A Page From My Journal

What the Heck is Self Care? A Page From My Journal

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Handwriting in a journal near plants and a window.

This is another rambling installment from my journal that I wrote a several weeks ago. I talk about self care a lot in my life with my clients and decided I needed to journal more about it.

I watched a video on growth journaling. It was kind of a cool video and there is another one that I want to watch. Basically, this guy wrote like 730 days in a row. And did this method of growth journaling.

He stated he looked at a problem in his life and rather than focus on the solutions, he focused on removing all the issues standing in his way to reach that goal.

He also spoke about focus. When a person is struggling with focus, then the issue is to remove all of the distractions and then you are free to focus. I like this thought and idea. Probably need to do more research on it.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is writing or thinking about how journaling is self care. I have these crazy thoughts of having self-care be the theme for August. I hate when I try to pigeon hole my creativity. Is that different than only writing when I feel like it? No idea. I’m just working on the habit right now.

I want to do a writing journal theme in September, and a Nano prep in October? Can I do that? Or should I do the nano prep in my AC Hoekwater site? Or if everything I am doing is focused on my writing journal – Nano can be a way to use that journal.

Project journals are one way of journaling. I will have to think about this. Or October can be about building habits. Writing daily can be a habit that journaling can help with. Okay, that sounds good.

And then I need to focus on self care. What the hell does that mean?

One thing that I think I need to talk about is the fact that self care isn’t selfish. Or the necessity of taking care of ourselves first. What does that look like?

Healthy Selfishness

Healthy selfishness – this is a dichotomy that our society had put on us. We are selfish if we take care of ourselves first.

This means – yes you deal with your kids, but it isn’t your job to solve every problem for them. Of course this is age specific – the younger the child, the more they need from us. But even 5 minutes of quiet where you aren’t doing any for anyone else. Even if that means hiding in the bathroom while your partner wrangles the little people, you deserve this time.

Of course there are big things when it comes to self care or perhaps a better way of looking at this idea is that there are more indulgent self care items. These include weekend getaways for whatever reason, or a night on the town with your friends or a shopping spree – alone.

All of these can be indulgent self care and are necessary for a time.

Stones – priorities exercise.

Have you ever seen this exercise?

You take a jar and put large stones in to the top. The jar looks full, but is it really?

You decide there is some space for smaller stones, so you add some and shake the jar. The jar, again, looks full but isn’t because you see a little space between the smaller stones.

What’s next?

Pebbles. There is a bit of space for some pebbles and you add those, shaking the jar as you go.

You set the jar on the table. And stare at it. And stare, wondering if there is actually any more space.

Ah, you say out loud as it dawns on you, there is still space in the jar and you pour sand in up to the top.

Now the jar is full. Nothing else can fit.

Often this is an exercise in priorities and yes, it is still good for that. However, how do you decide what the big things are? Or the pebbles? And what is the deal with the sand?

There is no room to breathe in the jar. But that is often how life is. We keep adding tasks, responsibilities and stuff until we are full to the top and struggle to catch our breath.

So what are the big rocks? What are the most important things in your life?

Most of the time these big rocks include family, health and relationships.

The pebbles can include things that are important, but are smaller in importance such as your home, school, work. These are still important but are often second to the big rocks.

The sand represents the smaller things in your life, things that have less importance in our lives and that can be any number of things.

While this exercise is a good way to get an overview of your life there is a problem with it.

The problem comes when you only focus on the big things, the smaller things tend to be overlooked.

One of the things that often gets over looked because it isn’t generally included is self-care.

Self-care gets pushed down the list because it isn’t one of the big things. However, I feel that we need to change that. Self care needs to be one of the big rocks.

Why does self-care need to be one of the big rocks?

I suppose that health is a form of self care but is it really?

We take care of our health because we don’t want to be sick, not because it feeds our soul.

We take care of our family because otherwise things fall apart.

We take care of our relationships because we are human beings and need community to thrive.

These big things are taken care of to prevent our world from crumbling around us.

Shouldn’t self care be thought of as the thing that holds up our world.

Why?

If we don’t take care of ourselves what happens?

We burn out.
We become short tempered.
We become physically ill.
Our anxieties and depression rise.
Our relationship suffer.
Our families suffer.
Our health suffers.

How does this work?

Have you ever had a toddler? Or ever met a toddler? Anyone that has knows how much a toddler can drain your energy and get on your last nerve.

But the cool thing is that toddlers generally take naps. Often in mid action and, whew, finally you can take a breath.

So you pick them up and settle them into bed and you look around the house. The peaceful sleeping angelic thing on the bed had previously been a tornado and you house shows it.

The question is do you take this brief interlude to clean things up, knowing full well that when that child wakes up a tornado will hit the house again. Or do you get some work done because the house is often too loud to get the work done? Or, do you do something to refresh yourself for the whirlwind to come?

Of course, the choice is yours but think for a moment. If you clean the house, yes, for a moment your house won’t look like a disaster.

If you decide to do work, yes that work will get done but how soon will you be interrupted by something.

Both of things don’t give you a chance to refresh and rest. And how many days can you keep that pace up before you crash, either through pure physical or mental exhaustion or you will become ill.

Unfortunately, we can’t separate our mind and body and when we become exhausted, our body just says no.

So, perhaps, just for today, you can close your eyes to the mess and make a promise that you will get to the work later. Just for today you can curl and take a nap. Or you can zone out in front of Netflix to catch up on your series. Or you can meditate, journal, take some time to do some restorative yoga. And, you can simply sit and do nothing. Yes, it is a thing. And it can be fun.

Have I convinced you that taking time for yourself give you more time and energy for those things that are important for you?

I hope so.

Until next time,
Angela

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