Shirley of Gluten Free Easily is our host this week for the self care retreat Cheryl and I are hosting, and her post on self-care through connecting with others completely blew me away, as it hit so many different topics that are all so relevant to this theme. So many parts of her post resonated with me, and I think they will with you as well. I encourage you to read it. Shirley also hosted a fabulous guest blogger on the topic of self care.
There are so many ways to nourish ourselves through relationships, and I am lucky to find it with my husband, friends and some of my family. That said, one aspect I did want to bring up, which is more uncomfortable, but nevertheless an aspect of self-care and relationships is, what do you do with friendships and relationships that leave you drained, depleted or hurt. I am a big proponent of finding a way to limit such interactions,but it is hard,and we all have different strategies to do that.
When I initially went gluten-free, it was during a period of time where I (thankfully) had no work social engagements and could afford to completely eliminate eating out for 2 months, which I knew I needed to do from a physical perspective. Emotionally, too, I knew this was important. I had already cut out dairy and refined sugar and eggs and fried foods and a host of things, but was still experiencing bad cravings for all of the above, and generally was having a hard time being around foods I could not have anymore. Fortunately, two years later, I am fairly unaware of most of these foods in restaurant settings (yay for progress!) but at the time the cravings gave me bad headaches and also upset me a lot. I had a friend with whom dinner out was our standard social interaction, particularly because we were both very busy. I remember saying to her “I really cannot eat out during the next few weeks, and I cannot sit at a restaurant and watch you eat and just have herbal tea because it is giving cravings” and she would not budge, despite suggestions of a walk, a manicure, a yoga class, Starbucks – her answer to all of these was that she could only socialize over meals as she was tremendously busy.
At the time I was tremendously hurt, though hindsight allows me more compassion – she was clearly at a very overwhelming point in her life, and that was a boundary that helped her, but unfortunately, I could not budge on my end, and neither could she. The compromise was that we did not interact for a months, and eventually did find common ground with going for a walk or, since I was comfortable eating out again at a small list of places, meeting for a meal. I also later found out she herself had a lot of health problems she was ignoring, while I was taking mine head on, and I think that contributed to further discomfort in our friendship during that time. The whole episode was an important lesson in self-care for me, and in relationships. It also made me really value friends who later said things like “let’s go out for dinner, but I will let you pick the restaurant since that makes things easier for you.”
This virtual self-care retreat is to inspire you all to make July a month of reflecting on self-care and the many ways to nourish ourselves. We encourage everyone to participate in this event in a way that feels appropriate to them, whether through personal reflection, journal or other self-care. If you would like to share your experience with self-care, we would love to include you in the experience, whether you join us for one week or every week. You can write generally about self-care, or focus on one of the themes (movement, food, family/friends/pets, creativity and meditation and mindfulness), or write every week about each of the themes. We ask that you link back to this post so that more people can learn about this retreat, and leave a comment for the weekly theme host, too!. If you would like to be included in our roundup, please email a link to your post, along with your name and blog name, to us at selfcareretreat at gmail dot com by July 30, 2011. Feel free to use the badge in your posts. Non-bloggers who would like to contribute,please email the full text to the same address and it will be included in the roundup.
Be well and take care of yourselves.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers