April 5, 2018

It's My Recipe for Self-care, Not Yours

I have a lot of privilege in my life. I work from home. I have no kids. My husband and I are finally making a comfortable amount of money. The struggles of the past still nip at our heels, but I have real financial freedom for the first time in my life. I have a lot of flexible time to do (almost) whatever the fuck I want, whenever the fuck I want.

I say all this, not to brag, but to give some context for the rest of this blog post because it’s about the activities and rituals that have become my self-care essentials. I feel the need to give a disclaimer that this is my version of self-care, and shouldn’t, and can’t, be a template for yours.

If you google self-care, you’ll get a lot of images of cats, teacups, motivational quotes, and staged photos of thin, beautiful white ladies doing yoga. I’m sure for a lot of folks, that’s the perfect prescription for a bad day. For me, not so much. I like iced tea, sure. And I’ll do some gentle stretching when my body needs it, but it’s definitely not happening in a class or in a studio full of curated knick knacks and/or goats.

My kind of self-care can be distilled into 5 M’s: movement, meditation, marijuana, masturbation, and massages.

Movement

The first thing that I need is exercise. I didn’t know this until last year. I used to roll my eyes at all the gym rats on all my feeds and now I’m one of them. A year into my health and fitness goals, I’ve not figured out that my brain needs the physical movement just as much as my body does. Whether it’s fitting in a few quick squats or getting a sweaty run in, my mind quiets down a bit and gives me more focus for the rest of the day.

Meditation

I kind of hate to say I meditate but it’s become a surefire way for me to fall asleep quickly and soundly. I cannot meditate sitting, I have to do it lying down. Otherwise, I spend the entire time thinking about not slouching (but sitting up straight is a challenge for me as well). Making the meditation basically just a waste of time.

At night though, with the dim blue light of the tv flickering at the other side of the room, I shut my eyes and count my breath (in one, out two), until I get to ten and start over again. At night, laying in bed is when I start to obsess about past awkward social interactions. Like, when I was at the local roller skating rink in middle school and was trying to flirt with a boy and he told me his birthday was August 7th and I said, “that’s almost like mine, March 7th.” No, it’s not almost like yours, Lo. That sort of panic-inducing reflection of the past would have kept me up for an extra hour before I found this meditation technique.

Marijuana

Surprise, surprise, I use cannabis as a part of my self-care ritual. It is kind of a crutch in some ways. I am not ashamed to admit it. In the same way that alcohol is at night, or coffee in the morning. It helps me manage my anxiety in social situations. It helps me when I’m depressed. It enhances my great moods too. Certain strains give me motivation and focus, and others help me forget.

Cannabis also helps me stay away from alcohol which tends to make all of my negative qualities worse and intensifies anxiety (because I will probably say something ignorant or selfish and will never forget it).

Masturbate

The original self-love! If you like having sex and having orgasms and aren’t masturbating, please schedule some time to do so immediately. I am 100% serious. Having sex is probably my favorite stress reliever, but if my partner is unable or unwilling, I can always count on myself. Instant mood turn around in under 5 minutes. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. And if you can’t figure it out, that’s ok, might I suggest heading over to adamandeve.com?

Massage

This is probably the most privileged thing I partake in on the regular, but as someone who had scoliosis and chronic back and neck pain her entire life, it’s become an essential indulgence. Also, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the actual service and being treated like a real lady of leisure for a little while. I’m sure in the same way others enjoy getting their hair cut and styled, or a facial, or a mani/pedi.

What I found most surprising in my journey over the last couple of years is that what plays the biggest role in my attitude and approach to life is how my body was feeling. When lacking exercise, my body would feel restless and my mind would be on overdrive over analyzing my exchange with the checkout clerk at the grocery store. I could probably use an actual anti-anxiety prescription too, but I’m not ready yet.

That’s what self-care looks like for me. What does it look like for you? Let me know in the comments below, or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. Add post content

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