This post is part of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin’ tour, which I’m participating in along with over 100 other creative bloggers. During the next several weeks, I’ll be posting on various topics that addressed in The Declaration of You!, and I’m so very excited to be a part of this larger community. This week’s theme is “Self-Care”.
I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care lately. The decision was sorta taken out of my hands, and that’s OK because I needed to begin taking care of myself. The catalyst for me was a very difficult, painful conversation with my doctor.
Sweet Husband and I have been trying to get pregnant since we got married. I’m what would be considered a “geriatric” pregnancy, so we needed to get on that. Unfortunately, though, even with the aid of a whole bunch of clomid, nothing was happening for us. Which was the cue for the conversation with my doctor. Who essentially told me that I needed to get healthy and lower the stress levels in my life if I hoped to get pregnant.
So I elected to put away the clomid, and focus on how I could care for myself.
In terms of my physical health, I’ve started walking. Most Mondays through Friday, I’m out of bed at 5:30 so I can make it back home in time to write and get to work. I started slowly with just a couple of miles and then built up to between 3 and 3. 25. I had decided that I was going to start running because it’s one of my goals, but I think that perhaps now isn’t the time for it. For the last two weeks I’ve supposed to have started a C25K program, and I think my body is telling me that it’s not at all ready for that…simply because I’ve found excuses to not get up and get out and do it. I think part of self-care is listening to my body when it says that it doesn’t want to do something. I hear it. We’ll go back to walking and see when it’s ready for more.
I’ve also stopped eating as much fast food. I was hitting somewhere for breakfast (that I didn’t usually eat) and somewhere for lunch. Other than a lot of cost, it wasn’t good for my health.
I’ve given in and listened to the doctor about medication to control my high blood pressure. I’m taking something for my migraines. I’m even taking metformin, which I felt a whole lot of…shame…about because I don’t want to be “pre-diabetic”. But it is what it is, and I’ve made the choice to take care of myself.
For my mental health, I’ve gotten back to a regular writing practice. I’ve been wanting to write. I could hear my soul crying out for it, but I wasn’t doing it. Again, making excuses for why I didn’t have time. But after I walk, I make my coffee and sit on the front porch for half an hour, scribbling in my notebook. I don’t write anything of consequence, but I’m writing, and maybe one day soon, I’ll write something that means something to someone other than myself. That’s OK, though, because the writing gives me the the chance to approach the day clear and focused, ready for whatever is coming next. And it works. When I skip a day, I notice the difference. That time is critical for me.
I’m also trying to find time for other creative pursuits…like photography. Following the pursuits of my heart, giving myself the chance to do things that make me happy are also important to my care for self.
All of those things are important. I think, though, the most important way that I’m caring for myself is the reduction in stress that my doctor mentioned as being so critical to me. A lot of my stress comes from my paid work. Before that conversation with my doctor, I was working 12-14 hour days, letting my work consume me. When I wasn’t at work, I was thinking about work, worrying about it, and trying to figure out how to make it better. I came to the conclusion that all of that work and all of that worry didn’t particularly matter. It wasn’t going to make a difference. I couldn’t work any harder.
And so I decided to set some boundaries for myself. I don’t work past 8 at night anymore, which is an 11 hour day. Most nights I’m leaving by 6 or 7 because really, 9 or 10 hours are enough. And when I leave work, for the most part, I leave work. It is what it is, and I can’t change the day once it’s done. There are a ton of things I cannot change and worrying about them only creates havoc in my personal life. So I’ve let go. I’m working really hard to make sure that work is work and my personal life is my personal life. Because that is what is best for me. That is what I needed to do to care for myself.
There have been a ton of changes in the last 3 months, and I don’t always remember to be kind to myself as I’m making these changes. Part of my care for self is remembering that this is a process and years of patterns don’t change over night. I’m getting closer most days, and I’m remembering to be gentle.
How do you practice self care? In what ways are you taking care to prioritize yourself and your needs?
The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.