Monthly Archives: January 2012

month in review.

I kind of can’t believe that it’s the end of January already, and that I’m a solid month into this project. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself already. And that day by day, I’m getting better at taking care of myself, prioritizing my needs, cutting myself some slack, and healing my heart.

I’ve been surprised at how writing this blog has turned into a major part of my self-care. I mean, I kind of figured it would be important, but being accountable to myself in this way is really good. I find I’m more likely to stick to my intentions because I have this working document waiting for me.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about how I want to move forward for the next 11 months. So far, I’ve just been going about my days and haven’t had any real focus or direction to the self-care I’ve been doing other than making sure I do it. I like the organic process of this project, and I knew going into it that I would be developing it and changing it up as I went along. Dividing actions into acts of self-love and self-care goals has been really useful for me to categorize some of what I’ve been doing. Acts of self-love have emerged as larger, overarching concepts, whereas self-care goals are more like the practical application of these concepts. I want to continue to work with these ideas in a more organized way.

For February and beyond, I’ve decided to work within a theme for the month. The theme will focus on one or two acts of self-love, with each day comprised of one or more self-care goals that fall under/support that specific act. My hope is that by focusing more intensely on a certain area for a concentrated amount of time, I will be able to develop better habits of self-care in that area for the future.

I also want to incorporate more art into the project. My goal for February in this regard is to illustrate some of my favorite days from January as an artistic document of this project. Hopefully at the end I’ll be able to put together a little zine with highlights from each month.

So, without further ado, the act of self-love for February is:

love your body. everyday. no exceptions.

 

More on my plans for implementing this act tomorrow!

 

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day 31.

Last day in January! I’m pretty excited to have a whole month under my belt!

Today, for self-care, I:

  • Took a nap after work
  • Gave myself a break from homework
  • Ate a couple rice crispy treats (they’re almost gone, and I’m real sad about it)

And now I’m heading out the door for KNOWHOMO, a queer trivia night!! Staying up late on a work night is sometimes totally worth it when you really need friend time, laughs, and sweet potato fries.

 

 

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day 30.

Today, self-care looks like calling a best friend instead of spiraling out of control in my own head. And letting myself cry for a minute.

And going to bed early (for me anyway). Mondays are my hardest days with work and school and I was up entirely too late last night. I will not be doing that again. Oy.

 

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day 29.

Act of self-love: feed yourself. well. 

Today I cooked up a storm instead of doing all of the reading I should have been doing for class (I’ll get to it eventually, I swear). Sometimes, (no wait, always) sustenance wins. And I mean the kind of cooking that feeds not only you and your friends,but also your soul. The kind of food that makes you excited, that you can’t wait to make again because it is just that good. The kind of cooking that will keep me sane for the week. Through work and school and appointments and bills and the daily grind that gets in the way of me eating as well as I should.

This evening, I made myself a yummy dinner with enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Lamb kabobs (pre-marinated, but still), sauteed fennel and quinoa. lamb and fennel are on the list of foods my acupuncturist recommended, and I’m trying to incorporate these foods into my diet as much as possible.

I also made stuffed cabbage with my housemate:

mostly for freezing so that I’ll have something to fall back on. I used the recipe from smitten kitchen with some tweaks from how my mom makes it (I didn’t have her recipe on hand). The rolls turned out pretty good, but I think next time I’ll just get my mom’s recipe. It’s a nostalgia thing.

I really love cooking with friends. It’s one of my favorites. My housemate and I are a really good team, and he’s one of my favorite people to cook with (and not just because he let’s me be the kitchen top). I want to spend more time in the coming months cooking with others. It’s such a great way to do self-care together.

We also made the most amazing rice crispy treats ever. i’m not even kidding about it, they are out of control good.

sea salt brown butter crispies

YUM!!

Cooking is my ultimate self-care. It would be at the top of my list. hands down. And I just haven’t done enough of it lately. I’m working on changing that in the month to come.

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day 28.

