March 20

The Core of Self-Care

It’s been a tough, tough week. Lots of friends and loved ones in various crises and work piling up faster than we can handle it sometimes. So a friend asked me what I was doing to take care of myself amid so many sources of stress. When people tell me to do something for myself it’s rarely very effective because the work and emails just pile up while I’m getting a massage and that kind of undermines the point of the massage. And I hate to admit it but dark chocolate only solves so many problems. Sometimes there’s nowhere to hide when so many people in our lives are in the midst of crises and there are people for whatever reason decide to send me 29 emails on a subject that could be handled in 3.

After a lot of thought I’ve decided that at the root of self-care is the tone of inner dialogue that each of us has in our heads throughout each day. It’s the voice that either says “Are you kidding me?! How could you be so stupid to forget that appointment?! You really blew it!” or it says, “Ugh. I forgot the appointment. I’ve got a lot on my mind. I’ll call and apologize profusely but let’s not beat myself up because I need my strength for other things now.” In other words, all self-care is negated if we don’t cut ourselves a break when it comes to that nagging inner dialogue when times get tough. So my self-care for the next six weeks or so until the lives of those I care about settle down is going to focus on reminding myself that all of this will end at some point, that I’ve weathered worse storms, that I need to surrender many of these outcomes because they are not in my control, that sleep, exercise and eating small, healthy meals will ease a stressed stomach and that I need to focus on keeping our home calm and as happy as possible.

And a good laugh. So here’s my corny joke of the day: What did the frog discover when he began studying his genealogy? That he was a tad Polish.