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Part four: One mom’s 2019 selfcare challenge

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.

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Part Two: One mom’s 2019 selfcare challenge


A road map out of ‘Pushing Through’ purgatory

‘Dance like nobody is watching.’

I’m standing in the grocery checkout, in a zombie-frame-of-mind, at the end of a long day. I overhear a dad give his 10-ish-year-old son the thumbs up on a candy bar. Then, I see the boy bust into an obnoxious and hilarious dance move with wild abandon. Imagine some tribal warrior dance.

Remember when you were a kid, and you had a some burning desire to build a snowman, create a fort, run through the woods, or roll down a grassy hill? Close your eyes and think about being a kid and getting some wild urge to do something super fun. For me, it’s a sorta joyful, bursting feeling in my heart.

I think to myself, “When did I stop dancing wildly with joy?” You know this kid didn’t think about breaking out into dance. He simply felt a moment of joy and expressed it. He let it out.

Somewhere between 8 years old and 25, most of us stop listening to those messages from the heart. You see few adults dancing with abandon at the grocery store.

I know I wanted to dance with wild abandon when the pharmacist told me the coupon for my $135 prescription knocked the price down to $35. I didn’t. Where did that joy go? Is it like holding your breath? Am I forcing that little bit of happiness to die a slow death?

Fast forward to this week. I’m listening to someone talk about a trip to Greece. A wave of resentment and discouragement moves through me. If I were to put words to the wave, it would read something like, “I want to do that. I’m frustrated someone else is doing something I want to experience. How in the hell, can I make that happen for me? What if I never get to do that?”

If I dig deeper, thinking about a trip to Greece, and really visualize myself sitting in the sun on the Grecian coast, I don’t feel resentment. Instead, I feel joy. I feel a little of that burst of energy; just like the dancing, candy bar boy.

I have a friend who believes these nudges of jealousy and joy offer us a roadmap to our true selves. As children, we have the abandon to express the energy without much, if any thought. As adults, we lose the abandon and need reprogram ourselves to notice these nudges.

For instance, if you feel like punching someone in the face when they tell you about following through with an item on YOUR bucket list, it’s time to take action. Let that energy out. Don’t allow it to fester and become infected.

Yes, it may be easier for some to take expensive trips without much saving. Nothing, however, is stopping anyone from taking a small action in the direction of a dream.

Nothing before this moment matters. And, there may not be any moments after this one. Make it count. Even if all you can do is put $1 in an envelope for that trip to Rome. Do it. The pressure will lessen on your heart. Take the action, let it go and see what happens.

And, if you feel like dancing in the grocery store. Do it.

The world would be a better place if more adults danced at the grocery store.

Selfcare Update:

I haven’t made the spa appointment, but I did open the “menu!” There a so many choices. It’s a bit overwhelming. Do I want the “Clearly Calming Facial” or the “Scalp-Hand-Foot?”

And, what’s worse, I have a tendency to think, “This will be the only massage/facial/manicure I will have until I die.” Obviously, this puts the pressure on heavy. Like I’m heading to the guillotine, but I can pick one spa treatment at Asheville’s Sensibilities Day Spa before I go. Like spas across the world will blacklist me or something after one visit. Not true and misguided thinking.

It’s so easy for me to make my daily to-do lists with 15–20 items revolving around everyone’s needs. Even the guinea pig made the list today, as he frequently does. Hedgepig needs “organic” hay. REALLY. I buy him organic hay.

So, where was my “Make a spa appointment?” Not on the list. Seriously. Even after putting an essay out there promoting selfcare.

So much easier for me to deprive and wish of things I want for myself, then, wanna punch someone in the face when THEY follow through on their selfcare.

Need to remind myself, “You can have a massage and go back for another!” Crazy talk.

Last night, I fell asleep without putting in my mouthguard. I grind my teeth terribly. I consider it selfcare that I got up later in the night, went to the bathroom to get my guard. I know, not ground-breaking progress, but still.

Took a few bubble baths this week, and I got up an hour early one morning to enjoy the quiet.

I didn’t, however, do a good job planning the selfcare daily. For this week, I want to be mindful about the day ahead and what selfcare I plan.

Things nudging me this week:

-Have tea at Dobra with the cheesy biscuits.

-Go for a walk in the sun.

-Schedule a haircut.

-Add category for trip to ??? in my spending plan.

-Buy some new, decadent sheets and pillow cases.

Contact Information:

Heather Berry heatherberrycopywriter@gmail.com


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