All month long Tamarisk Saunders-Davies and Mara Glatzel have been inspiring online writers to tackle the subject of real-life self-care. Mind you, this isn’t the self-care you see in self-help magazines. This isn’t what people with a billion dollars and no job do. This is how real people care for themselves in a world that expects green smoothies every morning, yoga sweats every week, and absolutely no junk food. You can read up on all the other entries HERE. Below is my contribution to this important conversation.
On the live-call with my ease hunters this past weekend I shared with them that I’ll be having my tonsils out in April. One of the women chimed in with “Well, at least you’ll have a good excuse to eat all the ice cream you want.”
I smiled. “I don’t need an excuse to eat all the ice cream I want.”
It’s true. My self-care is all about freeing myself from any suggestion that I can’t have what I hunger for.
It turns out I don’t hunger for ice cream all that much.
Caring for myself is not something I approach with great routine. That could change in the future if I start to hunger for more structure, but right now I enjoy feeling free and allowing pleasure and self-kindness to be my guides.
In my life, this ends up looking like:
:: Working out of bed, in my pajamas most days.
:: Prioritizing relationships and time with people. I get depressed when I’m alone too much.
:: Eating whatever I want, whenever I want, in whatever quantity I want.
:: Allowing my body to be beautiful and human as it is and as it changes.
:: Having compassion for myself when I miss the mark by eating until I’m uncomfortable or getting lost in a self-critical story.
:: Downton Abbey and American Idol.
:: Investing in high-quality, transformative therapy and/or coaching.
:: Not coaching more than four women each day.
:: Three, delicious meals every single day. Not always homemade, but often homemade.
:: Expensive haircuts less frequently instead of cheap haircuts more often.
:: Asking for the kind of touch, listening, communication, and companionship I need at a given moment.
:: Telling the truth as often as possible.
:: Skyping with my family (and our Welsh Terrier, Wiley).
:: Generally tuning into what’s working and what’s not working. (Note to self: more sunshine)
:: Trying to take care of me first, so I can take care of others better.
:: Naps. Lots and lots of long naps.
:: Throwing out the rules that say you have to work 40 or more hours a week.
:: Not pursuing relationships with people whom I feel less than great around.
I do not do any of this perfectly. Well, I probably watch American Idol perfectly, but otherwise, I simply do my imperfect best.
There are days I don’t exercise. Plenty of them.
There are days I don’t eat a single green vegetable.
There are days I watch more than my share of television.
Self-care isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
My self-care is about shifting away from ‘shoulds’ and towards ‘wants’, ‘hungers’, and ‘desires’.
Anything done with harshness, judgement, cruelty, rigidity, or as a means to feel enough is the antithesis to self-care.
When I move or rest my body it’s because I want to.
When I spend time with others or alone it’s because I have choice in how I tend to myself.
When I eat ice cream or kale it’s because self-care doesn’t have to look a certain way and rarely does.
Does this sound like you?