- I hadn’t had a dental cleaning in six years. S-i-x.
- Working out was in my perpetual “start tomorrow” plan.
- The “start tomorrow” plan also included getting massages, pedicures, facials, and spa treatments.
- I couldn’t move my neck very far to the right or left because my muscles were so tight.
- I bought new clothes at Target or on the cheap because I didn’t want to “waste money” — I was going to lose weight — so soon, the new clothes wouldn’t fit anyway.
- I didn’t have regular haircuts, just one every three to six(ish) months, whenever a major event was coming up.
- I ate dairy daily, even though it caused painful stomach issues and major acne.
- I didn’t go outside every day. Or even every other day. I stayed in the house and wrote and hung out and watched TV.
- I didn’t even shave my legs very often.
- I literally could not ask for help from anyone. For anything. I wanted to do everything myself.
Self care is one of the hardest things on the planet for me to do.
I can help you and you and you — and him and her and them — but when it came right down to lying on a table getting a massage to help alleviate my pain, I almost ran screaming from the spa. I literally laid on the table, trying not to be tense, thinking, “Let her help you let her help you let her help you let her help you let her help you let her help you” while my masseuse, Melissa, got my neck back in working order. It was one of the longest half hours of my life.
The same painful “Let her help you let her help you let her help you” routine has happened with facials, with pedicures, and with yes, my husband. I’m learning. Slowly. Instead of screaming from the kitchen for help because I’ve spilled half a gallon of olive oil and need help cleaning it up, I’m starting to ask for help preemptively. Before the blow-up or the meltdown. Imagine!
If you’re anything like me, self care is a struggle.
Right here, right now, I double dog dare you to take a single step toward taking a better you by scheduling your self care. It’s time to put taking care of yourself on the calendar.
Schedule 1 activity per week for the next 4 weeks, and you’ll be well on your way to a more patient, loving, and revitalized self.
- Call the spa and schedule the haircut, the facial, the mani/pedi, the massage — or all of ‘em.
- Go outside for ten minutes without your iPhone, iPod, iBook, or iLife. Be device-free in the outdoors.
- Have a smoothie or a salad instead of that thing you know isn’t good for you but you shove down your throat because you “don’t have time” to eat better. Try it, just once.
- Buy a great outfit that fits, even if you’re not yet at your ideal weight. (Is anyone, really?)
- Schedule an appointment to help with any chronic pain you experience. That crick in your neck or back pain or weird elbow thing isn’t “normal,” nor is it “just part of getting older.”
- Shave your legs and your armpits even though you’re wearing pants and a t-shirt and no one will see. You’ll feel better. (Unless you’re a dude. And then you’ll feel weird.)
- Get your eyebrows shaped by a pro.
- Light a candle and quiet your mind as best you can and just sit for at least ten minutes.
- Play with your kids or your husband or your dog instead of watching them play while you cook dinner or do housework or keep busy doing “important” things.
- Ask for help with something you’ve been struggling with — whether it’s accounting or working out or cooking or cleaning or just getting the kids to bed on time — your loved ones are not mind readers. Ask.
Small steps are all I’m asking — ten minutes in the next week is no big deal, right — and you’ll find those results push you to bigger and deeper levels of caring about yourself and your own needs. Ironically, the better you take care of yourself, the more time and energy you have for taking care of those around you. And your friends, family, and clients deserve better care, right?
Feel free to “Amen” or “Alleluia” or otherwise weigh in on this article below — and as always, if you heart this article, please share it on the Facebooks.
Oh, and congrats on your new self care calendar! It’s gonna be freaking awesome.