So. The new year has come in with a bang. There have already been some pretty high highs and some extremely low lows and the impact on my emotional and mental health has been heavy without my full recognition of it. I am fairly certain that I am not alone in this feeling. I personally have already found myself feeling exhausted and burnt out, not to mention totally stretched thin with my obligations to work, motherhood, and the personal goals that are rolling along quite steadily at this point. So, this past weekend, I decided to have a full blown self-care weekend. I tend to keep a pretty healthy daily self-care routine, but I felt like a full overhaul was needed. Initially, I said I was going to “check out” totally. That I would log off of social media, take no pictures, and just keep it to myself. But, I quickly changed my mind about that. Why? Because I felt like there was at least one other queen on my timeline that needed to see me doing this for myself as a bit of encouragement to do it as well.
I often make plans to do things just for Angela, but become side tracked by the obligations that I have to others in my world. Not this time. During the early part of the week, when I took a mental inventory and realized that I was feeling overwhelmed, I made a promise to myself that no matter what else had to go on pause or standby, I was going to take care of me. And I did just that! Want to hear what I did? Well, I mean, of course you do. LOL! Walk with me mentally for a moment:
Friday evening, I got off of work, kissed my girls goodbye for the weekend (it was visitation weekend), went back home and proceeded to pamper myself. I put on my favorite playlist, took the longest shower ever, exfoliated and drenched my skin in quality oils from top to bottom, did a facial, and took as long as I needed to totally relax. Then, I proceeded to set the tone for relaxation for the evening by lighting my favorite candle, fixing a cocktail and my favorite snack, and taking the time to actually watch and soak in a classic movie that I had been putting off watching for quite some time. I sat still for the full 2 hours and absorbed the content on my tv screen with no interruptions and no distractions. I must say, once I did get to sleep, I slept like a baby.
Saturday morning, I slept in as late as my mind and back would allow. I got up, got dressed, and headed to find a quiet corner in a local coffee shop. I ordered my favorite coffee, sat in my solitude, and read my current paperback selection for about an hour. After this, I visited our local art museum to take in the current exhibit, which displays local artists’ interpretations of the year that was 2020. I strolled and soaked in the exhibit for about an hour and a half. I allowed myself time to truly pause and reflect on the messages that these artists were sending, as well as to feel the emotions that I didn’t even realize still lingered under the surface for me. I then went by my favorite local bakery, grabbed some tasty treats and headed home. Once home, I fixed my favorite soup and a tall glass of water. I sat and mindfully ate my lunch…there is something to be said for taking the time to actually use the 5 senses to eat a meal with intention. Then, I brewed a pot of my favorite loose leaf tea and had tea time, along with my treats that I picked up. I then took a glorious nap and relaxed as much as possible for the evening. I worked a bit of overtime that night, so had to pause my self-care just for a moment. But, I made sure to continue it the next day.
Sunday morning, I let my body and mind wake up at it’s own pace. I stretched and did some deep breathing. I brewed a tasty cup of coffee to go with my peanut butter toast and grabbed my book of daily affirmations, as well as my current read and my artsy book for brown creatives. I sat and read and sipped my coffee and just allowed a space of gratitude and reflection in the moment. I then got up, got myself cleaned up for the day, and spent time working on my personal goal of building a brand around my blog site. I listened to my vinyl records spin, as I wrote handwritten thank you cards to those who believed in my goal enough to order my merch. I allowed myself to soak in the light and love that I felt from the people around me who have shown so much support for this little sunflower’s dream of spreading light and love. I then relaxed and watched whatever tv shows/movies I hadn’t caught up on until my girls returned home and it was time to get back to mommy mode.
How do you feel after walking with me through my self-care weekend? Do you feel relaxed? Do you feel anxious about the thought of “wasting so much time”? Do you wish that you had the time and space to do this for yourself? Listen. Whatever you feel about self-care, you have to realize how vital it is to your continuation of being a healthy, whole person. We go so hard for everyone and everything around us 24/7. Who is going to go hard for you? YOU ARE! You have to. “Well, that sounds all fine and dandy, Angela, but who has time for that?!” I’m so glad you asked. YOU DO! You have time for it. You have to make the time for it….no matter what!
I have a calendar on my work desk that tends to give my coworkers anxiety when they look at it. That calendar is usually filled by the first of each month with my color coded method of tracking my obligations to my kids, my other relationships, my main job duties, my collateral job duties, my overtime schedule, my personal to-do items, and so on and so forth. I make promises to these people and obligations that I am going to keep my word to show up and do my part. In order to keep those promises, I make them a priority by adding it to my calendar so that I have made a contractual agreement with myself to do so. Whether it’s a calendar or whatever method you choose, I’m sure that you have some similar system to track your priorities. Are you on it? I mean is a time to just take care of you really on your list? Likely, the answer is no.
I encourage you, PUT IT ON THE LIST! Like literally, schedule it with yourself. My self-care weekend went accordingly because I scheduled it with myself. Self-care isn’t always going to just magically happen. Sometimes, we have to make it happen. We have to put it on the calendar and be okay with saying “No, I’m not available. I have plans”. We have to schedule the sitter or let our partner know that they will be on kid duty or ask our support system can they look out for them for a bit. We have to say no to our babies and our jobs and our friends/family. We have to allow space for us to be on that list of priorities. Because reality is, that if we do not, all of the other priorities will begin to feel the impact of it and you, most of all, will feel it.
I know that self-care is a hot topic right now and I’m so glad about it. It’s on the top of everyone’s social media posts and every other meme that I see. My hope is that we not only talk about it while it’s a hot topic, but that we learn to make it our norm. That when the buzz around self-care stops, we will have learned a new way of living that includes a healthy self-care routine and full on self-care days. Ladies, we make the world go around….but, we can’t keep it going if we cease to function. Take care of yourself, make time for yourself, do the things that bring you joy and peace, and make yourself a priority.
Light and Love….