Back to Self Care

Back home now, for the rest of November. The last 21 days have seen me home only three days.  The rest of the time I’ve been in Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Detroit. Teaching business writing, grammar, editing, proofreading. And that’s great.


Rosehips in stone base over the fireplace. It feels happy and homey.

Teaching is who I am, and it’s a rush, no matter where you are. Which, this month, was a question I occasionally asked myself. “Which airport is this?”

Last week was the hardest. I taught seven days in a row, and in one case, left one class, drove to the airport, flew to the next location, arrived at midnight and got up at 6 a.m. to teach again. This week my body began to tell me it had enough of travel, teaching, and staying alert. Next was spending a few days watching Sandhill cranes migrate. And then, suddenly, I didn’t have enough energy anymore. I just wanted to go home.

When the airplane landed in Phoenix, after a four-hour flight, I was tired of being cold. It’s a sign of being worn out, and for me worn-out always has a tinge of lazy accusation. But this wasn’t lazy. This was lost-four-pound-in-three-weeks due to skipping meals tired. This was run-yoursef-down-to-prove-heaven-knows-what tired. It was how I was brought up. No whining. No excuses.

And when I got home, I canceled the bird-watching trip. Yes, I would have liked to go. But there wasn’t a reasonable way I could teach a full day, fly four hours, sleep six hours and drive another 10 hours to see birds migrate. Instead, I dropped into bed and slept.

And today, instead of driving,  I caught up on emails, clients, and classes. I ate homemade food and drank home-brewed coffee. And I stopped by Trader Joe’s and bought Clementines and a branch of rose hips because they were beautiful.

Yes, I have work to do the next three days. But it will be folded into stopping work promptly, spending time in the studio, and listening to the predicted rain. Self-care is vital to maintaining a good pace. Pushing yourself over the edge is not a recommended way to get more from yourself.

What’s your favorite self-care practice?

Quinn McDonald is glad to be home and not wearing heels. Or running through airports in them.

17 thoughts on “Back to Self Care

  1. My favorite and most effective de-stressors are a bath with a cup of tea, aroma, & candles with relaxing music & using a foot scrub, taking a walk, sitting in meditation or just to wind down – looking out a favorite window view, & using Savasana yoga asana or Yoga Nidra – a specific kind of yoga for stress and relaxation- you can find many on U Tube.

    Thank you Quinn at this thanks -giving time of year, for your wonderful blogs ~

  2. I struggle with this balance all the time … just this week I was offered comp tickets to a flute recital, but it’s on my busiest day of the week, in a short week to boot … how do I embrace opportunities and at the same time respect my need to “hunker down”?

    • That’s the thing–you can’t embrace opportunities at the same time as you need to hunker down. You have to respect your need to rest and give up something. That’s the hard part. But you’ll live longer.

  3. I have so many! It depends on where my stress is coming from.
    When I get home from a trip I want to get everything back into the places I’m comfortable with right away. So in a way I stress even more before I take time to chill. Then I sit in my chair with my tea and read all the magazines I missed while away.
    If I’m stressed because of an upset with one of my kids, my husband or a family member …it’s a bath where I can “aahhhhhh” the moment away or cry out my frustrations. I have a beautiful long claw foot tub made for de-stressing.
    When the weather is nice you’ll find me pulling weeds in the garden. There’s something about getting your hands in the dirt, the smell of earth. It’s very calming.
    But when I ignore it and it starts to settle in my neck the only thing for it is to get out the tiger balm!
    Happy Holidays to all of you. I hope your upcoming turkey day is full of de-stressing joys!

    • Tiger Balm! I bought my first teeny jar in Hong Kong so many years ago, I don’t want to think about it. Our Thanksgiving is going to be super easy. But for many people it is very stressful. It’s all about listening to that wise old body. (Emphasis on “old”)

  4. Music, music to release whatever is building up. I dance with Queen, relax with Bach and cry with Gorecki. After the release it’s into the garden or a walk on the beach with bit of a sit down to appreciate the beauty of it all.

    By the way, I’ve arranged with the cranes to come back next year and migrate again next year just for you. They’re quite happy with the idea.

    • Why thank you, that’s so kind! And the cranes are not easy to get to agree on anything, so that’s quite a feat. I checked the weather at the location earlier. Cold rain and a fierce wind, low-lying fog and snow later today. I’m very glad I didn’t go.

  5. For me self care is my daily swim. No one can call me when I am in the pool. My only thoughts are keeping count of the laps. If my mind strays I lose count. Very Zen. Very meditative. Gives me the strength and renewal I need in my busy days caring for elderly parents and teenage grandson.

  6. Glad you’re home safe and sound. Hopefully, you will be able to quickly get back to your routine that includes peace and meditation.

    My favorite self-care practice is taking a long bath. I can be in the bath anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, it depends on what I’m reading. I light a scented candle, do some meditation while bathing and just let it all go. Anytime that I’m overly stressed or busy, my first choice to unwind is a long, hot bath…I love it!

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