Archives for posts with tag: self-care basics

I am sipping my morning coffee, thinking about my afternoon tea. lol It’s a bit meta, isn’t it? I’m okay with that – I do some of my most personally useful thinking in this way.

This has been a good weekend of self-care and partnership. My Traveling Partner and I spent time in his shop together working on a project – the first “from nothing to something” project to come off this new CNC machine. Exciting! It’s a small thing – a trivet. I needed one in the kitchen, though, to avoid setting very hot pans on our countertops, which are not stone, or made from stone, just some ordinary enough surface that could be at risk of damage from excessive heat. I like to take care with things.

A useful reminder of my partner’s affection.

This morning, I slept in – like, properly actually slept-in later than I might ordinarily, and also quite late considering when I crashed for the evening (and without even reading for a few minutes!). I woke feeling not only “well-rested”, but also feeling that my “mental buffer” was entirely cleared out of things needing to be processed from recent events. Lovely. Self-care win. A big one. If the only reason I’m “sleeping in” is that I went to bed very late, or slept very poorly, it’s not particularly worthwhile – it’s just me trying to get enough rest. This time, I definitely got enough rest, and a little more than that. ๐Ÿ˜€

I see a sunny autumn day beyond the window. My coffee tastes good. I feel loved. There is a smile on my face.

My partner ducks in for a moment to see how my morning is going so far, and asks me to check my oxygen on a pulse oximeter. I use the one on my phone and quickly verify that my oxygen level is “in the green zone” – I’m breathing. Yay! ๐Ÿ˜€ When my anxiety flares up, even “in the background”, the resulting experience of “hyper vigilance” sometimes finds me “holding my breath” without intending to, after some in-breath or another, as if alert for a threat, waiting, watchful… for some reason, my partner is very sensitive to this detail in my experience, and at some point when a change in my chemistry or pheromones becomes detectable (this is our theory, not confirmed through convincing medical research, so please don’t change your life over it) and if we’re in the same room he’ll fairly reliably have an allergy attack over it. We’re ruled out other more obvious things, so this is where we’re at with that. It vexes us both. For me, it’s mostly an irritating circumstance that breaks my focus when I’m asked to check my oxygen, which is … annoying and also saddening (to potentially be a cause of my partner’s allergies). For him? For him it’s worse, I think; he suddenly, unexpectedly, can’t fucking breathe. Crazy. I hope we figure it out. I don’t talk about it much, but it’s one of our day-to-day challenges. People have those. lol

It’s the last day of a lovely long weekend. I’ve got some errands to run, and a plan to make baked ziti for dinner. Life being lived. Lovers loving. Time passing. There’s still time to get into the garden… to read a book… I’ve got a list of inspired work to get started on in the studio, too…

…It’s time to begin again. Pick something. Do the thing. Repeat.

Here it is already Friday. How did the time pass so quickly without notice? Living life, I guess, instead of measuring the minutes and weighing the value of the time involved. I’m okay with that. I hope you are, too.

3 or 4 days into my headache, after a work day of sort of being “half there”, and making a lot of dumb mistakes as I moved through various tasks and ran an errand or two (little stuff, like forgetting to close the cover on the hot tub after I got out, or misplacing a coffee cup in a strange place), my Traveling Partner encouraged me to make an early night of it. I wasn’t certain I could sleep so early, or that I needed sleep, or that sleep would help… but I “wasn’t all there”, as it was, and felt pretty miserable. So. I crashed early, figuring I could read quietly in a quiet dimly lit room, or some such thing.

…I woke abruptly shortly after midnight, with a recollection of conversing with my Traveling Partner sometime after I crashed… was that a dream? That’s what woke me; wondering if that conversation was real, or a fragment of a dream. I still don’t know. I fell back to sleep before I could do more than wonder. I woke again, around 2am, and got up for a few minutes. Drank some water. Realized I didn’t actually care to be awake, yet, and that I was, rather oddly, still sleepy. I went back to bed, only waking when the alarm went off.

