Practice in Action: Adjusting Expectations

One of the biggest hurdles we face as creatives with invisible illnesses or disabilities is our own expectations of ourselves. They’re often far harsher than what our friends and loved ones desire for us. While they can serve as a benchmark of success, a pacer of sorts, our expectations can become double-edged, forcing us to push ourselves too hard when we don’t have the capacity.

Today I intended to post an article about the brain-gut connection. This clearly isn’t it. It’s also not an apology for missing a post – this is a post! This is a teaching moment, for you and especially for myself. How can I preach self-awareness, self-care, self-everything, and then force myself to keep writing an article that has become so huge, involved and important that it requires restructuring Create All You Can – when I feel as terrible as I do today?

So this is how I’m practicing what I preach.

  • I let myself sleep in. I was in pain when I went to bed, and I slept for 10 hours. (Almost wrote years there.)
  • When I finally woke up, I curled up into child’s pose, immediately. It’s hard for me to do with my knees and ankle, but it’s hugely protective for me. I had an intense, vivid nightmare, the kind that sticks with you for hours, which is something I’ll go into in a later post – because antidepressants, particularly the SNRIs, like I’m on, can cause issue with nightmares and having a hard time waking up.
  • I completely messed up my routine. I took a shower first, because my body felt like it was 1) made of molten iron and 2) possibly in the beginning stage of rigor mortis. I put music on, I let the hot water just run over my shoulders, I stretched, I’m sure soap was used at some point.
  • I ate (gluten-free Walmart) cookies and looked at Facebook. What? I did. And I’m so glad I did, because I found someone who was just so full of love and positivity that my heart got an extra boost, like it got handed a megaphone, and it could finally be heard over my Umbridge. “Try! Don’t give up! Try, try, try, you can do it!”
  • I meditated. I cried. A lot. I meditated some more. I sat and thought.
  • I decided that I would give myself a break, I would adjust my expectations of myself, and I would share this struggle, this momentary setback, with you.

I hope, as always, that this was helpful and/or interesting. I am so glad that I decided to let myself do this, to adjust and write something other than what I had planned. It’s both liberating and empowering, and, I mean, can you ask for anything more than that?

– Calli

P.S. Little follow-up on the meditation app front – Headspace now has a “For Kids” section in their singles (subscription required) with mindfulness activities for kids in three different age groups – 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-12. Check it out here!