2 weeks or 14 days
Two weeks ago I made a proclamation to a friend; “I think I need to a take a couple weeks for self care”. This came after getting some news that had surprised me and shook my mental balance. Enough to go against my strong desire to take care of people I love.
I’m a mother, wife, teacher, friend, seamstress, nature lover, and bad music advocate. I love being each and every one of these things, but unfortunately sometimes I focus on the first half of the list rather than the whole. The problem there is I occasionally (usually) forget to take care of myself and feed my own soul while I am loving on everyone else. It always takes a jarring moment to remind me to refill my cup, then inevitably I end up in the same habit of forgetting to recharge. That’s why my goal was an entire 2 weeks of daily self care.
Now, I have: 4 boys, 2 cats, a husband, and 2 gardens, on top of teaching Pilates and ballet. I’m in no way complaining, but that is a lot to work around to try and find time for myself everyday… it also provides a lot of convenient excuses for someone who is not in the habit of caring for themselves. So I did what I had to, I told everyone I could about my self care plan and they did an amazing thing… they supported me and cared for me too! I have honestly never considered caring for my friends by holding them accountable for caring for themselves. Some of my friends even brought me the tools, like a face mask, or tea and snacks I love! It has been an enlightening experience to say the least.
Not only by seeing how my friends support me but also discovering all the ways I can care for myself that really do not get in the way of everything else I have going on. I even went so far as to turn some of my daily menial tasks into moments for self care, the trick was finding what makes me tick.
As mentioned above I am an advocate for what some (my husband) may consider ‘bad music’, such as disco, doo wop, oldies, classic rock, Disney music, show tunes, and soul. I love them all for different reasons. Some, it is because I am comfortable enough with the lyrics that I can sing them at the top of my lungs and drown out my children. Others give me a good beat to dance around the house while cleaning, making lunch, cleaning, folding laundry, cleaning, dishes, did I mention cleaning? Anyway, dancing gets my body moving which makes the hum drum tasks of my day much more exciting. Some of the music just reminds me of childhood, makes me cry, or reminds me of someone I love. No matter why I like it, no matter what those surrounding me feel about it, if I can pump my music up and get a few songs in of self care that’s a win.
Another simple way I worked it in during these weeks was through dirt. There are so many articles out there telling us that dirt helps us avoid depression, and I can get behind that 100% for myself, as evidenced by having 2 gardens. It is a chore to grow your own food, and a challenge to grow enough for an entire year for a family of 6. But it forces me to get dirty, and that connects me to something bigger. It is my form of spiritual self care to absorb sunlight, prepare soil to grow my food, and as the year goes on I will be able to tend the plants, and harvest my bounty. This makes all the work worth it by itself, but it is also much more when I look at it as self care time. I am being physical, I find muscles I forgot I had, I get to make a difference and there is a noticeable before and after, I can feel pride in what I have accomplished, and I always take my shoes off. I feel the dirt between my toes and I sink into the earth and breathe cleansing breaths to rid myself of ill feelings toward myself.
Then there is my love of creating, fixing, and changing clothing. This is one I neglect way too often. In one of my go to songs when I am feeling emotionally overwhelmed ( La Vie Boheme from Rent) it says “the opposite of war isn’t peace it’s creation” and I always feel a surge of energy while singing that line, and I start to think of all the things I can create. I look around and see potential, I sit and dream of projects while I am putting the toddler down for his nap. The self care part is acting on those thoughts! This is probably the hardest for me because I can’t work it into my daily routine, I have to actively seek and set time aside for ME! Which is so important, but so hard.
I have come to terms with every day not containing a grande self care moment. I am ok with that. Some days my self care is just putting my phone down and disconnecting from technology or social media. Simple. But I know for myself I NEED to make time, even occasionally, for a few bigger acts of self care.
There are millions of ways we all can care for ourselves, and my ways may not work for you. But what I have found that I think would benefit anyone is that a shift in perspective, and intentionally looking at my actions as a way I can nurture myself has made me seek that feeling every day. Whether it’s a solo dance party in the kitchen, or working with a friend weeding a garden bed. I can do it for me.
Pilates / Ballet Instructor