Saturday, April 20

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Navigating the Vortex: Self-care isn’t selfish

By Gina M. Barrett.

Why is it that when someone you know goes on vacation or declines a request of your time, you sometimes feel they are being selfish?

Can we, instead, shift our perception toward admiring that person for taking such good care of themselves? This is shadow work, originally uncovered by therapist Carl Jung. Look at the positive things that upset you and embody them for yourself. Be inspired by others who know their limits and the level of self-care they need in order to be happy and able to function in their daily life. To have peaceful interactions with coworkers and family members. To be positive and loving in their thoughts and actions.

Post pandemic, I am noticing that many people are having uncontrollable angry reactions. Some say this is astrological, “The Age of Aquarius.” This will be a period of time, over the next 20 years when we will be tested. This process is meant to help us evolve as a culture toward what will be needed for a more challenging future. I think we are being asked to up our level of self-care in order to face these challenges, and to connect in more loving and supportive ways.  

When you feel that judgment come up within you, or jealousy toward another for taking a vacation, not volunteering for your project or doing something for or with you, how can you shift your thoughts? When I feel this jealousy, and I do, I look within. Why can’t I feel joy for that person? 

Instead of feeling jealous, which feels like a low vibration emotion to me, I choose to look at that person as a role model. They remind me to give myself more love and time, more nourishment.

Here are some of the ways that people nourish themselves:

~ Create an early morning and/or before bed yoga, qigong, pranayama, and/or meditation routine.

~Prepare healthy, locally sourced organic meals most of the time.

~Limit your time on technology. Aim for less than two hours a day and alternate days. Take a day or more off between us to come into your own natural rhythm. If you work on a computer all day, take breaks every few hours. Wash your face, take a shower, or walk in nature to clear and rebalance. 

~ Spend time in nature every day.

~ Surround yourself with people who inspire and support you.

~ Express clear and loving boundaries as needed, so that you have the time and space that you need for optimal physical and emotional health.

~ Buy yourself something regularly with the money you earn. Something that makes you feel good. An article of clothing, a gadget, flowers, a piece of jewelry. Go get a massage or mani pedi.  

~ Have your own bank account and always have money saved for emergency housing and transportation. With climate change disasters, artificial intelligence replacing human employees, and mental health issues on the rise, this is important for emotional and physical well-being. Some financial advisors suggest saving a minimum of what you will need to pay your bills for three to six months or more. Being prepared for the unexpected is self-care. Imagine what your life could be like if you aren’t prepared in this way.

~ Make a list of the things that bring you the most joy and do them as often as possible.  

~ Do things that make you laugh.

~ Spend time in healthy environments, both physically and emotionally.

~ Take long weekends and extended vacations, completely unplugged from your work and obligations. Staycations count. We live in a beautiful place. Enjoy it!

~ Create an exercise routine that you do every other day. Be gentle on yourself and give yourself that day off to let the exercise integrate within your body.

~ Do less. Sort through all that fills your time. What is no longer serving your soul and purpose? Can you release those activities or obligations gently and kindly?

~ Ask for help when you need it.

Start building a support system now. Discern carefully who you choose to surround yourself with. These people will have the greatest influence on your life. Questions to ask yourself when creating a support system: Are they giving back to me in the way that I give to them? Do they respond when I am in need? Do they reach out to me for socializing? Are they doing their own inner work daily? How well do they communicate? 

Remember the January Crestone Eagle Four Agreements article. If a new connection doesn’t feel supportive, don’t take it personally. I find that people in Crestone are often navigating a lot, emotionally and physically. There are a lot of introverts living here. In my own experience as a lifelong community builder, it’s not an easy place to create community.

So when you see someone who is taking excellent care of themselves, and also holding strong boundaries in order to do so, remember that self-care isn’t selfish. It creates health, well-being, and the resilience required to live long healthy lives in Crestone. The best health care is self awareness and self care.

These are suggestions and not meant to be a prescription for your unique individual needs. Practice with awareness and agency. Seek a medical professional to discuss your options.

Many of Gina’s suggestions can be found in her free ebook, Connection Post Pandemic, 2nd edition of ‘Lighter: Living Tantra’. 

Gina M. Barrett, MIA, C-IAYT is an international author, trauma informed yoga therapist, somatic eastern movement educator, and equine therapist. To learn more about Gina and to receive her free ebook, visit

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