It's been a minute, how are you? I've been trying to put my feelings about something in to words for a few weeks and I've been struggling HARD. It's Black History Month and there's been an overload of gut wrenching and heartwarming facts shared. It's almost like an overload of the senses and it's making me happy, sad and spacey all at the same time.
So with that as the background, a company that makes nail products (dip powder, polish, accessories, etc) asked if they could give me a feature on their social media with my thoughts on what self care means to me. I was so excited! I told them I'd gather my thoughts and get back to them. This was weeks ago and I haven't been able to put my thoughts in to words yet.
My first thought was about how much I enjoy taking time for my (10 step!) skincare routine...but that's not self care. That's taking care of my body. That's not giving me a relief.
Then I thought about how much I enjoy doing my nails. It's been a fun bonding experience with my daughter and when I'm feeling anxious, swatching my colors (I'll explain it in another post so you can skip it if it bores you, lol) has been calming...but I don't know if that's really self care either.
When I think self care, I think of what it is that you do to protect and care for your mental health and your peace. Then it hit me, why the skincare and the nails seemed like self care at first but not upon further reflection. It's not the action of pampering my skin or doing my nails, it's the choice I made to do it. Self care is choosing my mental health and my peace over my fears, anxieties and self imposed perceptions of what I'm supposed to do to be a good woman and a good mother. It's recognizing that it's okay to say no. It's okay to choose taking care of myself and making an easy dinner instead of foregoing my wants to put an Instagram worthy meal on the table every night. It's okay to not do it all. I need my daughter to see that sometimes I will prioritize my needs without apology. My mother taught me this and I almost missed it because she didn't explain it, she just did it. I remember my mother (the small business owning, volunteering, bible teaching mom who cooked every meal, washed all the laundry and took care of the beautiful home) saying no when she was asked to take a shift sitting with the elderly wife of a dear friend. I didn't understand. She always helped everyone! She did everything for everyone, how could she deny this request? I took a shift in her stead. I was embarrassed and I let it be known in the way a know it all, jerky 18/19 year old does. She put me in my place. She had a ton of obligations and she was managing her time to get them all done well. She cared deeply for our friends but she wasn't going to put her health (Did I mention she was having health problems?) and well being at risk to cram something else in to her schedule just to make other people feel good about what she was doing. I was now embarrassed for a VERY different reason. So, I say all of this to say that I've realized that self care for me is remembering that I have the right to say no and choose myself. I don't have to attend every (Zoom) event, volunteer at every school function or cater to every last whim of my child's. Sometimes I can relax and give myself a fabulous manicure, guilt free, even if the last load of laundry isn't put away yet. Peacefully yours, E