Archives for posts with tag: take good care of yourself

Yesterday got off to a lovely start, wobbled a bit with a moment of consequence stemming, most likely, from a miscommunication or misunderstanding. I got past it, but the day built on that with small details, snatches of over-heard conversations that had nothing to do with me, and a few interactions with strangers, that amounted to a busy, fairly purposeful, intended to be very fun day that turned out to be just filled with anxiety, and triggers. Well, shit.

By the time I crossed town to spend time with a dear friend I hadn’t hung out with in while, catch up, and see his “new place” (he’s been there a year), my hands were… sort of torn up. Yeah. I pick at my cuticles when stressed, and don’t realize I’m doing it, generally. “Nervous habit” doesn’t cover it, and managing it is impaired by my fucking TBI. So, by the end of the afternoon, my finger tips were bleeding in places, from torn cuticles, tugged at hang nails, and I was feeling both uncomfortable and self-conscious, on top of the anxiety.

I was also early. Shit.

I was sitting in a parking lot, just a shopping center away from my friend’s address, in a neighborhood I once called home. Familiar territory. I strolled through a couple specialty shops with Giftmas on my mind. I kept catching myself still tearing at my poor suffering innocent cuticles. I finally had a “fuck this dumb shit” moment, when I spotted the cheery neon “Open” sign of a nail salon right there. I looked at the time. We’d been firm, in our plans, on “not earlier than”, and even so, I had plenty of time yet ahead of me – I’d been planning to grab a bite. I was not at all hungry, though, and every ounce of my being was yearning for actual self-care. So… Nails? Nails. I mean… if they turned out to have a walk in opening, at all. It’s the weekend before the weekend of Giftmas! (What was I thinking??)

It had been awhile since I’d been to this nail salon. Could I do a ten minute wait, the receptionist asks me politely, glancing at my hands with a frown. The place was packed. She called one of the manicurists over, who asked to also see my hands. She looked at me sternly, and spoke to the receptionist in Vietnamese, and briskly returned to the sea of manicurists’ stations. The receptionist said, firmly, “please take a seat, 10 minutes” and hands me a quantity of color samples, “choose color”. She returns to the phone. Two or three women were waiting ahead of me, another came in with a scheduled appointment. All the stations were entirely full. No way this is going to be 10 minutes, I thought, rather stoically. Still, I felt that I was in the place I needed to be in the moment, taking care of an important bit of self-care; the worse my fingers were chewed on, ragged, and picked at, the worse they were going to become; it’s the snags that grab my attention in the background, when I’m “not looking”. It was becoming actually painful at that point.

I sat quietly, breathing the fumes commonplace in nail salons and amused myself with thoughts of the Oracle of Delphi. Time passes.

A customer leaves. Then another. And another. 10 minutes passes quickly, and it really was all I had to wait. The next 45 minutes passed so gently, and I felt so cared for. Hell… I relaxed and allowed experiences – new experiences – I would not have known how to actually ask for, because I simply put myself (and my hands) in the care of someone expert.

On my way to be seated, I managed to actually break a nail – into the quick – but did not allow myself to tear it off. She fixed that. (I did not know that was a thing.) She put tiny tips on my chronically bitten to the quick pinky nails, making them appear utterly ordinary alongside the others. She looked carefully at where the worst damage was and as she trimmed and removed damaged bits, reminded me to moisturize my hands to limit snags and keep my cuticles supple. “More moisture.” She repeated it several times, over the course of the work she was doing, pointing out exactly where it matters most. Tense? She used a lavender massage lotion for the hand massage. I felt my stress melting away. I walked away with nearly indestructible (gel) nails for the holiday ahead, and feeling far more relaxed and comfortable with my body.

I had a great time hanging out with my friend. The day was, although busy, well-spent. I feel ready for the holiday ahead, and eager to spend that time with my Traveling Partner. Today, I’ve got a gentle day of housekeeping, and gift-wrapping, and a trip to the market planned. A nice Sunday. Laundry and cartoons? I think so. A good beginning on a new week.

