A few years back, I found myself at a really low point. You see, depression runs in my family and, it wasn’t the first time I was in despair but this time felt lower than most. I literally felt like I was spiraling out of control just waiting to hit bottom. Words aren’t enough to describe that feeling of seeking your lowest point. I found myself withdrawing, unable to connect with my friends and family, and ultimately like I was more of a burden to the people in my circle. Suffice it to say, my mental health was in a bad way.
I’m eternally grateful for my clinical social worker (whom I met with weekly in the darkest days) and the good people in my life for holding space, sitting in silence, giving up nights and weekends to ensure I made it through another day. In the thick of things, I knew I needed to create healthier habits and cultivate tools that would allow me to not only live but thrive. Insert my journey toward self-love and truly beginning to understand self-care; both of which have become trendy hashtags but I genuinely credit some of these activities as transformative.
One of my close friends and confidants recommended starting a gratitude journal which I initially brushed off as hokey and a waste of time. She encouraged it for weeks until I finally gave in. The goal was to write down three things each night before going to bed, it had to be something different for each entry—no repeats. A small task with a powerful impact. Admittedly, in those initial days, I struggled to find things that I was grateful for so I started small: a bed to sleep in, warm water to shower with, a quiet moment connecting with a friend. Eventually, I began looking for moments of gratitude that I would be able to capture and write down in my journal. I did this nearly every day for months until my sense of gratitude was so overwhelming that it became integrated with my being.
Whats bring you joy?
After recognizing all that I am thankful for, I needed some serious work on my self-love. For too long I walked through life full of self-loathing, reacting to life. I had never taken the time to recognize my worth or to tune inward. I allowed busyness to keep me distracted, as a result, I was utterly disconnected from my inner voice. To begin, I created a list of 31 things that bring me joy: a long hot bath, an afternoon of reading, a pedicure, attending a yoga class (just as s student and not a teacher), a long quiet walk alone around the lake, a meditation cushion, catching a solo chick flick at the movie theater, etc. You get the idea—my list included things to do solely for the sake of enjoying time by myself. Then, each day, I chose one thing to do for myself—for only me. At the end of the month, the connection I made with myself allowed for my intuition to become louder. Between the gratitude practice and the month of dedicated self-love, I found Paige.
Meditation was the last layer that I incorporated into my self-care practices. I dabbled with meditation via yoga classes and trainings but never had the discipline to carve out the time regularly. I used (and still do!) the Headspace app for guided meditations, mainly as I was working through the layers of loving myself and shifting perspective. Meditation can be powerful in cultivating the connection with our deepest desires, what we know to be true within our intuition, and a guide to continual growth.
The connection and love affair we have with ourselves is our most powerful. The way we fuel our minds radiates out to our environment and community. So the answer is yes, a resounding absolute YES. Self-care is the utmost importance. If you’re looking to connect, or even re-connect, with yourself consider our upcoming Spring Renewal retreat in April. We’ll be retreating to Joshua Tree to explore our inner most possibility.
With deep love,