If you’re an American, you’ve had a rough week, no matter which Presidential Candidate you voted for (I write this, completely unaware of who our next President will be). This election has been challenging for multiple reasons so I wanted to round up some of my favorite (fairly simple) ways that I take care of myself. Admittedly, I’m terrible with “Self Care”. I take care of everyone around me before I think about taking care of myself. My usual self care ideas involve shopping (thanks, mom), getting my nails done (something I’ve JUST recently started doing again), massages (can we do those yet?)… Basically, it involves other people and being in places that COVID has shut down for a lot of this year. I’ve had to get creative. I hope that in some way, I’m able to help you figure out how to better take care of yourself too during these scary and confining times.
If you weren’t aware, I have my BA in English. When I thought about what kind of degree I wanted to get, I figured I should do something I actually enjoyed doing. Which, has always been reading. I love reading. I’ve always loved reading. My childhood is filled with memories of long Summers in the backyard, reading books with my dad. When my dad wanted to relax without going on vacation, he would grab a book. Since it was dad relaxation time, I wasn’t allowed to bother him. I learned quickly that we could hang out together if I sat down and read with him. It was the perfect solution.
I know a lot of people who have said that they hated reading. I promise that you just haven’t found the right book. I once knew a dude who loved reading computer manuals. That was his niche. He didn’t read any other books. Even if it’s the newspaper, a magazine, or short articles online. Calm your mind and read something that temporarily makes you forget that you’re stressed.
I was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. Even in “bad” weather, getting outside has always been an option and I realize that’s definitely a privilege that some other parts of the world don’t get to enjoy. My dad always jokes that he’s “solar powered”. If he doesn’t get some sunshine on his skin for too long, he’ll run low on batteries. I’m the same way. Getting outside heals my soul. If I can’t actually go somewhere (maybe I have a busy workday), I’ll go outside and work (the glare is the worst but power through) or I’ll sit outside with my cup of coffee, just letting the fresh air embrace me. If I have a little more time, I’ll put my headphones in, turn on a true crime podcast, grab Sidney, and take a nice long walk around my neighborhood. These are 2 things you can do without really running into too many people, which is my current, COVID minded goal. Jacob has taken up disc golf more seriously and has been a great way for him to get outside (he even bought a cage for our backyard).
TAKE A SHOWER OR BATH
I’m a huge fan of baths and the fact that I just bought a house that doesn’t have a bathtub does sting. If you have a bath, count yourself as lucky and please make use of it! I am living vicariously through you. I’ve always felt connected to water (I am a water sign, after all) and I think that so many things can be healed with water. Sometimes, you just need a good cry (salt water). You need water to survive. After a stressful day, taking a shower or a bath helps to wash the stress away. I’ve recently started to truly lean into my Tarot reading and wow, that’s a lot of energy. After doing too many readings in a day, taking a shower helps a lot to restore my energy.
COOKING OR BAKING
I. Love. Cooking. This is another thing that my dad ingrained in me for stress relief. When I was a kid and could help cook, we’d pretend that we were on a cooking show! Our microwave was the camera and dad would have me explain to our audience what we were doing. To this day, I still sometimes catch myself describing what I’m doing… In my own head though. It helps me focus and de-stress. I collect cookbooks (and perhaps I’ll share my favorites soon) so if you have a favorite, please share in the comments so I can check it out.
I’m not much on baking but I know so many people who use baking as their self care. Baking, for me, is too precise and typically gives me more stress. Every once in a while I do get a in a baking mood and I’ll bake 3-5 different things but that’s only a few times a year and it’s normally an entire day and then I’m pooped. So I’m not sure how much of self care that was (but eating all of it for the next few days definitely IS self care).
Obviously, I’m a fan of the arts. I write in my journal (or on here). I create Mixed Media Art (which you can see if you click on the Menu up in the top right hand corner). I take black and white photos (which you can also see doing the thing I just told you to do). I make holiday cards, birthday cards, and random other types of cards. I use my journal to create even more art. Sometimes, you just need to keep your hands busy. If you don’t think you’re artistic in any way (you are, but I digress), pick up a coloring book. When I was a kid, my mom always joined in on color time. That was her favorite. That was a way she de-stressed and spent time with me. Find something that connects to you and do it.
MEDITATION, PRAYER, pULL A CARD, TAKE A FEW BREATHS
Do something that makes you stop for a few minutes. Something that makes you focus on your own voice and your breathing. That could be meditation (Guided meditation is something that I’ve been trying out a lot recently). That could be prayer (to whatever entity you pray to). Pull a card (Oracle or Tarot)… AND ACTUALLY LISTEN TO IT. Take a few breaths (if you have an Apple Watch, they have an app for that!). Aromatherapy is fantastic – light a candle, get a diffuser, use incense. Anything that helps you get into the chill zone. As 10 year old Lauren would say, “Take a chill pill”.
Exercise is something that’s new to me. Except not at all. Hopefully I’ll dive into my twisted relationship with working out with you all someday but today is not the day. So let me re-phrase. HEALTHY exercise is something that’s new to me. I’m a morning person. Getting up at the crack of dawn and getting my workout in early really does set the rest of the day up so well. I’m normally more calm and more focused (could be all the caffeine in my pre-workout… and protein powder… and coffee). When we were buying a house, we did not want to compromise on the garage size. This was going to be made into our home gym (a dream we had before COVID happened). Even before we had this opportunity, we were working out in our small, one bedroom apartment. It wasn’t ideal, no, but it was do-able and it helped us with stress and to stay in a routine. There are so many ways to workout too. Do you like to dance? You can do a dance workout. Do you like running (freak)? You got it! Do you even lift bro? There’s something for everything and just like reading, I really think that there’s something for everyone, you just have to find it. I’m a huge fan of women realizing that we can 100% lift just as well as the boys. My muscles will shut down your toxic masculinity, don’t worry.
What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself? Leave a comment!