Say thanks by Jared Rice

As I gear up for an especially hectic week, I’m telling myself to keep my eyes on the prize. The prize being the 4 days off I’ll have next week as a reward for the insanity that is currently underway. With two demanding positions filling my calendar on a 6-day rotation, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working myself to the point of burnout, then in an act of defiance, eschew all responsibilities and stew at home in my own resentment, ghosting anyone attempting to ask me to do the slightest task or favor.

So in an attempt to avoid that mental merry-go-round, I look to that popular phrase we often see in our social media mentions and commentary: self-care.

Recently, I came across a survey on Instagram Stories asking others what does “self-care” mean to you? Is it playful? Is it restful? Is it creative? Is it a combination of 2 or more? Or is it something else completely?

Since the Story wasn’t mine to reply to, I thought I’d take up the game here on my blog. Dividing up self-care into three subtypes — Physical, Mental, and Spiritual, I thought I’d share what my self-care looks like. And yes, some of these will be a welcome activity in my life next week after all the dust has settled on this week’s flurry of organized chaos.

How do I love me? Let me count the ways …

Physical 

  • Dance to music
  • Walk or bike in the park
  • Eat fresh fruit
  • Do my Pilates or stretching
  • Take a nap
  • Eat something I love (a fresh peach, ice cream, french fries, etc.)
  • Go to the doctor or dentist
  • Get at least 6 hours of sleep at night

Mental

  • Plan my week ahead
  • Read a book or fanfic (yeah, I said it)
  • Take a full lunch break at work
  • Organize something or clean something
  • Plan a trip (I find the planning part relaxing too)
  • Get off social media when asshats abound
  • Tell someone “no” when I don’t actually want to do something
  • Fix something that’s been broken for a long time (my windshield, table lamp, etc.)
  • Take my lunch to work instead of buying it
  • Play an online game
  • Archive some of my inbox emails

Spiritual

  • Make myself a cup of tea
  • Cook breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Make something creative
  • Write in my journal
  • Meditate
  • Work on my little garden
  • Read a tarot spread
  • Watch one of my favorite movies (Amélie, Shall We Dance – 1937 version with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Arsenic and Old Lace)
  • Check in on a friend or family member
  • Watch a stand-up special
  • Cut off toxic people

For a lot of people, the concept of self-care may seem obvious, and they simply view it as the fun things they do on their days off. However, at the end of the day, I imagine everyone’s idea of self-care is simply that which reduces our anxiety or stress. It may not always be fun or creative (e.g., going to the dentist or telling someone “no”), but it should help restore some peace of mind.

What do you think? What do you consider self-care? Are your self-care activities different from mine?