Self Care is Life

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‘My don’t want to do that.’

Bam. Shut down! By a three year old. He just point blank does not want to Lego even though I sold it to him with my overly enthusiastic ‘it’s the coolest thing ever’ voice.

He just plain does not want to and therefor he won’t. And in that moment I am jealous. Of my kid. How nice would it be to just not do something you didn’t feel like doing?

Now, I get it, there is a shit ton of things we all have to do that we don’t particularly want to do. But there are also a lot of things we do…that we don’t really care for, that we do anyways because we feel we should (those stories again).

It only dawned on me fairly recently that part of adulting is actually having a bit of a choice here. But the strange thing is that as we get older, with more responsibilities, it sometimes feels like we have less choice. I definitely noticed this after having TD. I really felt like my choices had been stripped of me. Suddenly my ‘free and easy’ life pre-TD seemed like a faraway dream. A dream I didn’t even consider to be dreamy until after Baby TD came shooting into the world. Oh how foolish I had been! I really struggled with my whole self worth and identity after having bubs. The madness that is motherhood really threw me for a loop and I just wasn’t prepared. Add to that an unhealthy dose of postpartum anxiety and it was a bit of a shit show. The worse part was I didn’t feel I was worth caring for.

And doing what you love and what nourishes your soul can feel selfish. Really, really selfish. Especially in the mix of your normal busy life. Especially when it feels like you’ll need to negotiate any spare moment you have because your partner is like a superhero, crazy-busy balancing life, work, an MBA, a part time music career, the gym and us (and doing it all for us). I can’t even imagine if you are going through motherhood and life as a single parent. I imagine finding time for self care can seem like a bit of joke. It’s all about surviving.

But.

Do we just want to make it through surviving? Is that the point of all of this? Or what if self care was actually an act of survival? What if it’s a necessity? I’m learning that it kind of is. It all depends how you see life for you…the point of it all.

So I’ve made myself face this massively cringe aspect of life and I’m trying to embrace, ask for, find and take moments of self care. If nothing else but for the sake of my long suffering, I mean, very supportive husband and son. Because apparently if I’m all full up with self care and self love then I can give that much more to them. Huh.

The lovely, fun self care activities that work best for me are:

  • walks outside
  • gardening
  • cooking
  • baths
  • reading with a coffee
  • weight lifting
  • baths
  • writing
  • shopping
  • chats with family and friends
  • snuggles
  • meditation or mindful moments

Sometimes I do these on my own. Often I have a wee man-child or fur baby tagging along. Sometimes that’s brilliant and sometimes it not but it’s life and that’s ok. I mean…the most ridiculous thing I could do is beat myself up over the quality of my own self care…right?

Self care is also the boring shit you don’t really want to do but really actually should do(and this time ‘should’ is appropriate), the stuff that makes you feel better afterwards like:

  • Booking and going to those annoying doctor, dentist and optometrist appointments.
  • The work on getting out of diet culture (see previous post).
  • Hair and nail appointments (I know…weird…but not something I particularly enjoy doing…though love it after).
  • Taking a day off the gym if my body is not in a place to lift things (oh the guilt!).
  • Crying (yep, crying…needs must sometimes).
  • Asking for help (gulp).
  • Trying to get enough sleep when I can.
  • Hydrating, hydrating, hydrating!
  • Not beating myself up for mistakes or slip ups, dark moods or dark thoughts or the above mentioned crying.
  • And certainly not beating myself up for all the self care.

This is the stuff that makes space mentally and physically for you to get back to your kick-butt, awesome life.

And talking about making space. I’ve come to notice that self care can actually be letting go or the ceasing of activities/thinking/planning of stuff you don’t like and that serves no purpose for you. Like saying no. Saying no? Now there’s something I agonise over. TD does it like a boss. I really need to learn from the master. He says no and moves on. Often this is irritating as hell but sometimes it really is admirable. Like, he doesn’t wallow in self-doubt or guilt about saying no to something he has no interest in doing. He just shuts it down and moves on. Nice one kid.

The work I’ve been doing on this is changing my perspective about the value, the necessity of caring for myself. It means that I’m learning to fall in love with caring for myself. I can see that taking care of myself isn’t selfish, its showing myself respect, honouring the relationship I’m developing with myself, like, the MOST important relationship you can possibly have… for reals! And it’s not easy work to be doing. When I need it the most (hello anxiety zone) it can be the hardest thing to do. When you are at your lowest, you feel like you are unworthy of any kind of care. I’m working on it. I’m working on advocating for myself, to myself.

‘Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.’ – Anna Taylor

Self care is setting the standard for the respectful boundaries you require. It’s honouring yourself so you can nourish others. It’s allowing yourself to flourish so you can inspire folk around you. It’s filling up ‘your cup’ so you can contribute to your world in the best possible way. It’s kind of important. It’s kind of your job. I really do encourage you to embrace this aspect of your life with joy and passion. Fall in love with taking care of yourself (doing the fun things, the boring things, the scary things and the hard things) and just see how that affects the rest of your life and the people in it.

Let’s watch the magic spread all around us.

So, on that note, I’m going to finish my coffee then I’m off for a walk. TD is going to keep me company. I can just see that he loves the happy mummy that self care is creating.

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