Self care? What does that mean? What is it supposed to look like? Can we take care of ourselves during our grief? How are we supposed to do that?
I often tell my people I work with how I manage my grief on days that it is taking over my body. If I wake up in a funk, I am gentle with myself. I skip my normal morning chores around the house and take the time to calmly drink my coffee and watch something on Netflix instead of the news. I listen to my designated “sad feels” playlist in my car, since it has been proven that listening to sad music helps us feel better. When I get to work, I try to let my boss know I’ve had a rough morning. She and I have an understanding of what kinds of tasks I’ll do that day to be more on my own. If needed when I get home, I eat a yummy dinner and perhaps will splurge on some chocolate while taking an epson salt bath. I have these “bad days” down on auto pilot almost, but what do we do for extended self care?
For me, the perfect extended break is the beach. Calm waters, ocean breeze, tasty drink in my hand, snacks on demand, and my favorite person near me. My husband and I thrive at the beach. While I’m listening to the sounds of the ocean, I spend some time working through and untying the knots inside that anxiety and grief has created. After I’ve loosened some knots, I start working through how I am going to improve my stress and anxiety levels when we get home. When we take these days and make memories and step away from our lives, we find that a we can be more productive in the long run. Taking time away from life, even in short spurts, is beneficial not only for mental health but for our physical health as well.
Now, we can’t always be at the beach every week. I know, it’s rough. But what we can do is start creating a life for ourselves that includes daily natural breaks and extended breaks on the weekend. This can be done by taking shorter work weeks or making sure there is designated time on the weekends that you’re on your couch just taking in life. This past weekend, I left my couch for maybe two hours one day only to clean out a closet and go eat dinner. The other day, I didn’t leave the house at all and only got up for about can hour to do a bit of cleaning. It was amazing. Now, did I work on some stuff on my computer, yes. But, I also took time for reading, writing, and just watching Netflix. What do you do for daily self care? What’s your favorite way to check out?