This was a pretty large section in my Baby’s First Year book when we brought the girls home from the hospital. It’s so easy to put yourself on the back-burner in those simultaneously manic and foggy first days and weeks. Funny thing is, self care isn’t really something you pay much attention to until you are no longer the center of your own world. Even now that the babes have grown a little, and we’re getting more than one hour of sleep a night, day-to-day life and trying to balance the demands of work and family has a similar effect on self care as two newborns did. As in, self-care is often relocated to the back-burner…again.
I have had neck tension and pain for the better part of the last two years. This morning, my alarm went off at six so I could go to the gym before work. I did what I
often always do and turned off my alarm and tried to fall back asleep, but because I went to bed so early the night before, I really had no excuse. I got myself up and walked to the gym in the cool morning, while listening to Troye Sivan (like a more pop-y, romantic, less straight The Weeknd), and it felt good. As I let Sivan’s lyrics inspire me for my WIP and pushed my muscles, I actually felt the tension receding from my neck and shoulders.
Earlier in the week, desperate for something to relieve the pain, I set up a chiropractic appointment. I have horrible posture, and I work a desk job, so I am screwed at every turn with regards to my back. The thing is, I haven’t been to any doctor, chiropractor, dentist, or optometrist appointments since before I got pregnant. And after having my daughters–well, everyone who is a parent out there knows–I kind of lost myself in the first months. And whether you have children or a lot on your plate, in general, you have to reclaim yourself. Going to the doctor is damned important. If you have a tooth bothering you, or you think your glasses a may not be the right prescription anymore, by God, get thee to the ‘ist doctor, go! You’re the only one there to take care of you, the only one who can know what you need and when you need it. Taking half an hour to go visit the chiropractor and an hour before I got ready for work to hit the gym reminded me of the importance of self care.
Maybe you don’t work out. Maybe that’s not how you relieve stress. Instead, take a ten minute walk or ten minutes to sit on your porch and read a book or ten minutes to go into your bedroom and unwind with some deep breathing. Just the fact that you’re claiming that moment for yourself could be all you need.
I am also learning that self care includes being good to yourself in your thoughts. You cannot constantly cut yourself down and expect to feel good as a result. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do or achieve, don’t belittle yourself for not getting it done. Instead, enjoy whatever you’re doing instead and make time to do the other thing. Take action rather than slinging internal verbal abuse at yourself. If you’re like me, you might have to constantly, consciously remind yourself to do this.
I know what you’re all wondering. Is the neck tension gone? I have one-year-old twins and I field complaints for eight hours a day at my job. What do you think? 😉
What are some of the ways you’ve slacked off on self-care? What have you done or can you do to take care of yourself?