When things in my life are relatively sane and stable, I’m pretty damn good at taking care of myself. I exercise regularly, cook nourishing food, connect with friends and family, and spend time enriching my life with music, literature, etc.
And I believe deeply in the importance of self-care and self-compassion.
However, when things in my life are stressful and overwhelming (as they are now) rather than dialing up and prioritizing self-care (like I probably should), it gets chucked in the back seat. My healthy home-cooked meals get traded in for ice cream dinners. My workouts get wimpier as I struggle to find the energy to push myself. And I crash on the couch after work and zone out rather then engaging in something more soul-filling.
I’m not saying that there is a single thing inherently wrong with ice cream for dinner and couch potato evenings, but I know for sure that these choices do not help ME feel better. They might feel restorative to some, but they just lead me to feel physically crappier and more drained emotionally/mentally.
But I’ve allowed myself a month to wallow in my BRCA1+ diagnosis and flush self care down the drain because that’s all I could do. However, now that the shock has worn off and the uphill sprint of initial doctors appointments is over, I feel ready to commit to caring for this mutant body of mine once again. Beyond that, even if surgeries are still a couple years away for me I want to go into that process my healthiest self (physically and mentally) as much as it is possible.
So here, in black and white, are the steps that I am taking RIGHT NOW to honor my body and care for myself:
- I started working with a new therapist last week (it’s been almost 3 years since I was last in therapy)
- I’m incorporating more yoga into my weekly workouts since this is feeling like what my body needs right now
- I’m making an effort to be in bed by 10:30 every night (and then doing my nightly journaling)
- I’m picking back up my meditation practice
- I’m reading fiction
- I’m back to tracking my macros and eating in alignment with what feels best for my body
- I’m trying to have the courage to ask for things I need without guilt (time off work, extra help with childcare)
Here’s to hoping this starts the upward momentum I need to take on whatever challenges are ahead with strength, grace, and optimism.