Checking in with myself
Week 15 of the Great Wake-Up was another week of reflection, letting us take stock of the changes so far.
My first reaction to this week's challenge was, "what, again?" It had felt good looking back over the month last week but I wanted fresh meat! So I started trying to invent something for myself, which turned out to be... reflection.
Taking inspiration from a Psychologies article (thanks!) from a few months ago, I started a new practice. Each night, just before bed, I sit on the edge of the bed and rub lotion into my feet. This may not seem like a big deal, but it's a tiny act of self-love that I've never made time for before. I thought this year I was going to make time for my body, and I've added lots of exercise that it has, largely, thanked me for, but it had never crossed my mind to be kind to my body as well as giving it opportunity to work.
The first night, I noticed the callouses - ugh! I was definitely glad I'd hit on this practice at that point! The second night, I'd been for a really long walk, and I noticed the heat still in my feet from the work they'd done for me; it felt nice to give something back. The third night was calming, a little ritual to ease me to sleep after a good day. The fourth night is when I really felt the benefit!
That night I started thinking about how many miles I've walked since my training started. I thought about being kind to myself. And I thought about what I'd learned about myself as my feet carried me those hundreds (yep!) of miles. It turns out pleasure can be complex; from the start, I loved walking. It felt so freeing to just be able to walk out of my door and leave everything behind for a while, and let my mind wander while my feet carried me through the countryside. Then training ramped up... It turns out, I don't like walking long distances. It's boring, and that same solitude I crave in my walks loses its charm after a couple of hours. Then I notice how much my feet hurt!
For me, an hour of walking is an invigorating break that fires me up. An hour and a half is an indulgence that lets my soul breathe. More than two hours is just a slog - and it's the bit at the end that you remember! So where my reflections have taken me this week is about owning my specific pleasures, and understanding what works for me. I'm not an "endurance" girl, I like my pleasures in manageable, balanced chunks. That self-knowledge feels really important to me; we all work so hard that it feels valuable to understand, not vaguely but precisely, how to give myself a treat when I can.
Five minutes of massaging my hard-working feet each night, for me, is sheer bliss!