Funny how fragile and high-maintenance these sacks of flesh are, is it not? Self-care matters. Giving ourselves time to heal with we’re injured or sick matters. Taking time for real rest matters. All of those things matter more than any household chore or errand. Generally, they even matter more than the jobs we work. (I mean, seriously, if I become so ill or fatigued that I can’t work at all… how important is the job, then? Just saying – not very.)

I sip my coffee making new promises (on top of old promises) to give myself better self-care and more of my own time. There will be verbs involved. Practices. My results will continue to vary. I notice that my coffee cup is empty, the rim cold against my lips. It must be time to begin again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sipping coffee, thinking about self-care, reflecting on visits with friends and weekends when my Traveling Partner is here at home. I smile, a deep, lasting, crease-this-face-permanently sort of smile when I think about his time here in terms of his being “here at home”. Damn, that feels nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Words matter. Our narrative matters (to us). How we phrase things, the context in which we put things, the assumptions we allow to live in our thinking – all of that matters, because all of it colors our day-to-day experience over time. We’ve got so much control over that it can literally change our experience of living our lives to change the way we understand and think about pieces of that experience – even without changing the underlying facts of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Interesting. Promising.

I enjoy a few minutes of conversation, mixed in with my morning writing. I lose the flow of my thoughts, while gaining a feeling of being connected, supported, understood, recognized, and well-regarded. It’s hard to call that a poor trade-off. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s the winter holiday season. There’s a lot going on right now. I meditate more, and more often, but easily lose track of basic self-care practices (including meditation) in the excitement of time spent with loved ones, the busy-ness of the season, the flurry of social events, and yeah – colored lights reflected off of ornaments and objects that I only see for this handful of weeks, each year. lol It’s an important time to also keep self-care well-managed; mistakes in this area can result in all manner of weird holiday drama (that is actually so very common). It’s easy to overlook ourselves in the rush to do things for others; taking care of ourselves, though, fuels our ability to care for others.

Hey, reminder, in case anyone’s forgotten, the self-care I’m referring to when I say “caring for ourselves” is not about buying ourselves things, keeping things for ourselves, getting loaded on exotic intoxicants, or selfishly hoarding time, goods, money, or our presence. I’m talking about getting the rest we need, taking care of our basic hygiene skillfully, eating nutritionally dense calorie appropriate meals, taking medication on time, and creating an emotionally nurturing internal world view that is so inclusive we are even able to love and appreciate that human being in the mirror, while also extending our compassion, empathy, and kindness to others. Fuck. That’s a lot to take in.

Are you taking care of yourself? Drinking enough water? Getting enough rest? Spending some time walking in the sunshine and fresh air? Eating healthy meals prepared from safe, nutritious ingredients? Laughing? Enjoying the company of those dear to you? Limiting your work hours so that you also enjoy some leisure? Seriously – someone cares about you (and, one of those someone’s is ideally you, I’m just saying…) so take care. Please. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, hey, will you look at the time? Already time to begin again. I’ll start with self-care. Will you? (Please?)

Today I baked banana bread. It’s only just finished a few moments ago, and it sits cooling on the counter. It smells wonderful, and seems an excellent solution to excess bananas. Humorously, we had extra bananas on hand – meaning more than the two of us could eat before the rest go bad – because my injury works the way ย it does. At least this was more funny than aggravating. I simply ordered too many, thinking the order was ‘4 bananas’ when it wasn’t ‘price each’, it was ‘price per bunch’. So… I’ve been enjoying a few more bananas than usual, and this morning I made banana bread. It smells wonderful. It smells like love.

Tasty tasty love

Tasty tasty love

Here’s the thing about the banana bread; my traveling partner hung out, helped some, and talked about this and that, and the bread got made, turned out well, and isn’t missing any ingredients. This is significant because I literally can’t hold a coherent conversation with someone while I cook – at least not during the measuring of ingredients, and the following of steps in aย cookbook. It’s ‘a recipe for disaster’ if I do; I make a lot more mistakes if I am distracted, and don’t ‘multi-task’ easily. He noticed,ย showed consideration,ย and gave me cognitive ‘room to work’ when I needed it, re-engaging me during less critical tasks. It was fun and connected and light-hearted. It was a comfortably productive experience, and yeah… wow… skillful considerate loving partnership makes everything ‘taste’ better.

