22 July, 2015
Sometimes Self-Care sucks.
There’s a lot of talk in the blogosphere about Self care and making sure Mommas get time to reconnect to themselves. These articles usually include delicious ideas like pedicures, journalling quietly, yoga, spa days, sleeping in, weekends away with your besties, etc.
All the above suggestions are easy to dish out, and easy to take. Who doesn’t want permission to spend an afternoon getting pampered? Who isn’t willing to fight for her right to take a shower by herself at least once this month? But sometimes the self-care we most need doesn’t feel like self-care. It’s the unsexy, boring self-care that brings up our own parents’ nagging voices in our heads about how we really should make that dentist appointment, unpack those boxes in the spare room from when we moved in three years ago, and make time to go grocery shopping.
The UNGLAMOROUS self-care gets delegated to the chore list and becomes an obligation to do. Logically we know that we’ll feel so much better if we keep all our teeth, have a house we love living in and are proud to show off, and have nourishing food available in the kitchen. Yet that sense of ‘should’ and inner browbeating turns something which will ultimately greatly enrich our lives into something which we put off and put off, and put off again, ultimately creating a cycle of self-neglect because our inner child is rebelling against our inner parent.
It all comes down to attitude.
For me these last few months this rebellion has shown up most significantly around exercise. My pregnancy was near debilitating and I was largely couch-bound my last trimester. After Squish was born I sustained an injury that still leads to intermittent pain while running and my health was somewhat compromised for quite some time. I did anything but ‘bounce back’. All this has led to me being weaker and less fit than I’ve been since I was about 14. It went from frustrating to humbling to embarrassing to now shameful, and I now am ‘one of those people’ who compares past to present, feels overwhelmed and frustrated and ends up staying on the couch on Facebook doing nothing instead of accepting reality, getting up off my ass and doing something about it.
I *KNOW* I would feel a lot better if I moved. I know that about myself. It would improve my self-esteem, make me a more patient mother, a more loving spouse and return a healthy amount of self-respect I seem to have left behind somewhere. If that isn’t self-care, I don’t know what is!
So I’ve been shoulding on myself for months now, and coming up with all the excuses in defiance of my own nagging – it’s too hot, I’m too tired, I’m too hungry, I’m too full – you name it, I’ve probably come up with it. I had a couple of start-stops in Denver and in Mexico City, but consistency has been challenging to maintain with moving to different towns, elevations, climates, etc. (see! I told you I had all the excuses!)
Having minored in Exercise Science in college and worked in the industry as a certified professional for over a decade, I KNOW how to create a workout anywhere. I cannot claim ignorance or intimidation. I just dig in my heels and refuse to participate because I have to work hard to get it back rather than work to maintain what I’ve got.
But that’s just it – I don’t have to work hard. I’m so out of shape I just need to do a little bit. I only need to do a little bit often to make a difference. Then I can do a little bit more. That’s how it works. That’s where we all start. I don’t know where I picked up this shame from having to start from scratch, but I gotta let that shit go. Momma don’t have time for that.
So today, I personalized a spreadsheet that I found online to track the things that are important to me to follow – getting my veggies, my supplements, AND getting in my exercise. I’m starting big (frequency) and small (time) – 2 runs, 3 bodyweight workouts a week. 15 minutes. No less than that; if I want, I can do extra, but it needs to be 15 minutes beyond the walking and moving I do in day to day living.
15 minutes of intentional self-care.
15 minutes to rebirthing that fit, strong woman inside
15 minutes to awaken muscle memory
15 minutes of YES.