I’m back on the theme of acceptance today. One of my biggest struggles this week has been the stick I use to beat myself up with when I’m not doing all the things I feel I could be doing to look after myself properly.
This change to autumn weather really hits my energy levels and a pronounced drop in my energy levels is usually accompanied by a drop in my mood. I think I also go into a bit of hibernation mode at this time of year and just want to hamper down into cosy comfort. This week the weather has been strange, although the temperatures have plummeted, on most days there’s been at least a portion of the day when the sun has been shining.
The stick wielding me has jumped on this sunshine, pushing me to go out for my daily walk: Telling me that I not only need the exercise and fresh air, but that the sunshine will be good for my vitamin D levels and that the beautiful light will bring out the best in my natural environment and really lift my spirits. But I just haven’t wanted to go, I just haven’t felt like it, I’ve just wanted to make myself comfortable indoors and ignore the potential benefits of a walk in the sunshine. This pushing and resisting was exhausting, I felt guilty and even more miserable, until I decided to put down the stick.
I suddenly remembered the importance of acceptance and going with the flow of our natural rhythms. My body was telling me I needed to hibernate, my mind was telling me I’d only feel worse if I didn’t do all that I could to look after myself. I decided that I was going to allow my body to do what it needs. I was going to go with the flow of my energy levels and accept myself for having times when I don’t feel like doing all the things that could help me. I realised I needed to trust the impermanence of these feelings and rhythms, that by allowing them to be, they would flow and change.
And actually I’ve enjoyed my hibernation, I’ve enjoyed being ‘lazy’ or perhaps it would be better to say laid back. My mood has lifted and although I still don’t feel any great motivation to go out and enjoy the sunshine and the changing colours of nature, I feel much more cheerful. I’m still doing the other things that I need to do to look after myself. In fact I’m probably looking after myself a lot better by not beating myself up for not doing something my thoughts were telling me I should.
Even when we have days when we don’t feel like doing any of the stuff that we know is helpful it isn’t the end of the world to have day off. What’s important is to be accepting, to go with the flow and to not beat yourself up. We’re unlikely to get stuck in a self-indulgent non-caring mode unless it’s a resistance to nagging thoughts about what we think we should be doing! When given freedom to wax and wane, our self-care impulses are usually pretty reliable!