New Years and birthdays tend to be the days we evaluate or re-evaluate our shit. Life, love, relationships, family, work, profession, hobbies, plans, parenting, future, etc. We set goals that may or may not be obtained. We work toward something in some way to make those goals happen or at least get closer to them. We make lists and notes and write thoughts and ideas to make the magic happen. The thing that is usually missing is the dreaded “self-care”.
I was listening to The Smutlancer podcast today and like most times when Kayla talks about anything, I shake my head, YES to just about everything she says. I am sure I look like a bobblehead doll to the folks at work walking by as I listen with my headphones on agreeing to so much of what is being said. This podcast was about self-care.
Listening to someone else say they have realized the necessity of it, and also say at the same time, that it isn’t easy, was a gift. I think we all need that voice to tell us it is ok to take care of ourselves. It is also ok to not know exactly how to do that or what that means. Even better to have someone say that they struggle with it too.
This year has been particularly hard on me, on top of four years of dealing with a lot of unpleasant stuff. I lost my second father in March of 2018 so these whole 11 months have been trying to figure out the new normal for me and my Mom. My daughter and her girlfriend finally left their struggling situations in Florida and moved in with me in June. There is another new normal to try and navigate and figure out. Work has been a little crazy for various reasons and when I don’t work I don’t get paid so government shutdowns and clients taking off for their vacations makes me nervous. Particularly when being alone now, its all on me and now I’m supporting the girls as well. So its a lot, and a lot more than if I truly thought about I would really freak out.
Self-care? Really? Even the dog sits with me while I pee! When am I going to do self-care? I have had a note on my computer, in my notebook, and by the bed for the past three months to schedule a time to go to the gym. I make food plans for a week or month – nope! Get to the store and by the same ol’ shit! It isn’t always bad food but it is not the best. I have notes to remind me to wash my face at night and I’m usually in bed and under the covers when I remember, and by then it is too late. Getting enough sleep? Well, I don’t think I have gotten more than four hours of sleep a night since my Dad past away. The dog started using my dining room carpet as a toilet, so he is locked in my room and when he has to go out he jumps on my chest and whines in my ear until I get up. Sleep? More Sleep? Nope!
The bottom line for me is self-care takes a back seat every time. When I manage some down time and I am just watching TV or laying in bed, I am thinking the whole time I should be doing something else. I don’t believe my brain is really capable of slowing down or taking a break. I have been trying for years and as of yet, not successful.
I realized the importance of self-care and the many reasons to keep trying to figure it out. One of the things that Kayla said that really made sense (and that I knew but needed to hear someone else say) was that it doesn’t have to all happen at once, or right away. I have always been an all or nothing kind of person. Good and bad, that is me and realizing that is maybe 1/3 of the battle, but not the total solution by far. That is a whole other post! With everything I have going on and all the hats I am wearing, maybe just adding one little thing that I do for myself for a month would work. Then I could slowly add in other things when I can.
Self-care doesn’t have to be grandiose, although scheduling a cruise for just me to escape sounds wonderful and I can feel bad that a cruise just isn’t possible right now, but maybe there is a better more realistic way. I decided to look at the things I already do and see if they can become MORE self-care and LESS things I do for others.
Kayla listed a few things that she started doing that has been successful for her. Things that she is now actually enjoying. Check out her list and see if any of these make sense for you and your self-care. There is no magic list for everyone that will be successful. What works for some, won’t work for others. Getting ideas from others is definitely a starting off point.
When I started thinking of my options I realized that there were a few things I am doing. I just didn’t consider them self-care.
- Massages – I get them monthly. These aren’t the relaxing spa massages. They are deep tissue with the purpose of “un-knotting” my muscles so I can actually turn my head. As painful as they can be, and as necessary as they are, it is something I do for myself.
- Puppy Time – I use to have six dogs, three horses, 12 chickens, and a cat. Time with my horses was always the best therapy. Since they are no longer around, I have my dog. Gage is a pain in the ass and keeps me up in the night and always wants to go out as soon as I sit down or get under the covers, but when he settles and climbs in my lap it is the best feeling ever. He is completely selfish and wants to be pet and when I stop he walks away but the cuddle time with him is calming. I can’t schedule it because it is all up to him, but that is ok.
- Writing – Even though I am all over the place with this, it is calming for me. It is a way of journaling and while I have eight different projects going at all times, that works because I can journal whatever I’m feeling. I use the blog for this a lot but believe it or not, there are some things I write about that don’t end up here!
- The gym – well this is a stretch. I don’t go as I should and I dread going. Once I am there I am fine, it is getting there. I have a gym at work and belong to another that has a pool, so I have options. I have always loved swimming. But I make all the usual excuses. Which is strange, because like I said, when I get there I am always happy I went. For some people, the gym is there self-care, their release, their “time”. For me, it has never felt that way. I wonder if this is a perspective change that needs to happen. The gym has always been something I felt I had to do to lose weight and get in shape. I wonder if I can switch my perspective and make this my time. We may have to work on that.
These are just a few things off the top of my head that I can consider self-care and maybe feel a little less guilty about doing, (or not doing in relation to the gym). I will work on adding some more intentional things a little at a time and see how it goes!