Over the last year, a prominent and recurring theme for me has been healing and self care. The last time I went to acupuncture and shared my symptoms with my local acupuncturist from West Philly Community Acupuncture, she shared that she once read that 80% of our anxiety isn’t ours. She said to me, “you’ve been picking up on other people’s bullshit.”
A big learning curve for me this year was learning how much replenishment I need in a line of work where I am constantly giving of myself to others as a Teaching Artist. In my Trauma Informed training with the Bartol Foundation last fall, we reflected as a cohort on the importance of self care when working with participants who have experienced trauma.
And I’ve been especially enjoying the mantra I’ve picked up from The Artist’s Way: Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.
Here are 4 regular practices I use to restore myself:
- As a dancer, I need myofascial release and restorative bodywork from all the training, teaching, and performing I do. Massage is an essential part of my maintenance regiment like stretching and good nutrition. I go at least once a season and take cues from when my body feels especially sore or fatigued after intensive periods of stress or movement.
- I had plantar fasciitis as a teenager and the last time it flared up in 2017, it was cured in just two sessions. Not to mention the holistic benefits of acupuncture like improved sleep and alleviation from anxiety and depression. It’s good to give specific attention to injuries, and it’s also good for restoring balance at a physiological level. Plus acupuncture naps are some of the best kinds!
- I had a powerful reiki appointment this month that allowed me to experience a level of self awareness I have never experienced before. I was able to make peace with difficult moments from the year. I was able to savor moments that connected me with my sense of love and tenderness, and felt affirmed by moments related to purpose. I felt able to rest and surrender.
- My favorite place to practice yoga is Studio 34 in West Philly. It’s excellent cross training for any vocation or modality, allowing for greater flexibility, strength, and balance. What I benefit from the most from in yoga is mindfulness. I am present with my breath, my mind stills, and I connect with my personal sense of inner strength.
There are endless ways to heal. Time spent in the woods on a scenic trail is clarifying, the sound, smell, and sensation of the ocean and beach has healing properties, and exercise gets the blood pumping and endorphins flowing. My favorite form of cardio is riding my bicycle around town.
There is powerful purpose in taking the time to heal. When we are more whole as individuals, we are more resilient for the purposeful work we show up for. Healing allows us to release what we inevitably take in that isn’t generative. And we embody what it is to be compassionate and generous to the world around us when we practice that for ourselves.