Today is Gina’s birthday and her present was mailed earlier in the week but I called her this morning to say happy birthday and then chin wag. During the course of conversation we started talking about “self-care”…as in what are you doing FUN for your birthday. Her answer is just about everyone’s answer…laundry (housework, clean the car, etc.) but we’re (she and her husband) are going out for supper.
Gina is about the fifth or sixth
person woman I’ve spoken to recently (myself included) who isn’t taking care of her. We’re taking care of husband, children, parent, work, household, animals, farm…but not ourselves.
WOMEN: what is wrong with us?!
Self care is not sel-fish; it’s necessary and the busier we are, the more necessary self care is for our well being. Most women I know have a high discomfort tolerance and were we to take one of those written stress tests -the ones where you get X number of points for each “thing”- we’d be off the chart! I’ve only done one of those type stress tests and scored around 800; which was enough to cure me of ever taking another one. I mean, who needs stress confirmed, right? It only adds to the stress! (haha)
“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” ~ Ecclesiastes 8:15 ~
Here are some suggestions for self care; all cost time which equals money, some cost time and money and others are free. I started my self care last month with a Tibetan salt rock massage and it was lovely. I was asked, “Do you feel relaxed” and my answer astonished me! “No, I feel calm” and, even better, my shoulders weren’t hunched up around my ears. Okay, maybe not hunched that far but I’ve always carried stress and worry in my shoulders and it feels amazing to not have that nagging sense of discomfort! So amazing I’ve decided to have another massage this month and, sometime this year, I’m visiting American’s oldest spa, Berkeley Springs, WV. Staying in the state park and visiting their waters isn’t as expensive as staying at a spa B&B but the State Park is undergoing renovations and won’t open until June.
In Go Soak Your Head I wrote about the Jefferson Pools (named after Thomas Jefferson because he frequented them) in Bath County, VA. Unfortunately, those pools are closed because the buildings are no longer safe and the owner (who also owns the Homestead) doesn’t appear to want to do any upkeep whatsoever. An absolute travesty as the pools are part of American history…but I digress.
Back to self-care; for those who say, “I don’t have time”, I refer you to Susanna Wesley who had NINETEEN children! When she wanted to have quiet time with the Lord, she’d sit in her chair, pull her apron up and over her face and head and the children knew not to disturb her. If you don’t have 19 children, you’ve got time for yourself. -lol-.
*Give yourself a manicure: trim your nails then file them then use whatever oil you’ve got on hand…vitamin e, vegetable, corn, olive, lavender, strawberry… it doesn’t really matter but warm the oil and gently rub it into your hands using the right to massage the left and vice versa. Our hands take a beating, treat them with TLC (tender loving care).
*An Epsom salt bath is not only restorative but it makes ole bones feel like new! A bit of research says Epsom salts won’t hurt plumbing nor do damage to a septic system but, to be on the safe side, I don’t use them daily. Research varies (due primarily, I think, to its being funded by Big Pharm) but I believe magnesium (primary ingredient in Epsom salt) helps with aching bones, sleep, stress, constipation (mixed in water and drunk), reduces fibromyalgia symptoms and, good news, Epsom salt is very inexpensive and comes in plain, lavender, charcoal, chamomile, and eucalyptus.
*Take a walk with no real destination. Just…walk by yourself with no companion, animals and don’t walk in a place where you’re sure to meet someone you know and be forced to have a conversation. The entire purpose of this walk is to be alone with yourself for company.
*Eat as healthfully as possible (preaching to the choir here…).
*Keep a blessings and/or compliment file. When someone gives you a compliment, no matter how “small”, write it down so you can hold it as a talisman against the dreary days. Same with a blessings file: you are blessed to be a blessing so I’ll start you with: hot water, new toothbrush, a favorite mug. a deep breath, a new pen, a clean pad of paper/journal.
What are your most cherished blessings?
*Do 4-square breathing; sit or stand up straight and breath in to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breath out for a count of 4 and hold for a count of 4. Do this several times and you’ll feel slightly dizzy because you’ll be totally oxygenated and your body will love you! It’s also good for your brain.
*S T R E T C H tall then twist to the right, then to the left. Listen to your body as the kinks are worked out. snap, crackle, pop…
*Play a favorite song and MOVE for those few minutes; do this ten minutes a day and, eventually, you’ll look and feel amazing. (I’ve started doing this, want to join me?)
*Every day, for 15 minutes, sit with your face in the sun. Have as much of your skin as possible exposed to the sun; soak up that vitamin D. Most of us don’t get enough vitamin D (I take an extra capsule of 10,000 mg of vitamin D daily).
Have a swing with Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent
*Watch a silly movie or video and LAUGH!
*Be intentional with your time. Make careful choices about who you spend your time with and if someone isn’t uplifting, encouraging, or simply kind then walk away. People are either givers or takers; generally speaking, givers find it difficult to take and takers find it difficult to give. Severely limit your exposure to takers, negative people, pessimists and others who aren’t good for and to you.
*Become the friend you’ve always wanted; you’ll always be in good company!
*Ask for help; there’s no shame in asking for help and if there’s anyone else in your household, give a thought as to training them to help. Especially if they’re children.
*Taking care of yourself means you too.
Those are my few suggestions; what are your favorite ways to lovingly care for yourself?