Self-care takes many forms, as we here at Splendor try hard to point out. This crucial tool to thrive in the modern world can look very different based on personality, stress level, time of year, and just what the heck is going on. When you commit to looking after yourself, whatever you do, don’t let anyone tell you what it “has” to look like. No matter how good their intentions may be, they’re wrong.
For instance, in the last week or so since I’ve posted about this year-long journey, I’ve noted a wide variety of activities in my daily self-care journal. Some of them are very “well, of course” notions, such as a good dessert eaten on the good china. (I really recommend doing this often, by the way. You deserve better than inhaling your treat while standing over the sink.) That particular dessert, by the way, was leftover from a good dinner out in my own company. I’ve been dealing with a LOT of high-level adulting that has resulted in long, hard, too-busy days. On those days (or weeks or fortnights), be sure you make time to recharge. It’s going to be hard enough – guaranteed – without martyring yourself in the process.
So while self-care can look like rich food (well-made chocolates are a go-to tool in my self-care toolbox!) eaten with great attention to the experience, it can also look like:
- Sleeping without setting an alarm
- Accepting gifts and compliments with aplomb
- Taking a leisurely walk on a warm February day
- Making time for a long, catch-up talk with someone special who needs a listening ear
- Making plans – even if it’s just making plans to make plans – for some concentrated self-care bodywork (be that a manicure, a massage, acupuncture, etc.) in the next few weeks
- Eating lunch NOT at your desk
- Being frank and candid with your doctor.
Let’s talk about that last one.
It was time for my annual physical – and yes, that’s self-care. I took a deep breath and confided to my doctor (who I’ve seen for 15+ years; we’ve got a history) my concerns about stress, low energy level, weight gain, minor ailments, lousy eating habits, and broken sleeping patterns. She asked a number of insightful questions, and I left the office with a plan – namely, to get the “sleeping piece” of the puzzle under control through a few strategies. Nothing I hadn’t heard before, but it takes on a certain gravitas coming from my physician. It is likely to take a few weeks to build these new habits, but I’m reassured that once this piece is in place, a lot of the rest becomes far easier to address. I left the office feeling less burdened and also more hopeful. (Face it, sometimes being a “woman of a certain age” in American society can be hard to the extreme and hobgoblins of the mind were beginning to take up far too much of my headspace.)
Feeling hopeful – that’s what self-care is all about. Building a life you want to inhabit, rather than run away from.
That’s what I want for all of us, Divas. We have a world to heal, and that has to start with us taking care of ourselves instead of putting all our energies into taking care of everyone around us while we fall apart.
So this week, I urge you to call your doctor – and be prepared to be honest.