My doctor once told me I needed to ‘Get my shit together’ if I wanted to stop feeling like a hot mess. True story. She prescribed self-care. She said ‘If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else’.
It reminded me of Aiden’s Kindergarten teacher telling him that you should love yourself more than you love anyone else. I admitted to Aiden that like most moms, I love him and his brother more than I love myself. It’s the way I’m wired. I’m used to putting others ahead of myself. I worry about others over myself (when I really shouldn’t) and I put other people’s needs ahead of my own. It’s the reason I know I’d struggle on an airplane in an emergency because I wouldn’t want to put my own safety mask on first. It would seem selfish of me to do that, but it’s not. It’s self-care. I need to learn to better take care of ME.
So that’s my mission. Self-care. Now, how does one do this? I did what most would do and I turned to google for some ideas. Which was terrifying as it turns out what some consider self-care, I would consider torture. I had to come up with some ideas on my own:
Dance. I love to dance. I dance while I straighten my hair, while I cook supper, while I clean my floors. Even when I’m driving, I don’t stop moving. My living room floor becomes my makeshift dance floor daily as me and Camryn shake what our momma’s gave us from one corner to the other. I miss Zumba. For 3.5 years it was a huge stress reliever for me. I could shake my hips in a gym full of strangers like I was drunk on a dance floor on George Street and I didn’t care. I need to go back. No excuses. Find a sitter- go to Zumba once a week and release my inner JLO.
Walk. It’s honestly free therapy for me. I try to get out for a walk every day but it’s not possible where I always have the kids (and let’s be honest, walking with them is far from therapeutic). So my new goal is to walk alone 4 times a week. Even with my broken toe. I’m not gonna let displaced bones stop me from self-care, now am I?
Exercise. I am one of those weird crazies who loves to exercise. I don’t do it because I have to, I do it because I want to. I enjoy it. Sadly, the last few months kinda messed with my routine but I need to get back at it as I miss it and I actually feel different when I’m not doing it. The one thing I’ve remained committed to are my evening leg lifts (my god, it’s no wonder I have no life). I do 150-200 leg lifts every night before bed (ask my sisters, they can attest to this fact. I really AM the life of the party, bitches). I don’t see any abs but I swear to god I feel something. Maybe it’s my hip bone, I’m not sure. But either way, it’s like me and JLO are the same person.
TV: I realized that for me, other simpler ways to self-care include reading (which I don’t do enough of because apparently I’ve become too lazy) and even though I hate to admit this, watching TV. Judge away, Mama loves her screen time. There’s nothing better than being in my lounge clothes (and no socks, I HATE socks), curling up on the couch with my blanket, remote in one hand and large ass spoon full of peanut butter in the other. My guilty pleasures are dramas that make me cry so hard I want to vomit (sounds like a blast, doesn’t it?), or comedies that make me laugh so hard I snort (better than peeing?!). Nothing beats a good belly laugh.
Writing: I love to write. Writing this blog helps me take care of me. It’s like a journal, only I post it publicly for the world (okay fine, for my 13 followers and my close friends on FB) to read. I wish I did more of it. Scrap that, I WILL do more of it. I used to have a goal to write a book. Maybe I’ll get started on that…….
Friends. Anything that makes me feel like Sonya and not Mommy is a form of self-care. Like hanging with or sometimes just chatting with friends. A movie, supper, a drink, a walk, or even just texting with a friend can build my spirits. It almost always leads to laughing, which I am all for. I crack myself up too, which helps. That makes me less like JLo and more like Amy Schumer (minus the crude profanity of course).
Bath: I never understood why people would sit in water, just sit, and find it relaxing. What do you do? Where do you put your hands? What do you look at? I hate when my skin starts to shrivel up like prunes. It doesn’t seem enjoyable BUT I thought I’d give it a shot. I either read a book (which always ends up in the water) or listen to music to just drown out the noise (literally, so I can’t hear the kids) and wind up being afraid my phone or headphones will also fall in the water and I’ll get electrocuted. This isn’t self-care. Scrap bath, it’s being removed from my list. LOL
Spa days: Massages, manicures, pedicures…..I LOVE going to the Spa! I just don’t have the money for it on a regular basis. But its okay, what I do is put on a robe and have my kids brush my hair for 3 minutes, or I pretend I have a scratch on my back and they have to find it and it’s almost the same as being at the Spa. It’s all about improvising peeps, all about improvising.
Wal-Mart: You read that right. Walmart. Sometimes just a trip to Walmart (or Sobeys, or Shoppers Drug Mart) ALONE is self-care. I’m dead serious, if you ever see me standing in Aisle 7 just smiling, please don’t interrupt my moment. I’m soaking it all in because guess what? I don’t get to do that often enough. I’m rarely alone. Sometimes when I’m in line at Walmart I let everyone go ahead of me just to prolong the experience. People think I’m just nice but the truth is I’m not ready to go home 😉
Back in October I did one thing for myself that was very much self-care. I did something that I always wanted to do. I got my nose pierced. It was very empowering. My sister held my hand, looking as proud of me as I think she would have been had I been delivering a baby. I came to find out that I was actually holding her up as she was weak and nauseated at the sight of the needle that was going to be stuck through my nose. The ring lasted 6 weeks. Turns out I’m also lazy at cleaning it (who has time to soak your nose for 5 mins, twice a day, I mean COME ON!?) so it didn’t heal properly and started looking more like a cold sore on my face than a nose stud so I took it out. I will be honest, I almost cried when it was removed as I felt like the independence I was showing off to the world was stripped away. But that was just in my head. It was just a nose ring. I’m still empowered. I have the scar to prove it.
So, I do know how to self-care, I just have to DO IT. I have to make more of an effort. I have to ask for help or hire a babysitter to make sure I do it. Because Doc was right, if I don’t take of ME, I’m no good to anyone else.
And if I don’t take care of me, then who will?
Sure as hell won’t be JLO.