If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, then, what am “I”?
And if not now, when?
(Hillel the Elder – Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14)
I always am fascinated by the order of this excerpt from Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers). Hillel, the holy Mishnaic sage, prioritizes selfcare before care of others! First off, he states, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” Then he says, “But if I am only for myself, then, what am I? Finally, he says, “move it, move it!” A more recent statement from the successor of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch said, “A kleiner loch in kerper is a groiser loch in neshoma – a minor physical problem or defect is a great spiritual one.” Or stated differently, if we take care of our body, we will have greater ease to “access” to our emotional and spiritual side.
Last week we spoke about the importance of self-care with the metaphor of a woodchopper needing to sharpen his axe before chopping down a tree. People say they don’t have time to take from their hectic lives, but without devoting opportunities for self-care, our axe, so to speak, is dull. In the next few installments, I would like to prove to you, that anyone, anywhere, often, and briefly, can benefit substantially through short self-care sessions. I call this work, Micro-Self-Care.” Literally, in a few minutes, you can refresh, renew, and reboot yourself in the midst of a busy day. Here, I am sharing my “Micro-Self-Care Activities, A-Z” poster with you. This pdf has 26 self-compassionate activities that can be done with little time or effort expended and can give buoyancy to your day.
Each exercise takes under five minutes. Having frequent, brief breaks for refreshment, you can prevent burnout, boredom, improve you resilience, your immune response and more. By doing various self-compassionate activities such as these throughout the day, you can enhance your “good hormones” such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. This is the busy person’s “micro-self-care” system, when longer sessions are not possible. The research supports the benefit of short and frequent self-care activities – “little and often.” Speckle your day with a few of them. Some of my. Clients set up phone alarms to be reminded to take a ‘quickie’ break. Feel free to contact the me for any techniques referenced here.