Sound familiar? I was listening to this podcast last weekend with one of my very favorite artists, Kelly Rae Roberts, about her experience with creativity, restoration, and setting boundaries. It inspired me to write about Energetic Self-Care 101 today.
During her interview Kelly talks about the 'work hard, burn out, recover, do over' cycle. I think we all have done some version of this before. Have you ever pushed yourself to the point of exhaustion so that you had to take a break?
I've written extensively about how to work with and heal anxiety or overwhelm once it's already hit. Today I want to talk about Energetic Self-Care as a prevention practice.
First we need to define Energetic Self-Care:
"To create life through life-affirming practices. To re-establish a relationship with our emotional bodies. To change how we are is to change how we act. Move beyond thinking about taking care of yourself and start a practice that shapes, reshapes, and transforms how you actually are being."
- Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Energetic Self-Care is the practice of tuning in to your body, your needs, your stress and either putting some prevention in place for bigger symptoms like pain and burn out or healing them all together through your energy body.
We are all composed of energy. You can even feel your energy field if you slowly move your hands together - it takes on a beach ball like shape and will feel a bit restrictive to keep coming together. This is your energy field.
Everyday you exert energy through action, conversation, thoughts, and feelings and you renew energy through food, breath, self-awareness, and self-care. I am a firm believer that physical symptoms in the body not caused by a direct trauma or accident are created out of either a depletion or abundance of energy in the body and energy field.
Energetic Self-Care is about fine tuning that balance between depletion and abundance so that you feel restored, calm, present, and capable.
To get you started here are my favorite Energetic Self-Care Practices. The key word here is practice. Don't aim to master these but to cultivate space in your life for them.
Intentional breathing is a restorative practice. Try 5 minutes of deep breathing with a focused awareness on the in-breath and out-breath from the belly. Try to move your breath deep into your belly and out of your chest or shoulders. Follow the breath in and out. This form of breathing also tells your limbic system responsible for fight/flight/freeze that you're safe.
There are many forms of yoga you can try on, I suggest beginning with Vinyasa because of its fluid nature. Yoga can be complex. uncomfortable, and meditative all at the same time. I am very new to yoga but have quickly fallen in love with the way it gives me a space to be totally present with my body.
Strength training is my favorite way to feel empowered. If you are experiencing any kind of energetic depletion then strength training is a fast way to remind yourself and your body that you are capable of literal strength.
Walking & Hiking
Walking and hiking can be a great mindfulness practice or even a moving meditation. Carve out some time for a walk or hike without interruption like taking your phone with you. Just be present with your body, your breath, and your environment. Walking can be very re-centering if you're experiencing an onset of stress. Even 5 minutes can totally change your state of mind and energy.
Physical touch is healing and soothing. It also releases a strong hormone called oxytocin. If you don't have regular touch or intimacy in your life then massage or bodywork is highly recommended.
Meditation in its simplest form is being present with what is. It doesn't have to be about emptying or reaching higher planes of existence. Just be with where you are. Notice your thoughts as coming and going without interacting with them. Become the observer and not the engager.
Since we get our physical renewal from food, being mindful with cooking is a great energetic practice. Carve out space to try a new recipe or challenge yourself with something you've always wanted to cook. Invite friends over and share in a community around food.
Journal writing can be so much more than a dump of thoughts. It can be a mindful interaction with the parts of ourselves we don't regularly converse with. Our needs and fears, our desires and dreams all have a voice in the journal. If you're experiencing an abundance of energy then journal writing can help funnel it somewhere. If you're experiencing a depletion of energy then the journal can give you sacred space to be heard and validated.
Creativity of any kind is renewing for your energy body. Most of us tend to have very structured lives. We like to organize and plan because ultimately it gives us safety and security. But being creative can tap into a different kind of certainty - the kind that occurs when you go with the flow and trust in it. Give yourself free reign to be creative, no matter how silly!
Schedule your energetic self-care like you would any other appointment that services your health or well-being. I know scheduled self-care might seem a bit odd at first but then you know you're committed to practicing prevention. What's worked to help you restore your energy? Share by leaving a comment below!
In light and love,