You know, there’s a lot of buzz out there about “self-care.”
“Don’t forget to take care of you!”
“Remember the importance of self-care!”
Almost as if implying….you should already know how to do that… and if you don’t… well, Shame on you!
Here’s the thing. THERAPY is great. For the 50-60 minutes you pay for every week or two.
The REAL therapy though, are all the little things that sustain you during the week as you dredge through this thing called life. THAT, my friends. THAT….is self-care.
The long baths.
The wine (in moderation) on the back deck after the kids go to sleep.
The workout routine in the morning before everyone else starts NEEDING you.
The sneaky 8 minutes in the bathroom with the latest issue of REAL SIMPLE teaching you how to organize your pantry.
The scenic route home from the grocery instead of the bypass.
The darts in the garage with the neighbor.
THAT is our therapy.
That is the stuff that keeps us from falling over every day in defeat.
That is the stuff that we need to not skim past, but CELEBRATE and revere, for it is our necessary life line in a time that can feel over and underwhelming… or even obsolete. The day-to-day little escapes where we get to remember who we are. Even if only for a moment.
From time-to-time I will read “How Full is Your Bucket, ” for kids, by Tom Roth, to help client's connect to the concept that we are only as good as what we give. Meaning, if you aren’t giving some good, you sure as heck aren’t receiving much good. ALL of us have an invisible bucket.
And while it is amazing to have others add to our bucket to keep it full, aka, happy, well, we can’t control that.
We have to OWN our lives.
Grab it up and say, “I am going to CHOOSE good.”
So we smile at the stranger.
We buy the $2 Newspaper on the corner at the stoplight.
We buy the Starbucks for the person behind us.
We offer to grab the grocery cart from the lady loading her groceries by herself.
THAT fills our bucket.
That allows us the opportunity to remove our precious heads from our own backsides, and care about others.
It is then that our buckets get more and more full and we are capable of cultivating greater joy over our own lives.
That, my friends, is some self-care.
We HAVE to slow down in this busy world.
We have to take a minute to be intentional with ourselves and those around us. When we do, we give ourselves permission to slow down our brains, move out of that “GO” mentality we developed to keep up with social media’s highlight reel, and we become INTENTIONAL.
Take the time.
Make the effort.
Schedule a date with yourself.
Go to lunch alone with a book, and take an hour.
Swap childcare one day with a friend, offer 2 hours to them one day, and 2 hours to you another day.
Go to Lowes and “lolly-gag” through the outdoor section, and buy yourself a lovely indoor plant you can care for. Ask for information and tips about it. Look it up on Google and become the expert of caring for that…. specific….plant!
These are the little moments, that when we SEE them, when we hold them captive, they become our therapy.
They become our self-care.
These become the moments we look forward to and cherish.
They breathe life back into us.
They replenish us.
They allow us to show back up in the batter’s box when we were ready to surrender and sit down in the dug out of life!!
For those of you who are or have been my clients… you know I’m a sucker for assigning homework. I’m a firm believer that the more you apply this junk you’re paying for at home during the days you are not in the office, the less you will need to actually be in the counseling office!
So, here’s my challenge to each of you...
Make a list.
Make a list of all the things you currently do that feed your soul. Or fill your bucket.
Make a list of things you have done before that randomly provided you some solace or respite from this thing called life.
Make a list of the things people you respect and value MIGHT do to recharge their batteries.
When we step back from these lists…we can then compose a pretty impressive treatment plan for ourselves of behaviors we need to adopt, try out, or revisit more often in order to better care for ourselves!
Here’s my list:
Deck time with my fella, a cigar in the breeze and citronella candles pretending to keep the mosquitos at bay after the kids are in bed.
20-minute Epsom salt/lavender bath without kiddo interruption
Quiet time in the front room of our house with morning sun, no technology, reading with no noise around, and inviting my kids to bring books or coloring pages and quietly chill in a clean, bright space before jumping into the demands of the day.
Cooking with Michael Bublé or some chill music playing in the kitchen while the kids cut carrots with butter knives as my “Sioux chefs.”
Take my giant doodle for a walk around the block before the household awakens
Caring for my house and deck plants, tending my garden- watering, pruning, harvesting, etc.
Putting on an old movie and folding laundry
Previous Peaceful Moments:
Antiquing at my favorite spot when I have a 2-hour break in my work day while listening to one of my favorite Podcasts
Refinishing a piece of furniture that needs a facelift and possibly selling it
Knocking out one of the items on my list of DIY’s around the house for some quick/affordable home improvement
Baking Banana Bread with old banana’s and delivering to different friends/neighbors
Randomly painting a canvas (think sips and strokes- like guided painting with friends)
Sitting by the lake and reading a book
Schedule lunch with a friend
Going to a Farmers Market
Take kids to visit with older population (health permitting)
Delivering umbrella’s to people catching the bus
Other People’s Recharging Stratagies:
Running (only if I’m being chased)
Take kids or go alone on a Nature Walk/Hiking
Walk with friends
Serving at a local animal shelter
Catching up on reality TV-mindless show
“Strangely Satisfying Videos” on YouTube
Cutting the grass/yardwork
So there’s a quick example of some strategies I use, have used, or could use to try to “Fill My Bucket” or “put on my oxygen mask” and take care of myself.
Take 10 minutes, and make your own list. Post your list on the fridge or on your bathroom mirror, and try to do at least 1 item on that list every day! You are worth it! I know that when I am INTENTIONAL about taking care of myself, my mental health and the health of those closest to me greatly benefit.
So. Self-Care. DO IT! Because no one can do it FOR you!
Until next time…. I’m off to binge watch some reality TV.