Monday, March 12, 2007

TO WRITE: How Do You Care for Yourself?
Last time I circulated a notepad asking for writing topic suggestions in our class meeting at Stanford, I got an amazing mix of responses. We've already written using several of them as our jumping-off point -- from "joy" to "patriarchy" to "I'm afraid of" to imagining being "rich beyond dreams."

But one topic that comes up very regularly on such lists is how to manage your moods. And on this page, the topic of "self-care" came up specifically. Everyone who has coped with a mood disorder, even for a short time, has probably gravitated toward some activities that feel self-soothing or calming or activating or encouraging, depending on what you need at that time. When I'm depressed, reading a novel or writing about the situation over a big cup of coffee at Starbucks helps considerably. It doesn't remove the depression, but it reminds me that there are still things I can enjoy - even if only a little bit - and that I have the ability to seek out those things. And, in my case, the jolt of caffeine doesn't hurt either.

Play with this...
What self-care techniques can you recommend to others? Does walking the dog help you bond with her and get some exercise? Does herbal tea help you get a much-needed good night's sleep? And what about writing -- you may not feel up to crafting a poem, but does a good freewrite in your journal ease your burden a bit? Write continuously for 20 minutes on self-care and see what you discover -- then share your findings with a friend who could use them, and perhaps pick up a few tips from her too.

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