Self Care

In the last 5 months my life has changed drastically:

  1. Started a new part time job.
  2. Had what I thought was a minor injury that turned out to be a mid-to-major one.
  3. Muddled through the holidays trying to balance two jobs and a child.
  4. Started a new healthy eating plan.

I kept telling myself that once I figured out fitting the part time job into my schedule things would get better. Then when my knee healed things would get better. Then when the holidays were over things would get better.

And things got better after the holidays until I got sick, my father in law had a massive heart attack (he’s on the mend), I took on a few more hours at work because our rent and insurance went up. My illness lasted far longer than I anticipated, probably because I got no time off for sick leave as a part time employee and full time mom. Then my husband got sick. Then he got better and Miss P. got sick, and I got sick again (or had I ever really recovered?).

The new healthy eating plan was the last thing on my list, though I tried to incorporate a bit here and there. I lost 9 lbs in 2 months (slow, but I was happy) and then gained 5 of it back during illnesses when I stopped caring what I put into my mouth.

A few days ago I woke up, made my husband’s lunch, then fell back into bed. Miss P woke me up an hour later, and I was still groggy.  I threw some food and drink down my gullet and sat down in the recliner and dozed off. Miss P sat happily watching TV, occasionally interrupting my “nap” for requests of snacks, juice, a butt wipe.

No matter when I went to bed or when I got up I was exhausted. I dragged myself out of the recliner and took Miss P into the shower with me. It perked me up to be clean and fresh smelling.  That’s when I realized that I haven’t been caring for myself.

So here’s my minimum of self-care:

  1. A shower EVERY DAY, first thing in the morning if at all possible. I had been showering every other day and that wasn’t helping me feel good about myself.
  2. Three meals a day, minimum. I had been skipping lunch to get logged in for work.
  3. Making the bed. This is simply a mental health thing. The bed is made, so the day is started.

Level two self-care:

  1. Moisturizing. I am so bad about this. My skin has been dry and itchy and I’ve got a cabinet full of lotions I never use.
  2. Supplements. I take several supplements every night before bed (along with my multivitamin and allergy med) but I’ve added elderberry syrup as an immune booster.
  3. Healthy eating. I’m trying to following the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It is doable, and my whole family likes the food. I feel better when I eat this way.

To be added for self-care:

  1. More time writing. I love writing and need to do more personal writing.
  2. Exercise. I need it, and as soon as the weather stops being bipolar I’ll get outside more. In the meantime I have a ton of exercise video options.
  3. Exploring career alternatives. There is one career I have always wanted to have but never knew how to pursue. I am starting to figure out how to make it happen. I’ll talk more about it as it comes to fruition.
  4. Be more social. I have a bit of social anxiety but I love spending time with friends and I need to do more of it.

Since jump starting self care I’ve dropped 6 lbs, which puts me back down a pound under where I was when I stopped taking care of myself. I am cleaner and have more energy and focus.

I didn’t grow up with a mom who practiced self-care. She was overindulgent, and she spent a lot of time sitting around watching soap operas, drinking diet sodas and snacking. She ordered me around from her throne and came down hard on me if anything I did was less than perfect.  Not a model for self-care.

I’m figuring this out for myself, and for Miss P.

What do you do for self-care?

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