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Part four: One mom’s 2019 selfcare challenge

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One Mom's selfcare challenge for 2019

A road map out of ‘Pushing Through’ purgatory

Pushing through

Verb: To push through

When a person feels exhaustion/depletion, but follows through on a task out of love, obligation or responsibility; sometimes avoidable, but often not. “She was 10-cm dilated and the doctor refused her epidural, therefore, she pushed through.”

Asheville – In January, I began a series documenting my selfcare adventure for 2019. I noticed in 2018, how I was annoyingly repetitive about saying, “I need a massage,” without ever actually getting a massage. I annoyed myself for an entire year. And, I noticed how I spent money impulsively on extra stuff like ice cream or magazines, which, when added up, could easily equal the amount for a massage.

In the beginning of the series, I mentioned I was committed to building momentum slowly. I’ve never been good with abruptly changing my habits. Instead, I figured I’d acclimate myself to smaller selfcare actions, like massages and bubble baths, until I was comfortable with the bigger stuff… like a couple days at a spa.

Well, January is over, and I had the massage, plus a facial.

I didn’t cancel or make any excuses. And! I could have easily blown it off. The temperature was super cold in Western North Carolina the day of my massage and things were shutting down; Y’all know, because it’s the South. The spa called and moved my appointment earlier because of the weather. I had TWO business appointments scheduled for the same time. Did I cancel the massage? Nope. I moved stuff around like I’m a boss.

It’s probably been a year or more since I’ve enjoyed either a massage or facial.

Imagine you’ve been holding your breath for a year and, then, for two wonderful hours, you exhale.

I exhaled for 120 minutes and more.

Observations from someone terrible at selfcare:

  • I will feel guilty for just about everything. For the first 30 minutes I felt guilty. I felt guilty because the person giving me the facial probably needed one too. I assumed the woman giving the facial was as burned out as I felt.

I know. It’s insane. I did, however, ask her when she last had a facial. When she answered, “Every few months,” I relaxed some more. So, if you have some terrible thing happen, and you need to blame someone, send it my way. I probably already feel guilty about it.

  • Getting naked for a stranger, even with a blanket is weird, but do-able. I realized how part of my resistance to selfcare like massages/facials has to do with feeling vulnerable. You feel exposed, and I’ve never been good at this type of vulnerability. Weird, how I can write my deepest feelings for all to see. Ask me to strip and lay on a table covered in a blanket, I feel weird. Just weird.

The weirdness disappears when you have a talented masseuse/esthetician. I think the ratio of speed it disappears correlates with their talent. Mine disappeared quickly, given the amount of time I had gone without.

  • Beauty has a lot to do with how you feel. I felt “pretty” again after my facial. I looked in the mirror, and I felt pretty. No makeup and messy hair, still 50, but I felt pretty. I looked pretty. I felt rejuvenated.

My life is filled with a lot of tasks. I’m busy from the time I get up to when I head to bed. Marketing, writing, parenting, managing, dealing with life, etc., like all of us, and, the mirror I didn’t see the pinched look my face usually wears. Satisfying everyone’s needs, except my own.

  • Driving after a good massage probably isn’t a good idea. I should probably have someone drive me home after a massage. I was really relaxed. Like a minor operation, I needed a designated driver.
  • One selfcare action leads to another. The feeling lasted the rest of the day and into the day after. As I was still on the massage table, I started thinking about the tasks I had for the remainder of the day. I decided, in my relaxed state, to pick up dinner on the way home.
  • My creativity is relative to how I relaxed I feel. My creativity rose to the surface. I had two book ideas, and an article pitch come to me in those two hours. So, yes, I paid for those services, but I also could say those services paid for themselves. If I add action to the ideas, I could easily make the money and tip I spent.
  • Selfcare is necessary like toothpaste. I don’t feel guilty when I buy toothpaste. I don’t feel guilty when I get my car maintained. I’m more important than my car. I’m a single, self-employed mom. Without me, my family would be in trouble.
  • Developing a habit of nurturing yourself requires practice. This isn’t coming easily to me. I tend to punish myself for things that aren’t even my fault. So, I don’t want to make my selfcare adventure another area where I feel I come up short. For February, I want to continue by taking it slowly and being kind to myself. Treat myself the way I treat other people.

What’s next on my selfcare adventure?

I said from the beginning, I would slowly build my selfcare actions. I would test the theory that a rested, nurtured Heather will bring in more income than a stressed, pinched Heather.

For January, I conquered my goal.

It’s February and now what? Next, I want to schedule another massage or facial for this month. This is a becoming a habit, right? And, I want to get a manicure, hair cut and highlights at a downtown salon.

For the record, Sensibilities Day Spa in downtown Asheville is worth every penny.