I said at the beginning of this “self care year” that I hoped to post once a week. Well, that clearly hasn’t happened, but I’m giving myself permission to be be gentle with myself in view of all that’s going on – in addition to a house-hunt following the just-before-Christmas sale of our little bungalow, my parents have been dealing with a variety of challenging health issues since the fall and that’s been hardhardhard. (At the same time, it has not been without a few silver linings. Still – hardhardhard.)
When things are hectic, stressed, and pressured is when you need self-care more, not less. So I kept track and can report that I’ve worked hard to carve out time each and every day to do something to remind myself to refill my own bucket so I can pour for others. And no bad time lasts forever, although it certainly can feel that way. Honestly, Divas, surround yourself with those you call family – the day will come when you need them to carry you. Invest in that well before you need to.
In the last ten days or so, I’ve refilled my bucket by:
Studying French. I’ve toyed with this for years for no reason other than it’s a beautiful language. Learning new things fires up different sections of our brains and systems like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and the Michel Thomas system all have helped me at different times. I speak on about a four-year-old’s level (I haven’t been consistent about sticking with it, but I’m hoping to change that), but I truly enjoy the process of learning for learning’s sake.
My birthday was in the middle of this tense time and I made sure to not make a martyr out of myself. Hard times come into all lives, and it’s a mistake to take it too personally. The Universe is not out to get me; I just am at a stage where a lot of competing pressures (selling a house, buying a house, elderly parents, job responsibilities, et cetera) are combining. (That doesn’t mean I haven’t had a day or two of carefully shutting the car doors and screaming into the void. Hey – whatever works, works.) So I made sure to spread birthday celebrations over a number of days with enjoying cards and gifts from those who love me, indulging in a little frosting and pastry, buying myself a few treats when they crossed my path (honestly, I probably have a wardrobe of pajama choices after two years of Covid), and so on.
Taking opportunities to be spontaneous – my husband and I were house-hunting and turned it into an impromptu date night, something we haven’t done is FAR too long! We discovered a new-to-us restaurant and even went to a movie. We both love movies and the pandemic has made us leery of crowded theatres, but weeknight showings (of movies that have been out for quite a while) tend to be thinly attended.
Made time for painting. I’m an enthusiastic watercolorist, although I’m far more style than technique. Since we moved out of our house to prepare to sell it, I’ve found very little time and space to paint – and I miss it. So I carved out time to dabble a bit. I doubt I participate in the global “100 Day Project,” which starts very soon – just too many plates spinning right now. And that’s okay, too.
And I took myself out for a lovely dinner. Just me. Many people find that a little odd, but I maintain that if you can’t enjoy your own company, you’re unlikely to enjoy anyone else’s very much. (Plus, it’s often easy to get a table, even in a crowded restaurant on a weekend evening. Smile and be willing to sit at the bar – things have a way of opening up rather quickly.) Take a book if you want to and just be content to take up space – you have every right to that table and there’s no reason to rush through a good meal.
Divas – I beg of you. When you’re having that day, or week, or fortnight, or whatever when you’re just convinced that you don’t have time to care for yourself – STOP. EVERYTHING. RIGHT. THEN. Look around. Yes, you can take ten minutes to solve a simple crossword on your phone (or play Wordle, which I haven’t gotten into just yet). Or have a cup of coffee fixed just the way you like it. Or play a favorite song. But – for all that you value – do it regularly.
The world needs you – energetic, upbeat, and unconquerable!