Today, I put these bad boys on for the first time in well over a year:

I went to a beginner roller derby class at oaks park with a friend of mine. She’s interested in learning how to skate and maybe get into the sport. I’ve skated for a large chunk of my life and played derby for about 3 years in Detroit, so I offered to go with her and check it out. We ended up getting split up into a beginner group and a more advanced group, but I think we both had a blast.

It felt so amazing to be on skates again. To move my body in ways that it is really used to and also has kind of forgotten a bit. To skate fast. To get low and feel the burn in my thighs. Skating is one of those ways that I feel so truly present in my body. I want more of that feeling.

I, of course, can’t wait to go again. Hopefully next week!

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day 27.

Act of self-love: revel in the solitude

“Instead of running away from our loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, we have to protect it and turn it into fruitful solitude…Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.” -Henri Nouwen (as read in All About Love)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the art of being single. Of being alone. How sometimes, I forget how good it is for me. How I can get stuck in the loneliness of it, and forget to celebrate, embrace, and enjoy the here and now. How, actually, I’m really fucking happy. And how yes, I do want to love someone in intense, profound ways again someday, when I’m ready.

And so today I watched this video again. And reminded myself that I’m worthy of my love.

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” -bell hooks, All About Love

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day 26.

Today’s self-care looked like yoga in the living room with my housemate and disabling my okcupid account.

Both felt pretty awesome. And now I’m ready for bed.

 

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day 25.

self-care goal: go to counseling 

I started going to counseling back in September or October, just as my 4+ year relationship was beginning to end. Counseling has helped me work through some really tough, vulnerable, heart-breaking things these past few months, and I’m so thankful that I am able to go regularly and that I have a counselor I feel really comfortable with. It was a huge step just to seek such outside support, and I’m glad I loved myself enough during such a difficult time to do it. And while I don’t think therapy is for everyone, and I totally have my own hang-ups around it, for me, it has been life/heart-saving.

So today I had counseling. I recently started going every other week,  so it had been a bit since I saw my counselor last. And the session today was intense. I felt raw again in ways I haven’t felt in a while. Things came up that I thought had already been dealt with and new hurts were revealed. She referred to it as “the second wave,” and it definitely felt like a wave crashing into me, trying to knock me down.

In some ways it was totally devastating and in others really transformative. I think that’s the power of counseling for me.

And I’m still standing.

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day 24.

self-care goal: quiet the noise in your head

self-care goal: get good sleep

So, I’m a little late with this post as I actually held myself to my goal from Monday and went to bed before 11. Barely, but I did it. Tonight I’m going to try for before 10:45. Baby steps.

Before sleep last night, I spent a few minutes spiraling in my journal. See, I sometimes get to ruminating, running the same things over and over in my head, and then I can’t turn it off enough to go to sleep. And when I finally do get to sleep, the same things will pop up in my dreams. Or I’ll have really restless sleep. I’ve been really good lately about working through this stuff (movement is a huge help), but yesterday it crept in anyway. I do this exercise I read about in Picture This by Lynda Barry, where you draw spirals to help you work through something. Spirals in and spirals out. It’s one of my favorite quick techniques for processing through something.

So, last night before bed I filled a page of my journal with spirals. I used a fine point marker and it made really satisfying lines:

After spiraling, I read a few poems from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde because I wasn’t quite ready for bed. With school starting, I don’t have the time I’d like any more for leisure reading, but I’m trying to start a new ritual of reading a poem or two at night so that I still get to do some reading for pleasure. Then it was lights out at 10:53 and a solid night’s sleep.

What do you do to clear your head?

What are your bedtime rituals?

 

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day 23.

Today I bought myself tacos for getting through my epic day of work and school.

School rules. I’m so excited about my program, even though I will be buried in homework and reading until it is finished. Now I’m doing a face mask (my period was so not nice to my skin this month) and heading to bed.

Sometimes, it’s the little things. Like good, cheap food you don’t have to cook yourself and some at-home spa time.

Tomorrow, my goal is to go to bed before 11pm.

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