to sleep, so I did a lot of things not asking too much of my brain and helping mee go through my current big to do list, too big.
I slept a little, and got up, tense and exhausted. This challenge is awesome in so many ways. That doesn't mean it doesn't have a big emotional toll. Creativity is a very emotional business. Any big creative endeavour is bound to leave us quite emotional, especially if it's vulnerable and meaningful, like this one is for me. At the end of the call, one of my dear colleagues asked if we could share with them any tips we had to rest when we can't. Perfect timing.
I can't say I couldn't rest today, because I wasn't officially working. I could have decided to drop everything and have some sort of mini holiday, but that would have made my life much more complicated in the next few weeks, and I'm not interested in paying that price. So instead, I opted for a "Better than zero" day, which calls for ninja self-care. I name ninja self-care the kind of self-care we need when our batteries are dead and/or when we flirt with burn-out : little time to rest and recharge when the need to do so is especially high.
My number 1 rule is : do not, under any circunstances drop out self-care completely. This is the "Better than zero" part. No self-care is self-abandonment and self-abuse, and the price will always be too high to be worth it. It is time for the contingency plan. I have a lovely and super recharging routine, but it's quite long. What allows me to sustain it is not a perfect attendance, but the fact that instead of dropping it on days where it seems impossible to have it, I make it as short as needed.
I meditate everyday, ideally 20mn. On those days, it becomes 10mn, 5mn, or even 1mn, but I do it. Anyone can find 1mn to breathe and regroup, that minute will make a difference. The same goes with yoga, even if I only stretch and do a couple of twists and forward folds in my bed for a couple of minutes, it's better than nothing. Again, I journal 30mn everyday, today, I will make it 10mn before going to sleep, just to vomit some of my brain on the page and help me get better sleep. If I had even less time, I'd just take a couple of minutes joting down 3 things I'm grateful for. If I don't do these things, I unconsciously make myself busier than needed in the worst possible times and in the worst possible ways, this is preventive as well as sanity saving.
My second biggest rule is : make it as easy and light as possible. This is the time to drop anything superficial and the things I put on my plate that I'm not really invested in. I hunt for people pleasing and perfectionism things. I drop my standards on everything I can. I will reread myself today, but not really edit. I am putting more energy into accepting I will probably write something mediocre. It's ok, I'm exhausted, I need to show myself some mercy, especially when it gets that hard. I said no a lot today, to others, and myself. I tell them, but I don't justify. Anything I could drop without make me miserable or my life even harder in a non-necessary way has been dropped.
Our flat looks like a battlefield right now, because my partner is in the same mode, he works a lot lately. It's ok, we'll clean and tidy later. It's more important to do self care than to have a clean flat. I checked my emails twice and only answered to the most emergent, I don't respond to most personal messages. It can wait. I would never force myself to write more than 500 words today, because that's my minimum, I'm still here because they flow, but if I sense that I could go on for a long time, I will stop myself and make it half an article, and come back to it tomorrow. I will not look for a picture right now like I did so far. The idea is to "Kondo" my life right now : getting rid of everything I can and/or that doesn't spark joy. It's often the times where I notice better what I impose to myself that I don't really want nor enjoy.
Rule No3 : Get rid of most of the distractions. For me, my phone is the devil incarnate when I'm like this. The more I check it, the harder it will be. And I want to distract myself constantly with it. So I gave my phone to my partner a few hours back so I don't have to restrain myself (energy savings). Internet will live without me for the day. I spend a lot of time with my headphones so I'm not distracted by others or outside noises. I ask people to not disturb me unless it's important if they might be susceptible to. I set up timers rather than checking time, so I can "lose myself" in important tasks but not lose track of time either. The idea is to observe where we lose time, and makes it harder.
Ok, it's time, I have almost the double of my words for the day and could still go on with a few rules, that's my cue to leave it for tomorrow, I have a big day too anyway, so it'll still be perfect timing.