Taking turtle steps

Taking turtle steps

Lately I have been asking myself: am I taking enough care of myself? I’d love to write that I’m excellent in this department. That I’m totally on top of everything and living in a total state of flow.

How that would be a lie.

I have discovered that I am at times quite bad at taking care of myself. As a result I easily find myself somewhat exhausted and overwhelmed. However: even though I am tired these days, it is a different kind of tiredness compared to the way I felt before I moved to Spain. As I have written before I have spent years of my life feeling that I’m struggling with life on a daily basis. I was more occupied with surviving the waves of life than actually living it. Like a victim of life instead of an active and responsible participant. Today I am happy to have landed in a space inside myself where I feel fully capable of taking care of myself in a grounded way. I feel tired but it feels like a more healthy form of tiredness if you understand what I mean.

Today I know how to take care of myself, the challenge is just to actually do it instead of only talking (or writing) about it. And a challenge it truly is for me! So I ask myself: what can I change?

Instead of thinking about big changes I try to focus on little things I can do to take better care of myself. I believe it’s easier to take little steps than trying these grand things like for example: from now on (and until forever) I will be asleep by ten o’clock every weekday / work out twice a week / *insert whatever resolution you may have*. It is my experience that these things have a tendency to last a couple of days or weeks but then turn out to be not sustainable.

The brilliant author and life-coach Martha Beck says:

A ‘turtle’ step is the least I can do, divided in half. It’s also the only way I’ve ever achieved anything.

I love the concept of turtle steps! I have found that whatever issue I am dealing with in my life, it helps me to think about what turtle step I can take to move forward. Here are some examples of how I’m turtle-stepping right now:

I say no to some particular small things right now because my life is pretty hectic at the moment. For example no to drinking alcohol. This is about making sure I am getting enough quality sleep as alcohol unfortunately affects my sleep quite negatively. But I also say yes to things. The other day I calculated that I have been working too many hours so I decided to treat myself to a cinema visit in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. I love that so much: sinking into a cinema chair and enjoying a good movie on a big screen. It’s about saying yes to myself.

The following is a simple exercise that I really like and try to do frequently in my daily life. I can highly recommend it! It’s about filling in the last part of the following sentence:

If I say yes to myself, I would… 

It makes me happy when I have an answer for whatever the last part of this sentence is and when I allow myself to follow that feeling. It is what made me end up in the cinema on a weekday afternoon, it is what made me tell my husband: I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight and it is what made me decide to work from home one day instead of commuting 2.5 hours. It is small things combined that for me really make a difference!

So, am I taking enough care of myself? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. However: forward I move, in turtle steps. It’s not going fast, it’s not a lot, but I do small things every day. To be continued!

Photo: Jeremy Bishop – unsplash.com


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