FoodCorps Friday- Where O Where, Is My Self-Care?
By, H.A.B.E.S.H.A, Inc. service member, Tiffany Jones
When I began my journey as a FoodCorps service member, I didn’t know what to expect. The thought of being able to pursue two of my passions–working with kids and growing food–really kept me excited and anxious. But in the midst of all of this, life got a little busy.
As a kid, I knew that I was born to serve. My heart was always open to helping someone else or to simply be a listening ear, if that’s all they needed. Many of us take on jobs that allow us to help others in some kind of way; a customer service rep, a caregiver, an usher at a church, a farmer, a military representative, even a mechanic. One of the things I’ve learned along the way is, with service comes great sacrifice.
Some of the things we sacrifice are time with family and friends, money, and caring for ourselves. Those of us that choose to serve, are selfless, giving, loving, caring, and thoughtful. The problem is, we tend to neglect ourselves of the things we need, in order to help someone else.
A few weeks ago I asked one of my kids at the garden, “How are you doing?”
“I’m fair,” he replied.
My first instinct was to dig and find out what was bothering him, but before I could ask he said, “Nothing is wrong, I’m just ok. I’m fair.”
I paused for a few minutes. Normally when we’re asked about our day, we give generic responses like, “I’m doing good,” or, “I’m fine.”
His words made me realize something: I had to be honest with myself like that young man was. All of the transitioning I’ve gone through in the last few months had actually been a bit overwhelming and the one thing I’ve failed to do was maintain self-care. I didn’t realize I had not been to yoga, art class, my women’s group, or music lessons in at least six months.
The things that I enjoy doing to help keep me balanced physically and mentally, had not been anywhere in sight on my agenda. Even though we talked about self-care in training, sometimes we’re so busy saving the world that we don’t have time for self-care.
With that being said, I have 5 tips to help keep your self-care in check:
- Breathe- Sometimes our days move 100 miles per hour and we forget to breathe. If this happens to you, close your eyes, inhale slowly, hold it for five seconds and then release all of your air. Repeat this two more times (unless you need more) then proceed with day or activity.
- Stretch- Whether you are stretching your body through yoga/tai chi, or stretching your brain by reading or meditation, these exercises help to relieve tension.
- Write- If all else fails, write it out! Your thoughts, feelings, joys or frustrations can not always be verbally expressed, so take to your pen and pad to write about. This is one of my favorite methods of self-care
- Seek love- Surround yourself with people that love you. This always makes me feel better. A hug or an “I love you” can go a long way.
- Rest- We are so busy that we miss the proper amount of rest we need to function at our best. If you find time for a 10 or 15 minute nap, utilize it, you’ll feel better. Also, If you can even get an extra hour or 2 of rest at bedtime, you’ll feel a whole lot better.
Kids always have a way of teaching you something when you least expect it.