30 days of self care

Ya’ll, I just did about the dorkiest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I know that I’m a self-proclaimed dork, but I really pushed the package this time. This afternoon, I sat for two hours and created a spreadsheet; a daily check list that included things like “wash face in the morning” and “shave yo damn legs!” 

Let me back up, here. 

We’re kinda, sorta half way through the holiday season. I know, I know, its only the first week of December- but let’s be real, the holiday season begins the minute you arrive home from trick-or-treating on Halloween. The holiday hustle got to me early, this year; and with a figurative plate more full than a Thanksgiving day feast, and a mini vacation planned in ten days, I lost my cool (and my voice…literally) on my recent trip to New Jersey.  

When I arrived home, after one of the worst rides I’ve had on my many trips North (and back South), I realized it’d been a long time since I’d practiced any of the self-care concepts I raved so highly about, just a few months ago. I hadn’t read a book, taken an epsom salt bath, gotten acupuncture; I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had a really good workout (when I used to have them every.single.day). I’ve fallen so far off the self-care wagon, it’s made it’s way across the Oregon Trail, while I’m somewhere in a ditch off the side of the Missouri River dying from a snakebite, or cholera. But I digress…

When I realized how long it’d been, I knew something had to change. Of course, that’s no easy feat this time of year. Aside from the million things going on (friend get togethers, class parties, field trips, colds, flu and stomach bugs- of which my youngest is recovering today), we also have a trip coming up. And lest we not forget, I’m also a solo parent. Hence, my super cool (snort:giggle:snort) spreadsheet “to-do” list. Not only will I be hanging my chore list in my office, I’ll be posting on instagram, and my blog, to keep myself accountable (I know! You’re all so excited!). I know me, and like many of us, unless we have someone to “report into,” many of us will do what we should for a day, and quickly slip back into old habits. It’s a 30 day challenge of self-care and organization.

Aside from making sure that I have clean skin, and that I don’t look like a yeti under my riding boots, on it are things like “work out,” “nutrition,” “read,” and “wear the clothes in your closet.” I know these sound a lot like New Years’ resolutions, but if I’m getting serious for a second, I’ll explain why I’m not waiting until January to (re)start caring for myself.

I know this time of year can be stressful for anyone- not just people in my position. If I’m being totally frank, it’s probably not the things people think that stress me out. It’s not even slightly the fact that there won’t be a gift under the tree for me; I’m not twelve, I’ll live without it. It’s not even just that it’s only me to pull off the whole enchilada- the decorations, the gifts, the wrapping, the stupid freaking elves…that I can live with. It’s that this time of year, when life is so busy, and my kids depend on me to pull it all off, that the pressure to stay alive starts to mount. I know - “whaaaaaat?!” 

It’s become common, if not routine, conversation amongst the widows/widowers in my groups that staying alive isn’t just something we “want to do.” We don’t get that privilege. Staying alive is a weight, a pressure, a “must fucking do” until our kids are adults. For people like me, in particular, with really young kids, that’s a daunting task. Some of you might be worried how you’ll pay for presents. Some of you might be worried your kids will feel slighted at receiving underwear or gloves. I’m worried about leaving my kids orphans. I’m worried that some Christmas morning, well before adulthood, they’ll wake up and not have any parents. It’s a persistent, sickening worry (amongst a million others…like, “will I ever find some amazing man to be a strong figure in their lives?” “Will I keep my daughter in school and off the pole?” And “Can I convince them alone to use their strong willed nature to cure cancer and not rob banks?”). Self care isn’t just for relaxation in my case: it’s proactive. It’s saving myself before I need saving. It’s giving my body my “all,” to give myself the best shot at achieving my goal of “live.” 

Could I wait one more month? I suppose. Would it be a lot smarter of me to start now? Yes. So I am. No time like the present, as they say! So consider the gauntlet thrown! Challenge accepted! 

Mission “get back on track” and “not die” in effect in 3…2…1…

Wish me luck!

Megan Courtney