A Lesson in Self Care

Lurching from one crisis to another finally did for me, and several weeks ago I collapsed into a mess of shattered nerves, frustration, anger and something like grief (again).  If you parent like we have to, you may recognise this particular type of exhaustion; not the sort that gently leads you to the comfort of your sofa, but something rather more unnerving that drags you around the inside of your house and your head, fretting, pacing, unable to venture out, unable to find a place of rest.  A Me Holiday was long overdue.

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I’m getting back on my feet, despite the still ongoing crises (crises do not take a break) and for the purposes of reflection and my own learning, this is roughly how I’ve gone about it:

  1. Alcohol.  ‘Your trouble is you don’t drink enough’ was Mr D’s advice and at the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, a sun-downer of my old friend ‘Sloe Gin 2014’ really takes the edge off.
  2. Stare into space. Pace about. Lie around. Sleep. Rage. Cry into a bucket of my own self-pity.IMG_1724
  3. Take a break from the news, social media and any form of electioneering.
  4. Take a break from work.  (Sorry work.)
  5. Read. Read. Read.  Escape from head.  Read.  My neighbour leant me ‘Ingenious Pain’ by Andrew Miller.  It’s about a man who feels no pain.  (Lucky him.)IMG_0090
  6. Crack open husband’s Easter egg, about a fortnight before Easter.  Eat. Feel sick.  Eat more.
  7. Mindless physical exercise i.e. moving two tonnes of compost a long way, by many wheelbarrow trips.
  8. Download some new music.  Sing to new music.  Dance. Imagine oneself gorgeous in music video.
  9. With help of new friend ‘Pinterest’ become obsessed with Japanese dressmaking patterns.
  10. Do dressmaking. The sound of the sewing machine drowns out almost all unpleasantness (‘what’s that? sorry I can’t hear you’).
  11. Become obsessed with Poldark i.e. watch every episode twice, indulge in unreconstructed fantasies involving tricorn hats.
  12. Get sun. Eat well.
  13. Spend some money.  A sweatshirt arrives from the US. Inside the pocket is a message written on a tag.  ‘Feisty’ it says ‘is showing a lively aggressiveness’.  There’s more than enough ‘lively aggressiveness’ in our house but I feel my fight returning.
  14. Plan some good times.

These past weeks I’ve been reminded that self-care is not something to be reached for in a crisis but a daily practice that must be embedded into our routines.  It isn’t self-indulgent.  It’s for the greater good and  it’s the foundation of therapeutic parenting.

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6 thoughts on “A Lesson in Self Care

  1. Jen

    It is absolutely the ONLY way to live as we do. We let it slide and the long-term effects have been devastating. It will be months and months before dh is back up and running properly. It creeps and creeps and it’s all too easy not to notice that proper self-care has gone out the window. I do hope that things continue to improve. I love the sound of the Japanese sewing patterns… I have a few in my collection, but I’ve still not got my sewing machine out for proper garments (well not since I was a teenager anyway!). Take care! xxx

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      I am truly sorry to hear that things have been so tough. The longer I’m at this, the more I realise the importance of ongoing self care and how easy it is to kid ourselves we don’t need it. I hope that your dh is being kind to himself and that you are able to take care of each other too xx
      PS I bought a Japanese sewing book, translated into English and it’s a thing of beauty (I know you’ll understand!).

      Reply
  2. Sallykins

    I get it – living it too – it’s so hard – your posts resonate so much with us – they make me laugh – and it helps – sending you more pies …….
    Thank you x

    Reply
  3. Three Pink Diamonds

    Hi Sally, sorry to hear that you have had a lot of stress to deal with. I’m so glad you have found ways to deal with it. I think self care is so important and I agree we need to get that right before we can care for others. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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