The number of articles and posts on self-care have exploded in recent years. A popular hashtag is self care Sunday. While it’s great to have a defined day to think about your self-care, filling your cup is more than just a weekly event. Having a consistent practice to restore and recharge is essential to maintaining a satisfying career. Here are a few strategies to consider adding to your routine:
Whether you choose one or more of the above strategies or implement ideas inspired by this article, decide to be proactive about nurturing your own career well-being. Create a personalized plan that works for you.
What strategies do you use to help you fill your cup?
I am back from my first virtual meditation retreat. I’ve attended in person silent meditation retreats in the past, the longest was over a long weekend. So the thought of a 7-day silent meditation retreat was both inviting and terrifying.
I'm still processing the insights gleaned over the past week and will be sharing pearls of wisdom with you over the coming weeks.
For now, I simply wanted to share one of the benefits I gained at the very beginning of the retreat. The teacher asked us to close our eyes and think about our intentions for the retreat.
Now I had thought about what I wanted to accomplish during this week, but to my surprise I heard a voice that answered the question differently. Here’s what came up:
1. Slow Down - Initially I took this to mean slow down physically, but over the course of the week I realized that it was an invitation to practice slowing down mentally and emotionally too. Making space and time to notice my racing thoughts and allowing them to settle like the falling snow in a snow globe. Also creating enough room to allow the rising of emotions and learning how to be with them, especially the uncomfortable ones.
2. Connect With Your Heart - I tend to analyze things a lot (maybe over analyze is more accurate). As a result, I spend more time in my head, thinking about what to do rather than taking some time to connect with my heart. This practice is already helping to inform my decisions as well as how I show up in the world.
3. Practice Loving Yourself - This one for me is the hardest of all. I’m really good at extending love and compassion to others. Giving it to myself in a genuine, open-hearted way is less familiar. To help me in this area I’ve been noticing how I speak to myself. Not just the actual words used, but also the tone of voice. If I hear harsh tones, I practice softening it. And I’ve been asking myself, “How can I care for myself today?” I am exploring additional ways that I can deepen this practice over time. Stay tuned.
So I have decided to carry these intentions with me from the retreat and bring them into my daily life. I’m looking forward to the lessons I’ll learn and the insights that will come. And I will approach all of these aspirations with an attitude of curiosity and non-judgment.
Have you been on retreat? Do you use intentions to guide your daily life? I’m curious to hear about your experiences. Share in the comments below or send me a note at Michelle@drmichellebailey.com.
I attended the funeral of a dear friend this weekend. He was only 3 years older than me.
In addition to the loss felt by the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one, there is the stark reminder of impermanence. It got me thinking about what really matters most.
As another week begins, I asked myself how I would answer the question, "what mattered most", at the end of my life.
Here's what came up for me:
Did I welcome everyone and everything?
This speaks to how open-minded and open-hearted I was in my interactions with the people, places and things I came into contact with each day.
How well was I able to suspend judgment and assumptions? How gracefully did I respond to situations that were uninvited in my life?
If I were to give myself a grade, I wouldn't be looking for perfection. Instead, I would focus on my intention for meeting people where they are, extending a little grace, and being willing to learn from my mistakes.
Did I empower those around me?
One thing that is very important to me is to remind others (and myself) that we have choice. In each moment of each day.
In every breath we take...on the inhale and the exhale.
Even when it seems like we don't have any options.
We always can control how we show up and respond to what life brings our way. That is up to us.
We can make decisions from a place of courage and confidence and strength.
The decision to speak up. The decision to let go. The decision to say no.
This is not to say that making those decisions are easy. But, they are yours to make.
Did I love fiercely and compassionately?
Love. It is such a simple word and yet so charged for so many.
I want to love unconditionally. I want to love hard and with abandon. I want those around me to feel my love.
And maybe, to feel that depth of love for themselves, if only for a few moments.
Love is such a powerful force. In my opinion, one of the most powerful forces that we have control over.
Love yourself. Love other people. Love all sentient beings everywhere.
Did I light the way for others?
One of my regular practices is to see the light in myself and in others. I say this is a practice, because it sometimes feels difficult to see the light in someone that causes harm to others.
When this is the case, I imagine the person as a young child (as a pediatrician I have a huge soft spot for children). This helps me to become curious about why they may be showing up as they are. It ignites compassion in me which opens my heart and allows me to see them in a different light...to actually see their light.
I want to live my life in such a way that others want to see the light in others. And I want to reflect their own light back to them. Because in all honesty, it's usually much harder for us to see the light in ourselves.
We are so hard on ourselves. And unkind. I think it's a precious gift to help others see their own light and in doing so, it helps us to pull back the veil so that we can see a glimpse of our own light.
So at the end of my life, I want to know for sure that
I was welcoming
I was empowering
I was loving
I was lighting the way
That mine was a life WELL lived.
What matters most to you? I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on this for yourself.
And allow the answers to inform the work that you do every day - not just in your vocation, but in the way you choose to show up to live each day.
I'd love to hear what matters to you. Share in the comments below or drop me a line, Michelle@drmichellebailey.com.
Have you ever read a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book?
I was introduced to them when I was looking for a gift for my oldest grandson. It was recommended on a list of gift ideas for preteen boys. If you haven't heard of them before, the reader is presented with two or three options at various points in the story. “To follow the man into the cave, turn to page 43. To return to the village, turn to page 57.”
It’s a really cool concept that turns a story into a game. You passively enjoy the plot for a while, then you get to dive in and make your move.
These books are like training wheels for your life. The only difference is, in your “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, you are the audience and the author.
Every day in your real life you are presented with choices. If you don’t like them, you can create a new one. Sure, it may seem that your options are limited by finances, family, employment or education, but remember this…
YOU are a powerful, intelligent, creative human being
with ample, unseen resources.
Your life is your choice, your design.
And the really fun part is this…you aren’t doing it alone. You are writing your story with the help of everyone around you. Your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers give you fresh choices and story prompts every day.
When you activate your inner author, other people’s choices become inspirations for your own. Obstacles become hurdles to leap over and bounce points to send your adventure in exciting new directions. Opportunities create new paths to explore. Every moment is a chance to make your next move and design your story and craft the adventures you want to live.
Ask yourself, who are the characters in your story, and what role or influence do they play in your life? Who do you spend your time with? How do you spend your time? Where do live? What is your lifestyle? What do you do that brings you ultimate fulfillment in your life?
It’s your story, you get to design it. And the sky is the limit.
What helps you to exercise your power to design your life?
The Physician Career Path Reimagined
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