Hello again party people let’s make some noise !!!
Just kidding. Let’s do this quietly. The kids are asleep.
SO! I have yet another (fab) idea to impart on you. Try it on. Shimmie around. See how you like it.
Firstly let us agree, that the new it-term for mummies, for movers & shakers, for the busy bees, the cray-zies, the errr-bodies of this millennium, is SELF CARE. It is in the tittle.
We are the generation of yoga-pants at 4pm, green-disgusting-juices-that-I-refuse-to-pretend-to-enjoy, reiki, sound therapy, dog therapy, foot therapy, retreats, faux-meat, celery, cycle, cross-fit, candles, “candid” moments captured by professional photographers & boyfriends, twenty dollar coconuts, 84 thousand dollar cocktails, cacti & succulents in general. All in the hopes of making us seem, a little more balanced. Centred. Chilled. At one with the natuuuuure. (Of El Paso apparently. Where I hath never been. Namaste.)
We are definitely all about looking after ourselves, inside & out. From our morning shot of apple cider vinegar, to our MAC make-up blending-with-neck routine. Which I am not knocking, because both of which are upon my schedule, which we will learn more about lay-ter.
The idea of looking after oneself, I totes, ermagawd, yuuuuus gurl, agree with.
I’m a mum. Dying in an ugly tired pile of stress & frustration is an actual reality for us. It’s not just a cute “LOL I’m such a hot mess” kinda fun messy hair vibe. No. Like we are at actual RISK of combustion and becoming actual confetti.
So yerrrr, I’m a HUGE promoter of showering, pampering, leaving the kids for awhile (like 6mnths) (jokes). I have also caught many a plane and am familiar with the concept of putting our own masks going on first, before helping others, to adjust, just pull the strap. (And no DYLAN, my one and only personal troll, I am not trying to show off how many planes I have caught or my ability to recite plane safety, it’s just a figure of speech okay)
HOWEVER I have also noticed, that in this new-age of ‘you do you boo’, that when placed carefully under the cool-shaded umbrella of SELF-CARE, we can basically do ANYTHING. Even if it is good for us or not.
We are never really questioned, by others or ourselves, “does this really do anything for me?” “Does this plate of BBQ and regret at 3am outside Traps CARE for MEEEE?”
We can spend $800 on a dress, and be told, “you deserve it.” We can spend night after night around a bar table, and be told, “you’ve got to have fun too.” We can starve ourselves, over-eat, survive on just raw vegan cheese, and be told, “you’ve got to do what’s right for you.”
Because it is deemed impolite for people to ask “does this really work for you?”
I am a firm believer that our two major resources in life are time and energy. Everything GREAT stems from someone, somewhere, giving it time and energy. In my work, I emphasise the fact, that in order to achieve what we want, ALL strategies we apply MUST efficiently & effectively utilise these two core resources.
Time, unfortunately we can’t change. It is finite. We are not Dr Strange. (Nor would I personally want to be, I’d prefer to be Iron-Man or Peter Quill given the choice, but that’s not the point.) Time. We just have to be thankful for it. And not waste it.
Energy however! We can create. Sustainably. (See what I did there. It’s a reference to my Climate activism, but in like … a word play.) It is called, ‘chasing dreams’ people! Which insinuates a race is afoot, and we have to have some FIREEEEEE!
So when looking at the embraced idea of self-care, you really have to ask, is this a good way to invest in myself & my life? Is this going to give me energy? Or take it away? Will this nourish one of my four pillars of wellbeing? My body, heart, mind & spirit? Because real self-care, is all about the re-fuel. And what works for one person, won’t work for another. It is not a one-sized-fits-all kimono.
Does that $800 dress fill your heart with joy. Does it give you the energy to wake up earlier, get dressed & walk to work? In which case, great! Or does it fill you with dread, panic and take away your power to be financially independent?
Does sitting around the bar with mates fill you with a sense of community, belonging or inspiration? In which case, great! Or does it tire you, prolong your goals and consume you? (Another very clever word play by me referencing the consumption of alcohol)
What was the other one? Oh yes. All the different ways to eat. Blah blah. Same process. Continue. As above. Etcetera Etcetera.
So basically, try this on my friends. Look at the things you do routinely in your life, supposedly for fun, to relax, or to identify with yourself. Then gently question if it is working for you. Or is it in fact … just an old, dusty, in need of replacing, energy-depleting, time-eating, habit. Because habits, really truly are … such a Sonofabish.
I have sat with this question myself ALOT. Something I gave up was song-writing. Sounds small & silly. But I have for now. Writing little songs, for family & “fun”, took up a lot of my time. And it exhausted me. It was something as a teenager that I loved and never wanted to lose. But it no longer gives me fire. It gives me a headache. I came back frustrated & annoyed. Playing other people’s songs however, calms the heck out of me.
I have gone so far as to try and recognise what things in my work & family life, also give or take energy. Unlike leisure activities, sadly some of them, I can’t eradicate from my life completely. Like walking.
So in my HANDMADE diary (because yes, I know exactly how I like my time to be visualised & planned, & rudely neither Kikki-K nor Typo have provided me with a perfect, bespoke & curated diary, so I have to make each identical page with a ruler & colourful pens in my ironical ‘spare time’) I have a column for ENERGY.
This is where I put an UP or DOWN arrow next to the task, activity or event. I then make sure those arrows are well dispersed throughout the day and week. (For those wanting to copy me, I also use a DASH for neutral. And my perfume is Jean Paul Guiltier. Consider yourself influenced)
Too many downward arrows in one dayth, a grumpy Matisse doth maketh. (Gosh I’m so good at Latin.)
I know that writing, gives me energy.
I know that storyboarding, gives me energy.
I know that balancing the spreadsheet at the end of the shop day, weirdly, gives me energy.
I know getting a massage, gives me energy. (Happy Feet, shout out to you, not sure if you’re really a brothel out the back or not, but either way, don’t tell me, because I love you and your non-brothel front room foot rubs.)
I know that online learning, gives me energy.
I know that designing strategy, gives me energy.
I know that conducting workshops, gives me energy. (As long as they dont go on too long)
I know that writing emails, depletes my energy.
I know that doing the buying for the shop, depletes my energy.
I know that big nights and resort events, deplete my energy.
I know social media (although you wouldn’t guess it), depletes my energy.
I know that spending a full day without my kids, depletes my energy.
I know that spending a full day with my kids, depletes my energy.
I know that brushing my hair, takes all my energy, I am now dead.
So basically, I try to spread all these things out, so I have a little bit of glam & a little bit of glum each and every single day. And as a rule, I never brush my hair. Ain’t nobody got the time or upper body strength for that.
Self Care til the cows come home. Unless you dont actually love cows, or their home, in which case, watcha doin there? Go get some sushi.