Love isn't fancy, or by nature expensive, and it does need our attention, and our consideration.

Love isn’t fancy, or by nature expensive, and it does need our attention, and our consideration.

I’ve got the afternoon at home alone, and I will spend it in the studio. There is a slow cooker full of chili from scratch cooking for later in the week. The smell of banana bread fills the place, reminding me I am loved.

This morning I woke with some effort after a night of fractured sleep. I crashed early, and indulged my fatigue and sleepiness by allowing myself to stray from my routine. Once in a while that’s not a big deal, but each and every time I can make such a choice it is a certainty there will be consequences. This is how choices work, generally. ๐Ÿ™‚ I started sleeping easily in my new place, then a very fatiguing week drove some choices to sleep at times I wouldn’t typically choose sleep…and now my routine is disrupted such that I’m not actually sleeping well during the night. Oops. It’s a bit of a beginner’s mistake with regard to good self-care, but being a proper grown up, and living alone, I’m the only one here to remind me to take care of me well and consistently. I’m very fortunate that I learn best from my mistakes. I make quite a few.

Last night I crashed so early that I had likely gotten a full measure of restful sleep by the time I woke sometime after 1:30 am. I meditated for some time. It was nearer 3:00 am when I checked the clock. I found sleep again at some point, and I know this for certain because the alarm woke me…I was dreaming that I was awake. (One of my least favorite sleep experiences is dreaming that I am awake.) This morning I am enjoying my coffee gently and giving consideration to self-care practices that I may be more inclined to let slip than others, and what steps to take to ensure that I do not, and wondering how realistic it is to attempt to manage my self-care through awareness and intent alone (which is something I am trying to learn) – the practices reinforced with calendar reminders, sticky notes, and habit are more likely to be reliably maintained. One limitation my TBI places on me as an individual is that habits sometimes just…fail. I wake up one day and have simply ‘forgotten’ somehow some key habitual behavior. It’s quite frustrating sometimes. Add to that my unreliable memory – things that are habitual sometimes don’t leave an impression on my consciousness, and I don’t remember having done them, or lack awareness that I have not. I have occasionally been startled to realize (in some cases weeks or months after the fact) that I simply abandoned some very helpful practice without any particular cause or decision-making – I just forgot. Rebuilding a favored, forgotten, practice or habit is no easier than it was to build in the first place. The importance of a given habit, or practice, has no correlation or apparent causal relationship to the potential I may wander off and forget about it – it seems pretty random.

This morning I am very much aware that living alone requires me to be quite mindful of my self-care practices. In the excitement of making myself at home, and exploring this whole ‘who I am now’ thing, habits are very much at risk of being extinguished without intent. Small things like a ‘bed time’ that nurtures my long-term good cognition and physical health actually matter – making exceptions for this circumstance or that one is ‘high risk behavior’ from the perspective of managing my PTSD, and treating myself well. Details that are very much part of my sense of ‘being at home’ are easily pushed to the side in favor of something more fun, sometimes, especially if I am excited or fatigued, with the result that I may find myself unexpectedly not feeling at home in my own environment – because I have failed to take care of me.

Fruit ripens in its own time.

Fruit ripens in its own time.

This one is not such a complicated puzzle; I will choose to practice the practices that work for me – even those associated with keeping me on task with practicing other practices. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t find any particular need to be embarrassed or critical of myself on this point, either. I feel pretty capable of taking care of me; I spotted a weakness, and I am considering how best to shore it up, improve upon it, or solve for X.

Tonight I will spend time learning life’s lessons about taking care of me, while also enjoying the company of another. There’s quite a lot to learn there. Today is a good day for continuing education.