Self Care is Self Preservation
The last few days have been an emotional whirlwind for me. Maybe for you too? I feel like I'm almost addicted to the news. I hop on Twitter for a few hours each day to read news articles, first-person accounts and satirical takes on our - well, let's just call it a political situation. I fear a lot for how my life could personally alter over the next few years - losing access to my health care; being forced to register on a Muslim registry - as well as the lives of so many other people in this country. Going to the Women's March was awe-inspiring for me. To see so many people assembled to stand up for everything that is at stake was emotional. It made me feel like I'm not alone. We are not alone. And we will make a difference over the years to come.
But our situation has been wearing on me, both physically and emotionally. I have to keep reminding myself to stop. To breathe. To put down my phone and pick up a guilty-pleasure read. There will be fights; there will be battles. I can't worry all the time. Sometimes, and that time is now, self care is essential to preserving myself for all that is to come.
It's important to remember that self care is an act, not just a thought. I know I can draw, but do I? I know I can meditate, but when was the last time I did that? Here are some of my favorite things to do in the name of self care:
1- Draw: I love being creative, but I rarely make time for non-work-related creativity. Sometimes I like to just get out all my pens and pencils and draw my dog chasing her own tail. I co-organize a hand lettering society for all those wanting to doodle and letter in company. Join us.
2- Take a Bath: Taking a bath is great because there are so few things you can do while taking a bath. Leave your phone in another room, grab a book and some bath salts and just soak up the good vibes. Literally. In any case, we should all be taking more baths. Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs everything you put onto it. I love Himalayan salts because they replenish your body with lots of minerals that you regularly deplete. Eat them, bathe in them, live in Himalayan salts.
3- Make a Big Pot of Tea: I've almost completely let go of coffee for tea these days. Tea gives me energy without that crazy caffeinated edge. On the weekends, I like to take some time to make a pot of chai for my husband and myself. We experiment with different spice blends and I get to serve it all up on my favorite tray. Tea time is big in my family, and it's something I love having regularly at home.
4- Meditate: My brother and grandfather are huge meditation junkies. My brother's latest thing is nagging me about my meditation practice. We should all be meditating, according to them. It's not easy though. My grandfather once told my brother, who told me, that your meditation practice is a process, and a journey within itself. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's not fun. Sometimes I feel antsy, sad and anxious in my practice, but it's a way to check in with myself and confront my whole self without any distractions. To work through what's going on in my life. There is just me, and that is my time.
5- Clean and Organize my House: My husband is a big minimalist. Cleaning and organizing is his favorite thing, and though I'm not a big fan of cleaning all the time, I do love sorting through my stuff, reorganizing and finding new places for old things. Creating my space is hugely therapeutic and refreshing for me. Home is sacred for me, and it must constantly be tended to.
6- Take a Long Walk: Rosie, my dog, and I have been going on nice long walks now that I've had some time to cool off from the holidays. It's a great way to get fresh air, regular exercise and appreciate my beautiful little neighborhood. That's how my Sunday Blossoms blog came to be in the first place - I couldn't stop taking pictures of flowers in my wild little neighborhood while on walks with Rosie.
7- Cook: Cooking is creative. Cooking is therapeutic. It's my new thing this year. Cooking helps clear my head. I put on some music, dice up an onion and set to work.
8- Listen to Music: I love music. I love music so much that I can't listen to it a lot because I get really into it, really excited, and it gets me really emotionally worked up and then exhausted. I don't know if that's weird. I can only listen to really mellow music because that's all my little heart can handle. When I love, I love hard, and listening to music while I draw and cook and drink tea in my home always gives me a whole new level of energy.
9- NAP: A yogi friend of mine has instituted a new bed-itation practice, as she calls it. Her theory is that we drink too much coffee, have too much caffeine, when really what we need is to rest more. Naps are the best. We need to indulge them more.
10- Garden: When the weather is nice, I like to tend to a small little assortment of plants in my front yard. I live in an apartment and I try to keep a few things alive outside when the weather is nice. During the winter months, I like to tend greatly to my indoor plants. I love watching them sprout up. I know how old they all are, too. My oldest plant is about eight years old and one of my greatest treasures. Plants clean your air, enliven your space, and even give you some purpose. They are my little babies, and giving an act of love to them is just as good as giving yourself an act of love. Self care is giving.
11- Read: Every year, I like to reread the Harry Potter series. Just to center myself. It's a guilty pleasure. But this year, I've read so many other great books too - Simple Matters by Erin Boyle, Swing Time by Zadie Smith, and I'm reading In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. Taking time to explore new worlds.
There is no reason to ever run yourself ragged. To take care of others, you have to take care of yourself, too. Here are our favorite goods to indulge with, all in the name of self care.
Take care of yourselves, friends. So you can show up for yourself and for others when it counts.