I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.
— Audre Lorde

When it comes to friends, lovers and family, we are used to reaching out and asking them---

"What do you need?"

"How can I help you right now?"

But how often to we ask ourselves those simple but essential questions?

- - - 

That's what I thought.

Ask yourself--why is this

Why don't we have the habit of asking ourselves "what do I need" as often as we do for others?

Why ignore this in ourselves, or avoid the answers? 

There can be a misconception that talking about our needs is 'admitting' we don't have it all together, that we aren't ok. But in fact, needs aren't about lack. It's the same way that a plant needing water and sun to grow isn't a weakness, it's essential to it's survival. So too are our needs. The key to taking care of ourselves before we burn out, is getting comfortable exploring what we need, sitting with the answers we find, and responding to them.

So today, your challenge is to sit for a minute and ask yourself:

What do I need this morning?

Let a few answers bubble up, without judgement. Sit with those thoughts and feelings -- needs can feel vulnerable to face at first. 

Only when we accept 'this is where I'm at this morning, this is what I need', can we take real steps to meet those needs. Otherwise, it's all too easy to let old habits creep in that mask things. and distract us from what is actually going on inside.

So, what do you need?

If it helps, list it out on a paper or in your notebook.

---

I'll wait.

Now, choose the most pressing one, or a few smaller ones. Write one thing you can do this morning to meet that need.

Then: Take Action. Do that one thing.

Feeling exhausted mentally, and just need empty, quiet space? 

  • Embrace empty, guilt-free space this morning.
  • Meditate
  • Take a hot bath and soak in that peaceful silence
  • Go for a walk with your coffee --in a real mug, try it--and look up as you stroll
  • Sit and write
  • Watch the sky come alive as the sun rises outside your window

Feeling stressed in your space?

  • Tidy your bedroom. Make it the most zen it's been in a long time. Put those clothes where they belong. Make your bed. ...Whoa, is this a boutique hotel? No, it's just your room, but better. 
  • Finally clear and sort those papers and stacks that have been piling up in other rooms.
  • Set a timer and see what a difference 10 min of tidying can do. If it felt good, do another 10 min.

Feeling lonely?

  • Reach out to a friend or coworker and make plans, send them a message.
  • Look up and join a few new events and groups where you can meet others who want to connect like you do. Try sites like www.meetup.com
  • Call an old friend or family member who makes you feel good whenever you catch up.

Feeling stagnant, restless in life?

  • Learn.
  • Try a podcast this am. Try This American Life
  • Find a few library or audio books online that you want to read, and get them. Need a good book to try? Ask the DED Facebook group for recommendations. 
  • Watch a Ted Talk, or a documentary online. Ask the DED community for their faves. 
  • Reflect and write a plan about where you want to go/grow. 
  • Feed your mind

The key is to make it a daily habit --

checking in with ourselves, how we are doing, and getting good at knowing and giving ourselves what we need. A little every day. 

See what it feels like to do that more, and put your own oxyen masks on before helping others. I'm willing to bet that before long, you will have so much more of yourself to bring into the rest of your life.

 

While you think about what you need, and plan one thing to do this morning, press play below on your morning jam .....  

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