Does anyone else feel like Fall is LOOMING over us in a MENACING way? Or is that just me?
I love fall, I just hate the end of summer. In fact, fall is my temporal landmark – it’s when I am best at resetting, committing, and setting goals that are actually achievable. I even bought myself a new planner to round out the year (they are pretty cheap by this point!). So why is fall looming? Even though I feel crazy busy and stressed all year, I feel like the fall moves at warp speed. We plan and hold our special town meeting. We begin to develop our operating and capital budgets, holding hearings and making difficult choices. All of the performance reviews for my direct reports are due. The Select Board adopted a robust list of goals I need to keep moving. I am facilitating two workshops and participating in a third at the International City/County Management Association conference in October, for which I am a tiny bit under-prepared. Add to this the end of summer return of our residents from the Cape and points north, on-boarding new staff, and all of those projects that we put off until “after Labor Day.” Are you hyperventilating now too?
But you know what? We can do hard things. For goodness sake, the last 18 months told us that, if nothing else. We can do this, we have been doing this, and we are still here, still doing this. Let’s give ourselves (our sometimes stressed, out of shape, and a bit heavier selves) a pat on the back.
So how do we tackle the hard things, the dread and the overwhelm? With a little bit of self care. According to Glennon Doyle, self-care itself is a hard thing. “Real self-care is being the Joan of Arc of your life. It’s like, looking at the battle that you need to fight…going straight towards it.” Self care involves listing all the ways that your needs are not getting met, and then tackling them one at a time. She recommends finding a moment or two every day where you connect with your soul and not your role. This could be walking, listening to a song, texting a friend, or just going outside. For the really, really busy people (city managers with little children, for instance) just taking a moment to remember that you have a soul would be a good first step.
To combat the dread associated with the menacing fall, I am determined to add some self-care. I had been pondering going back to the gym and to yoga. I hadn’t been back since March, 2020 and couldn’t conceive of putting anything else on my calendar. And then a magic thing happened. Orange Theory Fitness called and offered me a free class. So I went, and re-joined, and have managed to fit the 8 classes a month into my calendar along with a few yoga classes. It dawned on me that if I didn’t do either I would be a stress ball. So why not be a stronger, more Zen stress ball? (Well, Zen-ish, it’s me we are talking about.)
My other recent self-care discovery is Ted Lasso. I know I am late to this party, but I am so glad I found it at just the right time. I’ve turned into the kind of Ted Lasso ambassador that you expect from that friend who just joined cross fit. So my husband got me a jersey from the fictional AFC Richmond team and I am in heaven. And then the meditation app that I
think about using use created a five-day, Ted Lasso radical happiness meditation challenge. Maybe this is a way to jump start my meditation practice?.
Friends, I leave you with the words of Glennon Doyle’s daughter Tish Melton: “I’m not the problem, sometimes things fall apart.” Things have been falling apart for a while, and we’ve been handling it. So let’s practice some real self care, because we can do hard things. What will you try this month? “Biscuits with the Boss” anyone?
* We can do hard things is a concept explored by Glennon Doyle in her book Untamed and her podcast “We Can do Hard Things.” Her daughter Tish Melton recorded a song with Brandi Carlile of the same name. Right now, this song is my daily glimpse of soul. You’re welcome.