I’m a busy witch and a busy human.
I love doing and checking things off lists and offering what I can to support and serve community.
But my lists often include things that pour my cup outward instead of pouring things back to me.
The pandemic really made that clear. Because I needed new tools to manage the new levels of exhaustion (even as I did less), I realized the vital, crucial importance of taking care of my needs too.
My capacity was zilch at the beginning of this new-way-of-the-world.
I was tired beyond tired. I was stressed beyond stressed. I couldn’t see things getting better, whatever better was going to mean.
I walked miles around the neighborhood. I researched masks and bought overpriced antibacterial wipes.
But, it wasn’t enough.
And it became clear that I was out of practice with caring for me.
Self Care is a Problem and a Necessity
“We need to figure out where we can refill our cups. And while we may not be able to escape the lives we have to live and the jobs we have to hold, there are ways to keep ourselves buoyed.
As in The Handmaid’s Tale, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”
We won’t.” — “Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Health & Well-being“
Self care sounds cheesy sometimes, often depicted as the box of chocolate and the gooey face mask, as though either of these steps are going to solve capitalism, systemic racism, oppression in its many insidious forms, etc.
But how do we care for our unique selves when no one else will?
How do we pull ourselves off the floor of this world?
I don’t know what will work for you. I didn’t know what would work for me until I got quiet enough to listen to my body. I listened to what it needed one day, trusted what I heard, thought about how it felt, and made mental notes to do that thing again. Or not.
What Works for Me (For Now, Anyway)
Here are some things that seem to work for me:
Unstructured time – I try to give myself a little time each week to do whatever I feel like doing. This means: no goals. No schedule. No tending to anyone else, aside from my kittens. And myself.
Nature – Even standing in the backyard helps me resource. Sometimes, I go for longer walks. Sometimes, I go to the ocean. I just get out of where I am into the places that are bigger and wider and beautiful. I exist within them. I move my body or I find a stillness I can’t find at the computer.
Water – I now know that when I’m feeling a little angry or upset, I need to drink some water before anything else. I have no idea why this is true for me. But I am a better, more present and patient person when I drink enough water.
Daily practice – I am rebuilding my daily practice(s), and I know it’s worth it. Not only do I remember the connection to the divine, but I also have one place in the day where I am showing up for my magick. Even if the rest of the day is about holding containers, there is one place for me. And my tired heart.
I don’t need to spend money. I don’t even need to travel anywhere. I can do many of these thing from bed if that feels right (opening the windows and feeling the breeze while I rest my head on my pillow is perfect).
The Tired Witch and Wanderer
I talk about coming back to your needs not to perpetuate navel gazing or inner journeys alone. I offer this because I realize how much this world has said it’s better to put everyone else before you. And sometimes, it can be the right call.
But if you’re doing that 99.9% of the time, where are you? Where is your heart? Where is your value? Where is your moment to restore yourself to come back recharged and radiant?
And of course, you don’t need to identify as a witch. I want this for all humans.
Even as it is messy and complicated, there is space for you.
There is space for the moment where you arrive as your own love spell. Where you meet yourself in all of your exhaustion or anger or worry or desperation.
Where you meet yourself, take your hand, and remember you deserve care too.