Last week I shared some self-care reminders that I've picked up from my dog, Princess. So, this week, I thought I'd give my cats some credit too.
There are those who firmly identify themselves as "dog-people" or "cat-people", but my family lives in an mixed household. This has provided me with an equal opportunity to appreciate the distinctions in my pets' approaches to life, and to notice some of the particular habits that serve them well. Here are a few self-care tips from Samantha and Angel that I have found helpful:
- Stretch - My cats are expert nappers, and have lots of practice transitioning from a resting to active state. I've noticed that they always remember to stretch as they make this transition. In addition to showing off their fabulous feline flexibility, this habit helps them to wake their bodies up gently and stay nimble. We humans can benefit from regular stretching too - especially when we first get up or any time we start to feel tension in our bodies.
- Play - Cats can easily be enticed to play. When they commit to a game, whether they are chasing a ball, a piece of string or a beam of light, they play full out. While they are playing, their focus and commitment to the object of their attention is impressive and endearing. When they are done, they go on to the next thing - none the worse for wear. Finding fun in our daily lives is a great way to cultivate creativity and vitality. As Mary Poppins said: "In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and - snap! The job's a game." Where can you find more fun?
- Keep Sharp - Cats keeps themselves prepared. Even if they aren't actively hunting, cats are committed to keeping their claws sharpened (much to the dismay of many cat-owners). Perhaps they instinctively know one of life's truths: "If you don't use it, you lose it". Staying sharp gives us a sense of confidence and freedom. When we keep our gifts and skills honed, we are better prepared to use them for the purposes that inspire us. What skills or abilities do you want to keep sharp?
- Set Limits - Cats are not shy about defining their personal space and expectations. They sometimes get a bad reputation for seeming self-centered or aloof, but they could teach us a thing or two about establishing boundaries. Because they communicate clearly, they command a certain respect. We humans don't have to enforce our limits with claws or hisses, but learning to convey a clear yes or no (without apologies) is an important part of self-care.
- Find Solitude - Cats know when they have had enough. When they need it, they go off for some alone time. The rhythms of modern life can overwhelm and deplete any of us if we aren't paying attention - especially if we tend to be introverted. Solitude can provide much-needed time for relaxation, reflection, and renewal. Each person has their own preferences and needs with respect to balancing time with others or time alone. Honor what is true for you.
What about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts about self-care wisdom that you've from animal friends. Please share your comments below!