Claim Your Care: A Challenge

photo by Jill E. Williams

Last week, I did cardiovascular exercise for the second time since August.  This from a woman who champions self-care and who identifies moving her body as one of the best, most vital ways I enjoy caring for myself.

You see, I upped my teaching load this semester- jumped from teaching one class to three.   And when I did that, I designed each class’s syllabus in a vacuum.  I thought about the experience I wanted every single student to have and not how that experience might look on my desk.  I kid you not when I tell you that between my three classes, I will have graded just under 2000 writing assignments when the semester is up.

Once I realized what I had done, a few weeks into the semester, I had to figure out my way through it.  And the only way I could figure out to get through it was to wake up early every morning not to work out but to work and to then work a few more hours every night after Happy went down for the night.

It’s been insane and grossly unlike how I like to live which is with space and breathing room to be creative and thoughtful and not racing.  But I had created what I had created.  The only solution was to get through it.  And so I let go of everything I did just for me (this is my chronic issue.  We teach what we are meant to learn and not letting all of me go when I am in too deep is what I chronically have to learn over and over again).  And so, as Thanksgiving approached, I knew that while my teaching load would be lighter for the week with one less day of teaching, I also knew that my parenting load would be heavier with a few less days of preschool.  And with the events to get to, the meals to make, the highways to travel, etc., there was no real way to do it really well without taking care of me.  And so I mapped out 45 minutes a few days a week to be mine for movement.

And it has been glorious.

That has been a good reminder to me and since I, the woman who preaches self-care all the time, needed the reminder during what is about to become a crazy busy time, I’ve decided to make my job be to not just claim time for my self-care every day during the month of December but to also encourage you to claim yours.  Every weekday this month (one of my self-care behaviors is that I try to take the weekend off from being wired), I’ll be asking you to claim your care:  to share how you specifically cared for you that day or will care for you that day.  By claiming that commitment, we are more likely to carry through and when we are well-cared for, it’s amazing the ripple effect that care can have on everyone else around us.  You can claim your care by doing something, anything, for your mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

I am not sure that waking up at the crack of dawn to work for the last few months dramatically altered how much I got done—I still feel chronically behind and like I’ll never catch up.  I wonder, even, if working out everyday like I normally would actually would have boosted my productivity.  I just know that I got desperate there and acting from desperation is never acting from a place of power.

So, note taken.  And focus realigned.  I’ll be claiming my care all month long in December with the expectation that I’ll start next semester with a revised syllabus and spirit.

Are you ready to claim your care?  Is there a way that you have let your own care go recently?  How do you anticipate claiming your care in December?  What is your favorite way to care for you?

Want to see the claim your care conversations in December?  Some will happen here but others will happen on Facebook and Twitter (#claimyourcare will be the hashtag).  Make sure you are following me in both places!

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3 responses to “Claim Your Care: A Challenge”

  1. Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School

    Movement always falls away first for me and yet when I make it a priority, I feel so much better.

    Is there a way that you have let your own care go recently? I have been skipping the gym and instead using my Ruby-free hours to work online. Or mess around. Depends on how you look at it.

    How do you anticipate claiming your care in December? I walked everyday this Thanksgiving week for an hour – first thing (my best time for walking) and I felt great. I am pledging to do this every day in December. My gym goal is 2 20 minute weight workouts PLUS at 1 soak, sauna, steam.

    What is your favorite way to care for you? Yoga! Lucky me, I’ve signed up for a Yoga for Holiday Stress series, so I have 4 yoga dates this month. Also see above Church of Quiet.

    Such a great idea! I may have to blog about it too. xo

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