Most of us know we need to take care of ourselves if we have any hope of nurturing the other human and other sentient beings in our worlds. When we ignore care for ourselves, we have very little energy left over with which to mindfully engage with others. Although we know this intellectually, we may or may not act on it practically. It’s always easy to be “just too busy.”
I believe that taking a day — or part of a day — now and then to engage in self-nurture is a must. I’ve found that if I can carve out a morning or evening once every week or two for extended times of walking meditation, sitting meditation, listening to soothing, calming music, and other forms of self-care, it pays off in terms of my long-term productivity and mental health. I am also better able to contribute to the happiness of those around me, because my own sense of rootedness and solidity radiate out naturally and without effort.
What recharges your batteries? What activities fill you with a sense of wholeness, of completeness, of being filled to overflowing with abundance? Those are the things to bring to the self-care aspect of your practice.
I can think of several other activities that other mindfulness practitioners engage in. Long walks in natural settings are always popular; so are losing oneself inside a craft, an art or a sport. Long, hot baths. Calligraphy and tea. Dancing. Caring for animals…the list goes on and on. Any activity that promotes a sense of flow, of natural expenditure of energy that recreates energy and vitality is a viable candidate.
To be mindful of the need for self-nurture is to dwell in awareness of both our bodies and minds. It empowers us to be agents of positive change in other people’s lives. One of the best ways to achieve these results is to do the things that make you unaware of the passage of time — and do them as often as you can!