I can’t pinky-swear that all of these posts will be “Self-Care Sunday” posts, but it does have a nice ring to it and I certainly do hope to post these check-ins regularly throughout the year. It’s an accountability measure – self-care is both crucial to personal growth and stability and is also harder to do than it first seems.
The problem is that many of us (myself definitely included!) have a dour Puritan/Calvinist streak that pooh-poohs self-care as selfish, decadent, and foolish. While this view is complete nonsense, it is deeply rooted in the American psyche, which views all too often, even today, views down time as wasted time. While you have probably read articles debunking this view, let me give you a few more:
- The role of self-care in mental health
- Self-care as a positive means of coping with stress
- And give this interactive flow chart a try.
I resolved to keep a journal of daily self-care actions this year, so I can simply flip through my notes to see what I’ve been doing to look after myself. Some days, it’s not much – and that’s fine! – and other days, there’s more, which is also fine. The point of this activity is to do something Every Single Day that shows that I value myself and my own mental well-being. To be candid, some days for me, it’s an accomplishment to wash my face and brush my teeth as soon as I get up. Or to not eat at my desk. Or to eat three meals at all (I’m often terrible at that, especially with breakfast – I have days when I just hit the ground running. That’s not good).
Looking through my journal, in the last week-plus, I’ve done the following:
- I had a bike wreck just before the New Year that left my right leg one giant bruise from knee to hip (wet pavement and pride do not mix, my friends!), so exercise has not been a priority lately. However, that gave me a chance to indulge in one of my passions, which is old movies – Turner Classic Movies, I love you! I watched the original Sabrina (with Audrey Hepburn), The Red Shoes (often considered the best Technicolor movie ever made), and Laura (with Gene Tierney).
- I started a day with a fancy coffee concoction made at home, using caramel syrup, whipped cream, and nutmeg.
- Met a friend for lunch.
- Worked a jigsaw puzzle on an unexpected snow day.
- Browsed a secondhand shop.
- Made instant pudding seem fancy by using good glassware and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Discovered a literal chest-full of old records of my dad’s and ordered a turntable (the small portables aren’t expensive) so I can listen to Mahalia Jackson’s performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and hear stories about that part of my dad’s life, about which I know nothing.
- Had my mother-in-law’s amazing chili for dinner.
- Took a few minutes to touch up my makeup instead of just workworkworking through the day. Ah, red lipstick – how I’ve missed you.
- Had an amazing date night with my husband – if you’re in these parts, please treat yourself to the incredible Webb Custom Kitchen, which is fine dining in a converted movie theater. They play movie soundtracks and show TCM on the big screen – no sound, but Lawrence of Arabia is always a treat.
Now, I get that not all of these (and maybe not any of these) are your particular cup of whiskey. That’s fine – these are merely examples of things large (the fancy dinner out was an indulgence we hadn’t done in months and months) and small (browsing costs nothing and that pudding dessert just involved being willing to wash a few glasses by hand) that I did to take care of my own soul since beginning this new year. I cannot beg you enough to find your own. The world needs your energy and enthusiasm and in order to have that to give to others, you must replenish your own cup.
We’ve got a world to take care of, Divas – so let’s take care of ourselves!