Growing up I didn’t see my father do a whole lot for himself. After my mom died, he was saddled with being a single dad with two daughters on a mechanic’s income. There wasn’t much left over money in general, but what there was, was spent on us kids. I honestly don’t think he really treated himself to anything until we were both out of the house. Hell, I don’t even think he got more than a handful of hours to himself until we were both in high school. It is what it is when you’re a parent.
It’s a habit I fell into as well. Not just material things, but all of a sudden before I knew it my writing took a back seat, my quiet morning coffee wasn’t as important. The things that were once second nature, just kind of.. go away if you’re not paying attention.
It comes and goes too. My daughter is 12 now, and I’ve probably put myself on the furthest back burner (that doesn’t even work) once every year or two. Then one day, someone will ask me “what have you done for yourself lately?” and it’ll kick my ass back into gear.
Self-care is important. My must-haves include my morning cup of coffee (hopefully before everyone else wakes up, that’s the best time) and my writing. These are the two things that keep me sane, and have since I was a teenager. I have over 30 journals now, and of course this blog. There is nothing better than sitting outside on my deck, or at my kitchen table with my journals, my laptop and a cup of good coffee.
I noticed long ago, that when I neglect my writing, when I skip the quiet moment to myself in the morning, that before I know it my mental health tanks. Like just hops on a downward spiral of a shitty roller coaster, straight to hell. I struggle with depression as well as anxiety/panic disorder already, neglecting myself is giving the proverbial boot to my coping mechanisms. When my mental health goes downhill, my stress levels rise, which then sets off my physical health problems. Do you see where this is going? Into my favorite endless cycle of my body telling me to piss the hell off. That’s not to say that my physical health doesn’t just randomly give me the finger all on it’s own, just that it’s sometimes caused by stress.. and sometimes it’s just exacerbated.
The thing about self-care though is that it does take effort. Whether or not you have kids, a spouse, a job, a business, or whatever, no matter what your situation you have to put effort into taking care of you. Whether that means drawing yourself a bath or coloring in your adult coloring book, or running in the forest preserve or buying yourself something nice.. or hell, playing D&D or working on your car. It even takes effort to set aside a bit of time to just sit in silence and clear your mind. If you don’t make consistent effort to do a little something for YOU, before you know it, you forget.
This is something I’m working on again in my life, and this is your reminder to take care of YOU. You’re a better spouse, partner, employee, parent, sibling, or what the fuck ever, if you give yourself a little bit of happiness every once in a while.
Take care. Much love.