New Year’s Eve, I went out to get some food and I came back with food. And a Happy Planner. And in that Happy Planner, I found a nifty little section for a list and I chose to use it for monthly goals. In the week by week, the days are divided into three parts – purportedly, I’ve read online, for morning, afternoon, and evening. I decided I’d make better use dividing my day into three components.
Run Our Lives. While Tom is the moneymaker here, I literally bring home the bacon, eggs, cheese, bread, sausage, onions, tomatoes, avocados, whole grain bread, pretzels, raspberries, yogurt, etc. I also plan and organize our trips, do all of the cleaning and decorating, and look up little things that we’d otherwise let go. This is where I put things like cleaning the kitchen counter, washing the sheets, scrubbing the tub, going to the BMV, etc.
Self Care. This section is all about things that make me happy and make me feel good. So far, I’ve included things like guided meditation, yoga, seeing Rogue One in IMAX 3-D, taking hot showers, working out, going to church, marathoning the Star Wars movies with Carrie Fisher, and taking naps. (I’m going to talk more about this later in this post.)
Learn & Create. Here’s where I put things like writing a post, reading a book, listening to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Fresh Air interview from last week, hanging photos, watching the HGTV Tiny House Jamboree special, drawing something for the first time in a long while, and exploring new recipes.
I want to talk about my “Self Care” section now. It’s not a concept I’d really ever heard of before. I’d heard people recommend “taking time for yourself” or the ever-helpful “just relax” offered by people frustrated by others’ anxiety, but my soul sister came through in a big way a few weeks ago. “You gotta find what works for you… Do one thing each day that makes you feel good.”
I can do one thing. And so I have – some days two or three. I mentioned some of the things above, but really, it’s been a lot of experimentation and trial and error. I’m not sure of what works for me yet, but I’m trying to find things. I’ve taken little risks and gone to a yoga class. I’ve given myself permission to not know and to forgive myself for not having a clue how most of this stuff works.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Toothpaste is a big deal to me. The last few months, I’ve been annoyed with my toothpaste. We got to the end of our tube last week and I bought a Crest Pro-Healthi instead of a Colgate Total. Since then, I’ve brushed my teeth in gleeful anticipation of the renewed minty-fresh tingle!
- I naturally do yoga things. I do this thing when I get frustrated with a situation – I take a loud inhale through my nose and follow it up with a loud exhale. I also lie on the floor on my back when I feel overwhelmed or really anxious. I learned that breath is called an ujjayi breath by yogis, used to help focus our thought on our breath. I further learned that yogis lie on the floor and find it comforting because it doesn’t move. Those little things made yoga a lot less intimidating because I already to them, so why can’t I do the rest of this stuff?
- Hot showers are the bomb. I think maybe we all have our own hygiene loves. Tom loves showering. I love brushing my teeth. I’ve been making all of my showers the kind I do enjoy – nighttime, dimly-lit, hot, steamy, fragrant, coconut oil facial cleansing, and quiet. I shower more often and feel better about the whole thing when it’s an experience, not a chore.
- Forgiving myself is the greatest act of self care I can offer. I wrote above that I’ve included working out in my self care section. While that’s true, I haven’t done it yet. My monthly goals included working out in our apartment’s facilities twice a week. Outlook does not look good for this week, either. And that’s okay. I can put this off for a while. Overwhelming myself isn’t going to help me or anyone else.
- Letting someone else care for me is also self care. As a lady who’s never felt beholden to anyone, who questions all authority, who’s handled a lot of shit without help, I don’t naturally take well to being told what to do or guided in any way. I’m lucky and blessed enough to have found someone who loves me to bits and notices when I’m not okay. In those instances, putting my care in his capable hands, arms, and heart is a wise choice. Those arms hold and hug, those hands tuck me in for a nap, and that heart listens to mine.
Ten days in and here’s what I have to say: today I’m taking a little step back. I was really ambitious last week and was able to reclaim our home from the holiday madness (my goal for the week). There were boxes everywhere, a folding table up in the living room/kitchen for extra counter space, socks we’d just thrown wherever we’d taken them off, weekly circulars piled up on the entryway dresser, baked goods that hadn’t been sent yet cluttering the counter, clean sheets that’d never made it onto the bed, and more.
Using my planner and really embracing it, I can see the floor throughout the living spaces of our apartment. I have a dish rack full of clean dishes, clean towels in the bathroom, enough open space in the living room to do yoga, nearly dust-free picture frames in the living room, and right now, my only “messes” include the clean laundry that’s piled up atop the washer and dryer and the second bedroom as our en suite catch all storage unit. I was supposed to get that all sorted through this week, but I’m going to push that back a smidge and spread it out over next week. I’ll fold this week, but “Mordor” (yes, all of our second bedrooms are referred to as “Mordor” because “one does not simply walk into Mordor,” at least not in the first few months we live somewhere) won’t get done until the end of next week. Today is windy and rainy and it’s loud up here in the penthouse, so I’m snuggling with a tiny dog, blogging, and waiting for Tom to get home.
And that, my friends, is good for my soul today.