“By taking care of myself, I have so much more to offer the world than I do when I am running on empty.” – Ali Washington
Today, I’m opening up about the uncomfortable. The raw and not so Instagram worthy. The topic with 2,930,000,000 results that show up in an instant on google.
A very buzzy word the last two years but something that matters more than we realize. I wanted to talk about it in written form because I’m laying on my couch, not in a leisurely way but a – I called out of work for the first time in two and half years because I am not well, sincerely way. I can’t help but feel a little teary and I need to let this uncomfortable feeling be released.
We all require different levels of attention from ourselves and our environments. Some people thrive on five hours of sleep and starting the day with a morning workout, others sleep ten hours and do so by doing yoga before bed and drinking sleepy time tea. Some people go to therapy on a weekly basis, others have never been. Productivity levels are highest at a morning centered coffee shop for one adult, while staying up til 2AM in a bean bag chair in their room, writing away is optimal for the other. Being alone is one’s dreamy escape, while it can be a nightmare to someone else. We all are different. Caring for yourself is more than just showering every day, eating meals and all the snacks, reading a good book and getting enough sleep. You feel energized once all your needs are met, wanting to socialize, feeling full in your heart, your belly, and in your mind. There are several simple ways to improve your overall well being, and it’s important to experiment to find your self care tasks. I know a few of my tasks, but struggle very much with implementing them into my daily life.
I do a pretty poor job at taking care of myself. From the outside, I look like relatively happy and energetic person. Involved in a lot of different things, always documenting, working my butt off, and eager to chat. “Oh wow, good for you!” said the urgent care receptionist when my response to if I was employed and needed to provide a job was, “I am, I have three, which one do I say?” I guess she’s right, it’s great that I’m so motivated. But in all honesty, it comes out of necessity. Necessity to pay my bills and try to obtain things I want but also feeling like I can never get ahead. I’m also a complete workaholic, busy body, and really anxious human being. So the more time I have to spend committed to a task rather than actually letting my tornado of a mind slow down, the better. In all honesty, this need to never stop makes me feel like your iPhone does when it has no other thing to do but to show you that screen when it’s already died, “please, just plug me in already.”
So I work hard and I am completely committed with every fiber of the multitude of my emotions to every job I have. To every project I am part of. To every relationship I am so fortunate to experience. To trying to be helpful person in my community, in general society, in the world. That’s great! “Good for me!” But, am I as committed to myself and my needs as I am to every external aspect of my life?
My behavior is habitual. My lack of self care was born from the thought process that I have to do it all. I need do whatever I can, no matter the lengths to receive validation from everyone I come in contact with. I need to keep in touch with everyone, or feel super guilty if I don’t. I need to give my time. I need to give my money. I need to give my energy. I need to give my love. All of those things are amazing things to give, for a healthy and well balanced person. For someone like me, who does not give the same and more back into myself, mental health, and physical body – those things are depleting all sources of energy. I end up completely unwell and burnt out – just like I am in this very moment. I am neglecting all of my needs while my body is screaming at me, and I just shut it out with more good deeds done and extra time spent at work. It’s unhealthy and I seriously see it now. I went to ER last week for something and the doctors today with a completely different issue, I need to cut this out.
Rather than knocking myself even harder than I already have, I wanted to open up about my favorite self care activities. Give myself credit where credit it due. You may also find these not so by the book self care tips, hence why I’m sharing!
COOK. Cooking always makes me feel better. If I feel stuck in any way, I’ll cook something. I’ll especially make meals I have never tried before or are made from the most random ingredients I have on hand. It’s fun, adventurous and usually tasty! I made up a yogurt bowl today which I haven’t had in months and it was delicious. *see photo at the bottom of this post*
CREATE. Making art does not have to be a start to finish painting, or words worth sharing in some *~magical~* way. It took me nearly my whole life to realize this. Lately I’ve loved just shooting raw photos and editing them in lightroom. I especially love shooting other people in their element and pictures of my plants. Making art is also the absolute best but I haven’t had a ton of inspiration, it’ll come.
QUALITY TIME. Just one on one with someone else. Spending time with people I care about helps them and it helps me. (there’s that need for others talking) It’s a win win and when you have connected, uninterrupted conversation with another person for hours on end, I think your heart grows a few sizes.
LISTEN TO MUSIC. I am a very music driven person. I feel it the most and can really belt it out to so many songs. Using singing in my car or just tapping along on my knee to the beat really fills my cup.
ACTIVITY OUTDOORS. I have fallen out of working out within the last year but absolutely love to get my sweat on during a hike, extensive walk up on rocks at the beach or even with a set of snow shoes! Being outside is so healing on it’s own so throwing in some activity only makes things even more beneficial.
Not your standard bubble bath, face mask, zen answers but those work too. Like I said, we all require different activities to feel whole again. Now that I’m writing this, I realize I actually do those things often so I do a better job at taking care of myself than I thought I did when I opened up my computer to write this.
Three tips to maintain positive habits that have an emphasis on care for your being:
1. Don’t make excuses (unless that’s what’s best for you in that moment and accept it as an act of self care rather than an excuse)
2. Prioritize time daily or weekly. Your schedule does allow it. Just write it down, stick positive words on your mirror and say them while you brush your teeth, bring some cheezits and a seltzer to the nearest sunset and watch it in your car alone. DO ANYTHING YOU CAN TO PRIORITIZE YOU.
3. Do less. Things can feel daunting if you have a big elaborate plan to accomplish something, sometimes less is more. Just showing up is enough.
I appreciate if you read this. I know this is not really food related but this is my website god damnit and I’ll do what I want.