“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S Thompson
I remember seeing that quote for the first time printed boldly on my massage therapist’s wall. I’d read it every month as I headed out of the room, ready to tackle a new day feeling refreshed and alive.
She was one of my self-care routines, the first gift I gave myself when I discovered I’d been ignoring a few warning signs about my health. I had a hip thing going on, and I wasn’t moving at my normal speed. I met her at a networking event, and after one session, I was hooked.
As I moved into my forties and fifties, I’ve started looking at self-care in an entirely different way. I’ve seen people online question its importance.
Here’s the thing.
If you want to be the best person you can be, it takes work on you. You can’t be there for others if you don’t show up for yourself first.
Because when you’re good to yourself, you’re available mentally, physically, and emotionally for others. If not, then you’re all wrapped up in your own head stuff, and you can’t give one-hundred percent back.
Then along came 2020.
Remember the “good ol’ days” when we could do whatever we wanted? Now, right in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s difficult to resume “life as normal.” A lot of self-care routines have been thrown out the window. Mine included.
But wait, there’s more.
Just when things weren’t bleak enough, another thing was added to the mix. Because living in the Pacific Northwest also means we’ve been hit by raging wildfires as well.
I’ve spent a week at Level 1 evacuation, watching, waiting, deciding on which belongings I wanted to bring with us.
And even after the fires receded, the air quality has been so toxic, we can’t go outside.
Self-care seems to have slipped by the wayside, right?
I would argue, it’s even more critical now than ever.
Being in love with my life means desiring every aspect … the good and the bad.
So much is going on in the world right now that focuses on the bad. I wanted to give you 30 ways I’m inviting self-care into my world, right now, even in the middle of chaos. This is what I believe:
• If you want to attract great relationships, a successful lifestyle, and better health, you have to accept the bad, learn from it, and move forward.
• Make the best of every day. Pat yourself on the back for every goal you accomplish. Even if on some days, it’s nothing more than enjoying a good cup of tea.
• Take time and connect with everyone who is important. I’ve talked with so many people this year who I haven’t seen in years.
• Give hugs to the people you can. My daughter, husband, and I make sure we hug every day. Because touch is that important.
• Eat good food. If anything, I’ve become even more committed to my plant-based diet these past few months. Because it’s easier than ever to bring good food into your home, and find gorgeous recipes you just have to try.
• Learn all about investing. I get it; many, many people are out of jobs, looking for work, losing valuable resources as I write this. But no matter where you are, there are ways to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do things better from today. I save more. I don’t use Uber Eats, I cook. I invest and take courses to become even better at it. I’ve stopped a lot of monthly subscriptions I wasn’t really using. If you want to be better at money in the future, the first step starts today. You can also learn more by following financially savvy women. Two of my current favs are Ellevest and Ali Katz.
• I exercise every day. In the middle of COVID, I still got my 10,000 steps in every day. Even during the raging fire, I’ve focused on gentle yoga to help keep my mind strong. Meditation is also on my list first thing each morning. While I’m giving cardio workouts a break until the air isn’t hazardous, that doesn’t mean I can’t find other ways to keep my body strong.
• I fill my house with flowers. I’m lucky that I have a farmers market within walking distance every Saturday. But even without it, even when it goes away for the winter, I’ll still pick up a bouquet from my local store. I place it on my desk to breathe in the aroma and see the beauty as I work through my day.
-• I dress up even for an afternoon drive. Remember when we wore something other than yoga pants? I live in them these days. But if my day includes anything out of the ordinary – a trip to Costco, a drive in wine country – I’ll slip on one of my favorite summer dresses and put on a pair of sandals – just because. It changes your mindset, I promise you.
• Redo a portion of our space. A lot of mindset comes with being able to have a fresh, new look at the world. Since I can’t travel this year, I’ve decided to change up my space. I switched all of the furniture around, replaced a chair, and invested in a few new pieces of decor. It opened up the room and makes me smile every time I walk in.
• Create a gratitude journal. While I am tracking events in my journal, I also am writing down things I’m grateful for. It helps me breathe deep when I see all the good things currently in my world.
• Let’s have a tea party. I threw the idea out to my daughter when I read an article. So we set the date and planned it – just for the three of us. We had a blast!