I’ll go get started on that. 🙂 I won’t be changing the world in any noteworthy way, but maintaining the kindness, order, contentment, and sanity in my own wee corner at least serves to help, in some very small way. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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

Well, I got through the work week, more or less, which is to say, it’s over now. So…okay. I’m still sick. Sicker than makes for a comfortable experience out in the world – and I don’t actually want to share this crud with some innocent bystander, child, parent, or not-further-identified human being. I just don’t; it’s shitty. I may still need to venture out into the world, just to restore depleted soup, broth, or symptom relief supplies. I don’t really want to. I showered. I got dressed. I’m sitting trying to recall what, if anything, I actually need outside these walls. I’m sure there’s something…

…I’m actually too sick for going out. That’s the wholesome truth of it. I have other options. I could order what I need to be delivered, at a modest additional cost. I can’t recall that I actually need anything, right now, even though the list was growing ever longer in my head as I was working. Instead, I took time to do what was really on my mind, and handled all the payday things that were also on my mind, and tidied up the budget, looked over what I can and can’t sustain with current resources and expenses. Funny… the upcoming holidays would generally be on my mind by now. That’s not the case this year. I shrug it off, unconcerned. I’m sick, and this amount of malaise and ennui are pretty typical for me. No appetite. Not for food, or for fun.

I sit here glaring into the insulting cold dregs of my morning coffee with a combination of disinterest and frustration; I’d like more hot liquid things to pour down my raw throat. I don’t have it in me to make the effort. I should go back to bed, and it’s about the only thing I really want to do, only… I also really don’t want to. I want to be well, but that’s not exactly an “on demand” sort of situation. I’ve got to get finished with being sick, first.

I try to organize my thoughts more skillfully. I fail. Being sick affects even my ability to reason clearly. It sucks. I don’t even feel like reading a book, or writing, or … anything. Hell, I don’t even feel like mustering the energy it will take to move from this spot, undress, and wrap myself in blankets to slumber awhile. I ache all over. I’m both fatigued and bored – and I’m rarely bored, ever. I’m a little stir crazy from being “cooped up” since Tuesday, perhaps. My head aches. Why am I even arguing the point with myself, like a child? It’s clearly nap time. lol

I contemplate the matter further, sorting out my thoughts, before I amble off in the direction of my bed. I haven’t got it in my to rush, but I am reluctant to walk away from this seat by a window; the sun has come out. It doesn’t warm me; it’s a chilly autumn morning. Still nice to see. I sit quietly for a few moments, until I catch myself dozing off in my office chair. Yeah… it’s nap time.

I can begin again a bit later… 😉

I planned. I prepared. I packed the car before I left for work, eagerly contemplating getting out of the office “early” (I’d already worked more than 40 hours this week, before Thursday event started, and part of that on my weekend, it wasn’t going to be “leaving early” any more than my “extra” day off tomorrow is really “time off”; I was just fucking done). Looked pretty good from the vantage point of beginning the work day – at 5:30 am.

1:00 pm came and went. Pretty much every minute of the day had, at that point, be spent fighting one small work-fire or another – for other people – and data entry.  A fucking mountain of it. I’m not actually complaining about that; it’s part of the job, and I am both skillful and fast. It’s annoying to be offered “help” with it, and spend still more time fixing mistakes – and the more fatigued I am from the extended work hours week after draining week, more and more of the mistakes I have been fixing have been my own. So human. I’m convinced everyone I work with is pretty spectacular, and working to the absolute limit of their ability, generally. I fight back tears of frustration so much more often than people realize.

2:00 pm came and went. I missed a ping from my Traveling Partner, asking if I’d left the office yet. He’s eager to see me and spend time together. I message back that I should be done soon.

