I've been anxious about a variety of things and my kids have been going through some difficult stuff and my friends have been going through some terrible stuff and I've been overextending myself and, uh, it all appears to be causing some stress. My mind and body have had enough - apparently - and so they are shutting down. Hear that low, sad powering down sound?
In the past 21 days I have:
- Had my period twice, at seven days each, for a grand total of 14/21 days of BLEEDING FROM MY VAGINA
- Likely become iron deficient (no bloodtest confirmation, but the symptoms are there and 2 of the last 3 weeks involved bleeding heavily. From my hoohah. So.)
- Gotten some kind of flu thing that has made me miss two meetings (one of which I was meant to run) and generally feel exhausted and awful
And so, in order to remind myself, as well as potentially encourage those of you out there who also might be having shitty months (buddies... I'm talking to you. You know who you are):
SOME SELF-CARE TIPS
Take care of your body
1. Sleep. I forget how important sleep is until I don't get enough and find myself struggling to understand the instructions on my first grader's homework. YOU HAVE TO SLEEP. Get the full eight hours. Yes, it might mean that you have save the latest episode of Broad City for tomorrow. Yes, it might mean you miss something on FB/Insta/Snapchat/Twitter. You will survive. But you will not survive without sleep. Get your sleep. Do it. In fact, go take a nap right now.
2. Drink more water. It's possible that I was exclusively drinking coffee or beer all day most days of the past six weeks. I know. I KNOW. But coffee makes me so happy! And beer makes me... well, a different kind of happy. The days y'all. They've been long. And so coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, beer. Sometimes a margarita or vodka tonic! But none of that is water. And water is, you know, what we're made out of. Toxins, dehydration, health, blah blah. LISTEN. We all know we need water - way more than most of us drink - to feel good and stay healthy. Drink some damn water, people. I have been drinking an insane amount of water while I've been sick and guess what? Noticeable difference. Go get yourself a giant glass of water. Now chug it. Now get another.
3. Eat well. Yeah, this is another one of those obvious ones that we still seem to be incapable of sticking to. But here's the thing. I'm not talking all fruits and veggies all the time. I'm talking well-balanced meals. The right amount of protein, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, all that good stuff. You need vitamins and minerals to make your brain and body function properly. Especially if you're bleeding for 14 out of 21 days. So... grab that burger, but put veggies on the thing and eat some fruit for dessert. Fruit and nuts. Fruit and nuts on ice cream. Whatever. Just, you know, pay attention and don't eat crap all the time. Or don't not eat. Also bad.
4. Exercise. I hate this one. I'm not going to lie. In a lot of ways, I am lazy as shit. I am. And just the word "exercise" makes me get all pouty and argumentative. But it's important, and it doesn't have to be a Crossfit marathon of bootcamp death. I mean, if that's your thing, you should totally do it. But it is not mine. I do not enjoy paying real money for someone to yell at me. I have two tiny people who yell at me daily. For free. And as previously mentioned, my ass is lazy. If I'm going to exercise, I have to be distracted while doing it. So, for me, exercise might be going for a long walk with a friend. Or pulling out that Ballet Beautiful DVD (and then noticing all the dust on it and feeling guilty) and actually doing it. Or, if I have the cash, taking a yoga class or a ballet class. Or doing a plank challenge with one of my friends. It doesn't have to take a ton of time and it doesn't have to cost much, or anything. But when I finally get my ass in gear and do something with it, I feel a lot better. Endorphins, sure, but also just generally like I've done something to take care of myself. And I have! I've balleted my beautiful and/or turned my downward dog and/or walked for a long time while yammering at Christina.
Take care of your mind
5. Read more. On paper. I get in this terrible habit of prioritizing stupid stuff that doesn't ultimately matter and forgetting to prioritize the stuff that makes me feel good and happy and healthy. It's pretty big problem for most of us, I think, with all our many many screens and many many commitments. But all this stuff isn't keeping us happy and healthy. What does keep us happy are usually smaller things, but things we don't make time for for any number of reasons. One of those things, for me, is reading. I LOVE to read. But I probably only read 6-8 books a year. Which is ridiculous. I read lots of articles and essays and stories and poetry online, but because they're online, I'm also usually checking email and listening to my FB notifications and listening to music and very often getting up every 5 minutes to make someone a snack. I rarely sit down with a book and focus - exclusively - on that book. And that is one of my very favorite things to do in the world. When I do sit down and read a beautiful book made out paper, I tune everything else out. The world goes silent except for what's on those pages. And when I'm done reading, I always always feel better about life. (Note: I just finished Justin Torres's We The Animals, and it is a gorgeous stunner of a little book.)
6. Spend less time on screens. I realize this one seems damn near impossible for some of us, but we need it. We need to step away from the screens. Computer, phone, TV, tablet... all of it needs to turn off and go away sometimes. We need to interact with the 3D world. Pick up a paper book. Go for a walk. Meet a friend. Play with your kids. Have a cup of coffee is silence while contemplating the universe. I don't care. Just unplug for a second and notice life as it's speeding on by. I talk about this a lot, but the closer we get to a Ray Bradbury novel, the sadder we get. Let's resist, shall we?
7. Spend time with the people who make you happy. Again, this one seems so obvious, but so few of us actually prioritize time with our friends or our Smartners. Everyone is so busy and scheduled up all the time that they no longer have time to spend time with each other. When's the last time you just called someone up - on a whim - and asked if they could meet you for a coffee or a drink? Years, right? Or if it was recent, I'd be willing to bet they couldn't meet you because they already had plans or were too busy. RIGHT?!? It's insane. No one spends time together anymore, and human connection is important. We tend to turn to one of our screens when we want to talk to someone, but it doesn't provide the same warm fuzzies as the real person. You can't hug your computer, yo. I mean... you can, I guess, but it won't hug you back. Neither will your phone or your tablet. You gotta hang out with your real people. Look them right in the eyeballs. Listen to them laugh. Smack 'em on the arm when they say something snarky. Hug them goodbye. These things are important. And while you're at it, schedule a date with your Smartner if you have one. Hang out together over a meal without tiny people shrieking and asking for more ketchup. Remember why you like each other. It's nice. Try it.