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Taking Good Care in the Depths of Winter

It felt like a fitting time to do a bit of a check-in re:the intentions we all set at the start of ‘22.  Figuratively speaking, we’ve kinda been tiptoeing into the new year, bated breath, crossing our fingers and toes that the right kind of “different” feeling would present itself early and obviously.  Now that we’re here, ⅔ of the way through January, we can now confidently say that it’s a bit of the same shit, different year.  Suprise suprise. 

So, with all of us strapped in and settled down into 2022, how are you getting through?  If your last couple of weeks looked or felt anything like ours, a reprieve has yet to arrive, though at least we’re still coming up for air. In swimming through what has so far passed of January, we are finding that the lessons of the previous couple of hellish years haven’t stopped being ladled onto our proverbial plates. 

That being the case, the check-in seemed to become more about our state of being than about all the things we set out to do for ourselves in the New Year.  We respectfully salute you if you’ve been unwavering in any of your intentions for the year.  Keeping those promises to yourself is a big deal! Keep on keeping on and breathe a deep sigh of satisfaction.  Speaking candidly, we wanted this week’s post to feel and be especially transparent, because it's been a struggle over here, individually and collectively.  So, it felt like a pause was in order.  Back to basics we go!

One of the most important values we have articulated amongst ourselves at Kindred is the idea of taking good care.  A north star that guides us, taking care takes many forms, and January is bringing us back to basics in a big way.  How are you taking care?  Of yourself? Your loved ones? Your community? It isn’t always easy to take good care.  In fact, it’s felt quite difficult as of late, and dare we venture to say; it’s felt a bit like work.  But nevertheless, it is important–especially when you’re depleted, when you’re vulnerable, when you feel like you haven’t yet had the break you’ve needed to replenish your energy.

With the state of the world, the state of our lives, the state of the season (oh, winter bleakness)-- we are collectively so damn tired. We’re assuming you are too.  So, again, taking good care is especially important.  For us, taking good care begins with the self. You can’t pour from an empty cup! (Okay, no more metaphors– promise.)  For some of us, this looks like solitude.

Solitude is a form of taking care because it allows you to be alone with your thoughts. Hopefully, this is in a space both physically and mentally free from as many of life’s distractions as possible.  Solitude, no matter how you do it, is a practice that means connecting and checking in with yourself, your needs, and your own energy levels.  For us, solitude is catching up on a show, or working on a puzzle, or taking a walk.  Though, don’t forget that taking good care can also mean being gentle with yourself if more intentional/focused self care just isn’t possible right now.  It is hard out there, so be reasonable with yourself and your own personal energy levels. 

At minimum, please keep drinking water, sleeping regularly, and eating as nutritious as you can.  Take a shower, too.  You’ll feel better if you’re clean, hydrated, and as rested as you can be, even if the exhaustion surrounding everything else in your life is making its way into your bones.

Taking care of yourself is step one. From there–how are you taking good care of others?  Around here, lately, it's been making soup for dinner, taking the dog on an extra long walk, and taking mental health days to work in the garden or catch up on errands.  A way to take good care of your people can be just about anything.  Consider who you’re taking care of, and what might communicate that extension of care to that person best.

Sometimes taking care of others means doing them a favor. Picking up dinner, offering to watch kiddos, or helping with a project are great ways to take good care of others.  Taking good care of others can also mean creating space for them to engage in their versions of meaningful care.  If you see that it is in your power to lighten the load of another in any way is another wonderful opportunity to take good care. 

 It could also mean just checking in and giving a listen.  Allowing someone to talk through whatever it is they’re dealing with at present is another way you can take care. Sometimes folks just need to feel listened to, seen, and heard.  If you can do this without compromising your personal boundaries or at the detriment to your own levels of energy and capacities, do so.  

It’s okay if you aren’t in the spot you anticipated you’d be when you were dreaming of what 2022 has in store. Mostly, we wanted to extend some vulnerability to y’all, our beloved community, as a way to take good care.  As far as we know, nobody has their shit together right now, and being honest and open about how all that is going can offer some comfort, we hope.  We’re all trying, we’re all tired, and we’re all dreaming of spring.  If by some miracle you are one of those special folks who has it all together right now, pleeeeease drop your secrets in the comments.  Share that magic. 

We encourage you to come by and visit, and share with us how you’re taking good care. Or, obviously if you need a listen, or a high five, or a new plant to keep your seasonal depression at bay, we’re here for all of that.  Come hang out with us any ol’ time. We’ll be listening to nostalgic playlists and rearranging the furniture, because at least *that’s* something we can control.  As Brene Brown says, “stay awkward, brave, and kind.” 

We’ll get through January together, y’all!

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