Self care for me also means restriction (not reward). I used to drink a lot of wine, to the point of excess. Once I realized this, I made the choice to stop drinking entirely as an act of self care and self love. I also maintain a healthy budget, which means spending less money (which has translated to more happiness). I’m currently nursing an injury, but as soon as it heals I’ll be back to running again. Although I hate the actual act of running, I love the way it makes me feel when I’m through.
What is self care exactly? Does watching TV count? Is it as basic as taking a shower? Managing a nap? Honestly, the idea of ‘self care’ makes me feel like it’s okay for me to be selfish with my time, to do whatever I feel like calling self care at the moment (Even if it’s just a nap or getting a little peace a quiet away from my son and dogs).
I do believe that the idea of self care is primarily targeted towards women. But I also think that’s because typically, men don’t have a problem getting ‘alone time.’ It’s normal for them to take time in a man cave or go out with the boys for a beer after work or something.
Whether or not self care costs in terms of time and money, depends on your personal choices. I’m certain that some people go out and get massages or have their nails and hair done. Honestly for me, self care is sleeping late or having my kid vacuum the floor so I can veg out with TV or a read a book. It can also look like spending time in the kitchen cooking homemade seitan or other time-consuming recipes to feed my family. We recently bought a house, and I’m really enjoying ‘nesting.’ When the weather breaks, I plan to start my garden! It’s something I’ve wanted for years, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands in the dirt, raising crops and feeding my family with fresh produce we grow ourselves.
And even with all of this, I find it difficult to remind myself that I matter. There are days when I don’t shower or comb my hair. For a while I stopped wearing makeup. Hugs and kisses from my little one… licks from my dog… those are reminders that I am needed and I am loved. But I understand that it’s also different from knowing that I matter.
I remind others that they matter by cultivating and nurturing friendships. I listen to friends. I’m honestly much better at reminding others that they matter, and that taking time for themselves is important. I feel guilty taking time for myself. I’m an only parent to a busy 12 year old. Everything falls on my shoulders and I’m rarely without my kid. I’m learning that it’s okay if the laundry isn’t done or the kitchen isn’t clean. I’m learning to let the floors be dirty and the dogs be a little stinky sometimes.
I’m learning to do things that I enjoy and not sweat the small stuff. I’m not sure if those things count as self care, but I kind of feel like they do. Either way, I’m doing i! And it feels pretty damn good not to be so uptight about everything!
*Cris is vegan, and vocal advocate for the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. She regularly travels and shares her knowledge and personal experience of eliminating animal products from her diet. Cris has just been announced as a speaker for the Midwest Vegan Fest in April.