Self Care is Not About Smoothies / 1

September 26, 2014

This field of corn is whispering self care secrets... 
A few months ago I was complaining to a healthcare professional that most people don't want to hear about how well we're taking care of ourselves. "It's not cool", I insisted. "People want to hear that you're working hard!" I then detracted my statement. You know what I admire? People who take care of themselves. People who have their own backs, you know? Sometimes I even get jealous of it: it shows a massive amount of self-confidence and love.

But I'm not always sure as to what actually constitutes self care. Sometimes the idea gets blended in with juice cleanses, methods of self improvement, and a big case of the 'shoulds' (I should go on a run instead of napping, I should really meditate more....) I don't want my self care to be about control. I'd rather it be about figuring out how to listen to myself. This year I've been thinking a lot about the word 'thrive', which has given me the opportunity to frequently check-in with myself and ask: what do I need? This is a hard question to remember to even ask. Then, once you ask it, it sometimes feels daring to act on the response you hear without looking around to see who your answer might inconvenience. The thing I keep remembering is that I'm the only one who is in charge of putting ME first. It's that whole 'put the oxygen mask on yourself before the person you're assisting' metaphor thing.

My post-birthday travels gave me plenty of time for life reflection, which led to numerous impassioned scrawls in a notebook, "Self care is NOT about smoothies!" being one. I'll start with some good old contradiction: I have a blender and occasionally make smoothies, and I'm not hating on you smoothie-loving folks. (In fact, google has assured me that for many people, self care is indeed about smoothies.) I think I just like a good acronym: you can say it ski-naas OR sky-naas (rhymes with 'Linus')-- go ahead and pick. No, but really-- I do think that self care is about so much more than smoothies, though smoothies get a lot more internet space. I'm thinking about things like boundary setting, figuring out how to connect to a supportive community, wearing clothes that make us feel like our best selves, and finding the resources we need when we're sick or down or scared about a loved one. This is the kind of self care that I care about a lot and want to learn how to get better at, and this is what I hope to write about semi-frequently-- if you can deal with the bad title for the series. 

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