“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while…including you.” — Anne Lamott
We all know that we're supposed to have certain activities and techniques to keep ourselves at optimal equilibrium.
We're "supposed" to meditate. We're "supposed" to unwind in a chick-flick worthy bubble bath. We "should" be drinking a green smoothie every day because it's good for us.
But maybe what serves you best are not those things.
Be suspicious of anything that's justified with "because it's good for you," because there's no one-size-fits-all health care or self care.
Maybe sitting down for 30 minutes with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath, makes you spiral out into an anxiety-filled panic.
Maybe a bubble bath is claustrophobia-inducing and about as far from relaxing as possible to you.
Maybe you've tried over and over to hide kale in your smoothie and somehow it still makes you gag every time, regardless of flavor combination.
Personally, I relish my quiet self time. I luxuriate in long hot baths with salts and oils and candles nearby. And I would be wildly contented if I drank a green smoothie every single day, regardless of season or situation, for the rest of my life.
For me, I know that yoga, journaling, writing, hiking, walking, meditating, intentional eating, time in water, pulling tarot cards, reading and occasionally running are what help me to rebalance.
But maybe those activities don't call to you.
Maybe for you, what you need to reground are regular mornings sitting on your porch with tea.
Belly on the floor, playing with a string of yarn and your cat. Crossfit. Thrice weekly trips to the dog park with your pooch, feeling the sun on your face as you toss a tennis ball again and again. Soccer in the park.
Maybe swimming laps gets you back in your body when you feel off kilter. Maybe painting or singing or ceramics does the job.
We all have these "rehoming" devices that help us come back to ourselves, and they are unique to each of us.
But are you actually using yours?
I know I'm deepest in the shit when I'm not doing my "rehoming" activities for myself.
My ego actively avoids doing the things that I know will reground me.
Months will pass without unrolling my yoga mat, without writing my thoughts in my journal, without sustained, deliberate movement in my body or routine stimulation of my mind.
Rehoming activities are, by nature, self-reflective.
Sometimes, unconsciously, we don't want to see what gets reflected back to us.
Stepping onto my yoga mat will show me the full range of pain and beauty in my deficiencies, as well as the self-compassion required to lean into and shape those deficiencies into something better.
It's much more immediately satisfying for the ego to worry, to numb out with salt and sugar, and to binge watch episodes of Grey's Anatomy that I've already seen.
But while you may temporarily soothe the ego, there are deeper needs that remain unmet.
It's not enough to just sit back, plug in and numb out.
Sometimes relaxation is what your body calls for, but you know the difference between what distances you from yourself and what truly comforts on your deepest level.
We don't do the things that center us because they get in the way of the ego's incessant screeches.
But if we want to truly feel our best, we have to put aside our compulsions for immediacy for what is lasting.
What are the activities you say you love, but somehow never do, or never do enough of?
Go do them.
Even better, schedule them for yourself and commit to these sacred calendar events.
You want to feel better?
You have to do the work.
Allow yourself this back and forth dance between leaving your needs temporarily and coming back home to your body and your heart.
Go easy on yourself, because the process of being human is always navigating this elasticity between states of the self.
But make a commitment: your wellbeing is your absolute priority, because nothing works as well as you want it to unless you're taking care of yourself first.
We can't always feel completely centered, but we can feel it more often.
You owe it to yourself, because no one will take as good of care of yourself as you will.
No one can meet your needs like you can.