When I was growing up, Self-Care was non-existent in the mainstream of my life. My foster mother raced about the house taking care of all of us, and left little to no time to care for herself. She always looked harried, always looked tired. Yet she never ever complained. As I got older, and began my child-rearing years, I would ask her how she did it all, and she would reply “It’s just what a mother does.” This answer never felt right to me. As a young mother I was often stressed, overwhelmed, beaten down. “Just what a mother does” meant this?? I was certainly failing miserably at “just being a mother” then. Mind you this was during a different time. A good 25+ years ago!
Yesterday I was shopping with a friend. We didn’t plan it. We were both out in the same area and as we were chatting on the phone, she said, I’m just gonna come find you! We ended up meeting at Target and just started shopping together. It became an outing and not just another chore. Albeit a Target run can be fun! But when it is shared with a close friend, it becomes a sort of Self-Care. As we finished up our visit/shopping, I walked away feeling energized and nurtured. As well as picking up my Target Essentials like laundry detergent and paper towels.
Today I had a client who came in visibly overwhelmed, she works from home full time, supervises 3 children who are hybrid at school/at home schooling due to COVID, and runs a home! Her husband is currently working at his job on site, and she confessed to me that she was a little bit jealous that he actually got to leave the house to go to work! She joked to me she may have to get another job just to be able to get out of the house more! Granted she carved the 15-minute brow appointment with me, and did end up walking out of here feeling a little bit lighter. Her “Self-Care” today was her eyebrow appointment.
My struggle with recurring bouts of depression is no secret here. I often wake up in angst mode. I have some mantras I use to help “reset” and pull me out of the angst, the funk. This morning I opened my eyes and felt that feeling that sometimes precedes an oncoming bout of depression, but instead of pulling the covers over my head and wishing it away, I closed my eyes again and breathed into the angst, into the funk, into the void. I grabbed my phone and pulled up a 1-minute meditation from my Insight Timer App (more on this life-saving app later), and let it guide me through some breathing. The minute—it was literally a minute mediation—lifted me just enough out of the funk that I felt motivated enough to search for a longer one (5 minutes today). Both of those brought me to my feet and I then started stretching, upward salute, side stretches, 3 or 4 minutes. As I looked out my window to the east I saw the sky breaking with the promise of a peak of sun, and I was up and out of the funk that I awoke with. A total of 8 or 9 minutes of pausing, reaching, stretching, was my Self Care this a.m. It doesn’t always work. Occasionally my funk is so dark that nothing short of crawling back in bed will bring me out of it. But that’s only occasionally.
In the middle of this pandemic, caring for my family, running my home, starting a new business, and all the other responsibilities I shoulder—— self care is not a luxury. I say this to myself louder than I will attempt to preach it here: Self. Care. Is. An. Essential. Service. To ourself. We cannot serve others if we have nothing to give.
What does your self care look like? Let’s share. Thanks for being here. Namaste.