Two practices that have helped me care for my own soul, this month are turning down invitations and noticing beauty.
Yes: my go-to answer, when it's something related to activities I enjoy or if a friend extends an invitation.
But the other day, I realized that I was maxed out. My increased work hours + limited physical energy + limited mental/emotional capacity moved me to a place where I began feeling overwhelm creep in. I did not want to go back to that place. I had learned this lesson already.
After speaking about this with my Spiritual Director, and with a trusted pastor friend, I realized that I can say no... or not yet... I can turn down invitations and it won't close off the opportunity entirely. It'll just postpone it. And that is not failure or disappointment.
It is GOOD to have margin. It is GOOD to have space for rest (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally). It is sometimes GOOD to say NO to a good thing!
In gardening, thinning out the sprouts creates more room for roots to expand and create a strong foundation for select plants to flourish.
This also leads me to the next soul care practice of noticing beauty. When I have more margin, I have more capacity to notice beauty in many forms, instead of dwelling on stress.
This month I noticed the following "beauty-full" moments that made my soul leap with delight and awe:
Sunrise rays piercing through early morning clouds
A child laughing at a hospital, and the grown-ups around smiling
A moment of silence and deep breath
Strength and courage exhibited from a parent with their child needing surgery
A piece of painted artwork on a wall
Lyrics to a song I've heard a thousand times, that struck me anew
Is there an invitation you need to decline, this month, to carve space for your soul? What beauty has captured your attention, recently?