3:00 pm came and went – more things break. More things to fix. More questions asked. More questions answered. Support this thing. Find that data. Finish this task, then that one. Swamped by low-priority non-negotiable workload, the minutes… are hard. I’m… so done. I’m aggravated by the long hours I end up choosing to work because the work needs to be done. No back up. Team of one. I have a few snarling “fuck this shit” moments, feeling, in the absence of immediate direct stimulus to the contrary, unappreciated. Here’s the thing, though; I’m very much appreciated, and valued. I even recognize that. In the moment, it’s still hard to feel overworked. It’s hard to have to choose self over profession – more often than I want it to be. I matter more. …But…but… money is a shortcut to quality of life. Fucking hell. Some days I feel so trapped.

As 4:00 pm approached, I started wrapping things up, even while recognizing there was more I could do. Of course there is. Always. Very few people work for organizations that understand structured managed workload based on organized routines and interdependent orders of operation. Most organizations just race at break-neck speed from crisis to crisis, reacting – regardless of how well or poorly they plan. I shrug thinking back on the day. It’s a business approach that keeps me employed. I manage chaos. I gently and firmly seek to impose order on chaos. Chaos won today. I don’t really feel like talking about work. lol

I finally got out of the office. Into the car. Couldn’t get myself to start the car. Stared at my phone awhile feeling… distant. Cut off. Confused. Irritated. Overwhelmed. I just wanted someone to help me figure out what to do next… which, considering I just left work, seems odd to me now; I tend to be so purposeful. I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

Fuck! I feel… left behind? “Ignored”? (Way to take it personally, when I know I’m… what exactly? Shit. What the hell?)

I called my partner. No answer.

I start the car and start driving… a direction. A quiet observant voice in the back of my thoughts suggestions I am not actually in any shape to be driving. I try to process that thought. It’s hard.

Where am I going?

The phone rings in the car. I click the phone button sort of… habitually. I don’t feel present. It’s my Traveling partner. Just the sound of his voice… I start crying like a little kid. I want to say that the whole day has been mean to me. I want to cry because nobody likes me (so emotional, so not a real thing – just feelings). I’m trembling all over and notice that I feel cold. We talk. He says words. I heard sounds. I hear emotion. His soft tender tone. “Take care of yourself…” I hear him encouraging me. I feel soothed. He suggests my blood sugar may be low. He’s probably right; I realize when he mentions it that I haven’t really taken the time I need to care for myself today, at all.

The phone call ends and I feel energized, cheerful, recharged… and my blood sugar is still low. And I’m still mired in rush hour traffic. And there’s no where good to stop. My frustration surges again. Tears spill over…

…Where am I going? I’ve ended up on the freeway, a small salad later, and I am apparently headed south for the weekend at a decent clip, thinking… okay, I can do this, this is fine…

Brake lights. So many brake lights for so far ahead. We sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Creep forward. Sit. Creep. Sit. Creep. Sit. The guy ahead of me is reading a newspaper with the overhead light in his car on. Creep forward. I figure maybe I should get off the highway, and take a rural route, and slowly move over just in time for the exit I want.

As I come around the curve of the ramp, I start noticing more how noise sensitive I also am. I’m also pretty nearly blinded by all the high intensity headlights that are so popular now; no divider, nothing to stop assholes with their high beams on from really fucking up my vision completely. Aging sucks ass. Fuck. I can’t see well enough to drive safely, I’m feeling reactive and noise sensitive – this shit isn’t about work at all, and it is very much about self-care. I turn left instead of right. Even though I’d been on the road at that point for almost 90 minutes, I was far closer to home than to the freeway headed south. lol I don’t even feel frustrated by the long drive home; I’m relieved to be out of the traffic.

My Traveling Partner catches up with me on the phone later. We agree that doing my usual early morning drive just makes sense. No one has hurt feelings over it. I mean, we miss each other, and yeah, I’ll admit I was crying for some minutes once I admitted to myself that I was not going to make the drive tonight – just pure disappointment and longing for the company of this human being I love so much. I’ve been home a little while. Car’s already packed. Some healthy calories later, a couple big glasses of water, an appropriate amount of cannabis for the need of the moment, and some unmeasured time meditating, I realize I didn’t write – again this morning. The sudden blast of resentment that blows through my consciousness catches me by surprise – without surprising me. I get it; it’s time to take back my time. 😉

It’s time to begin again.