Rhythm and Flow
What one thing can you do to create or get back into your natural rhythm or flow?
This is a self care question I ask a client when they are feeling overwhelmed. The “What” they need to do is sometimes clear, but they are feeling like things are too out of control for them to be able to engage in normal or routine activities, leaving less time for self care. In other words, the “What” and “How” are interfering with the “Who.”
Overwhelm often happens when we are out of our normal rhythmic flow. This can happen when we have too much on our plate, when caregiving begins or ends, or when we get sick. So we find ourselves needing two extra days that we lost somehow and feel like all is falling apart.
Or maybe you’ve felt as though you haven’t had a flow and process for awhile now. New moms sometimes feel this way for 15 years. J
Self care often changes in the summer because days are longer or children are out of school. Work responsibilities may shift because colleagues are taking vacations or relocating.
The first thing to do is to take some time to think about what might be missing and what might fill that gap.
- What are you longing for right now?
- What do you know you need right now?
- What can you live with and what can you live without?
- What kind of flow or routine do you want to create?
Next, think about things you might have done in the past that made you feel grounded or centered. How did you recover from a setback or shift in routine before? Maybe routine is too strict for you, but a type of work or life flow might help you feel more like yourself.
A recent conversation with a client revealed that she knows instinctively that what she needs is to be creative. In the past, she would take time to paint or draw once a week, but she had stopped when she began taking care of her father. Another friend revealed that she missed her regular bike rides that ceased when she had an ankle injury.
My client may not be able to immediately start painting again, but with a few questions, she realized she may be able to watch painting videos on her tablet while caring for dad. Or she can buy an adult coloring book and start there while waiting for him to come out of the doctor’s office.
My friend may not be able to ride a bike for a bit longer, but she can possibly stretch or do short chair yoga routines to keep her endorphins flowing and stay more connected to a moderately active lifestyle.
Our personal rhythms and flow are often affected by a change in seasons as well. When summer comes, days are longer and we might feel like we get more done. In winter, we may sleep more and feel less productive in general. But the start of a season can often throw us off for a bit until we adjust.
Only you know your seasonal and daily rhythms.
- Do you stay up late and sleep in? Or are you an early riser who tackles projects first thing?
- What is your morning, after school, after work, or evening flow and how does it serve you?
- Do you want to do something more? How could this fit into your rhythm or routine?
- What do you need to stay calm and implement more self care when routine is disrupted?
I challenge you starting now to check in with yourself now and then to consider your natural rhythms and routines, especially thinking about what your self care needs are in the moment. These check-ins will help you create and continually modify your self care. And we’ll talk soon in another post about how to cope when challenges or crises come up and you need to shift your self care plan completely.
Knowing yourself – your “Who” and what works for you is critical in developing and maintaining strong self care habits. Being flexible when rhythms and routines change is paramount as well.
Find your true self in your rhythm and flow.