• Have game nights. Our favorite games include Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Phase 10.
• Have date afternoons. Living and working in your house 24/7 can make anyone stir crazy. So we often head out on hikes, or take a drive somewhere nearby. I think every city has beautiful places to visit, even if you’re doing it from your car. Find something new, bring your spouse or partner along, and talk about your hopes and dreams.
• Plan for something new. We’ve discussed plans for buying a home, places we want to travel to, what we hope to do in “retirement.” Those plans fuel my current dreams and actions.
• Be present. Without the ability to move around, I’ve learned to be more present than before. My digital devices often stay in certain spots, and aren’t allowed to be with us when we talk.
• Feel every emotion fully. Because sometimes you need to be sad, angry, or resentful. So I give myself permission to feel everything, and work out how I can move forward.
• Dance. Turn up the music and dance like there’s no tomorrow. Okay – it might be a bit like Elaine in Seinfield, but who’s watching!?
• Send someone flowers. Because who won’t have a better day when fresh flowers are delivered to their doorstep?
• Make a new rule. Like breakfast for dinner night. Or pajama party in the middle of the week. Or do something entirely outside the box.
• Give to a charity. This is also a great time to learn the plight of the smallest organizations that might be struggling right now. Don’t just give to the giants – find one where even a small donation can really make a big difference. Like Flyte or Girls Opportunity Alliance.
• Read. Read. Read. My daughter laughed when she glanced at my Instagram feed, noticing how filled it was with book ideas and vegan recipes. Yep, that’s the two things I’m most interested in. I’ve found such great book recommendations from Instagram this year. My favorites make my 2020 list right here.
• Pet a dog. We lost our beloved little furry friend a few years ago, and made a choice not to adopt a new dog because of our travel desires. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t found friends with dogs who we love on every chance we get.
• Leave $5 bills in the grocery store. Or pay for the person behind you when you’re standing in the Starbucks line. You never know when these little gifts will make a person’s day.
• Forgiving without condoning. I’ve done a lot of work in this area the past six months. I once heard an interview with singer/songwriter Jewel. She was talking about her separation from her mother. She talked about forgiving her mother’s actions, and the process of moving beyond. She stated that forgiving doesn’t mean she’ll ever condone her mother’s behavior. The two can be separate entities. Forgiveness gave her inner peace; that’s what we’re all in search of. The only person you ever need to be true to is yourself. Forgiveness comes from within. It’s up to each and every one of us how much we’re willing to accept from those around us.
• Create a new Pinboard. I know, sounds crazy. Why use social media as a part of a self-care routine? But I think pinboards allow you to dream. And the best part is you can create private and public boards. I use my public pinboards to share who I am publicly. But my private boards are there for me to dream. About the vacations I want to take. And the house I want to settle down in someday. And the home office I’d like to create. And the … you get the picture.
• Face masks! No, not the one’s we’re all wearing out in public these days. I’m talking about creating a spa in your home. Who knew face masks were such indulgence!? I love those squishy pre-soaked masks filled with all kinds of good ingredients. Yes, I do take the time to ensure they have good stuff in them, not just random chemicals. And then I’ll rub them on, leave them set for 30 minutes, and enjoy the experience.
• Only the best skin products. This has been the year of almost no makeup. My skin is thanking me for it. And because I’m paying more attention to everything that goes in or on my body, I’ve looked for really good products. Pacifica and Boom are my current two favorites. I’ve even indulged in trying natural CMD products.
• Unplug from digital devices. I’ve removed all technology from my bedroom. I never look at the news. I block out people looking for a fight on social media. Why? Because I don’t need that in my life with everything else that’s happening in 2020. I know what I need to know will get through.
• Chocolate. Need I say more? Okay, I will. I only buy high-quality dark chocolate, and eat a small portion at a time. Lately, my daughter and I have also been baking up lots of chocolate vegan treats. A girl’s gotta have her vices, right?
• And finally, I give myself a chance to dream every day. Sometimes it’s only about getting through to the next day. But I picture it being better. The skies to clear, the air quality to move back down out of hazardous conditions.
Dreams give hope.
Dreams allow me to plan for my future. A better future. One that I’m working actively on, right here, today.