I woke up this morning at 5:15 am. Some of you may be thinking “if this post is about self-care this is not a good start”.
But as a morning person, this actually is one of the best things I do for myself. And it’s nothing I really “do” it’s more who I am – how my internal clock is just built into me.
I’m usually always awake by 5:30 am. In good weather I come downstairs and cuddle up in my Papasan Chair on the deck and read or take photos. It’s alone time.
But don’t get “alone time” confused with self care. It’s true there is sometimes about half an hour of self care in there – but the rest is this: my mind running non stop with the list of to dos and schedules for the day for all the people in my life (of which I am last on the list).
Today I had a busy day ahead of me – like most of us do ofcourse. It’s June – and in my house that bookends September with a ferociousness that spans the kids, their school, their activities, my work, Craig’s work, and nearly each and every aspect of our life. Time is a precious commodity at the best of times – but it’s a different beast in June and September.
It just is.
So the notion of self care kind of makes me laugh. Like out-loud laugh.
Especially the way our society “sells” the notion of self care. Our culture screams at us from every magazine cover and talk show and best selling book that self care is of utmost importance. But at the same time it is also saying “and THIS is what self care must look like”:
It’s adventures to find yourself – to places none of us can afford (unless you are the author of the book these adventures are written about and just sold 1 million copies).
It’s massages and pedicures and mountain top retreats.
It’s going to the funky little shop where you can “be seen” buying the “right” candles or oils which are over priced because they are the flavour of the month.
It’s running half marathons and making leisurely suppers from the organic vegetable you have tended to in your own vegetable garden that you take time to weed daily as you practice the simplicity of life.
And finally it’s taking the perfect picture of the perfect simplistic day with our lululemon yoga pants on while drinking our Starbucks Coffee.
(Please follow the instructions above in order to meet the expectations our culture has around self care.)
Isn’t there enough expectations out there in the world we are bombarded with every day?
Ok ok. I get it.
Taking care of yourself is good.
I believe in it.
But my self care doesn’t come close to these visions that are planted in our society.
My self care mostly looks mostly like this:
Phone a friend at 7:30 am – the worst possible time when both sets of our kids are getting ready for school and we are getting ready for work. But need to connect if only for a few minutes. Talk about “nothing really” but “everything real” … time allotted – 4 minutes.
At lunch grab a friend or go for a walk on my own. No jogging, no taking pics and posting them. Just walking. Pretty much the same place every time. 20 minutes. Race back to work.
In the mornings give my husband a peck on the cheek before we leave for work – try to spend the rest of the day trying to remember which Province he is working in that day, and if he can help out with “kid pick ups” later that evening.
And then there are times when my self care takes a deceitful but hilarious turn like this morning. This morning as I got up, came downstairs to the quiet kitchen and saw that there was only one bagel left – in a household of 4 people.
It was 5:30 am. I wasn’t hungry for the bagel yet. Everyone was asleep. But I knew in two hours I would be. And I also knew that by then that round beautiful bagel would be gobbled up by someone in my loving little family.
So this morning my self care looked something like this: I went over to my kitchen Island, I picked up that last bagel, and I deftly hid it from my children and husband so I could defiantly enjoy having it later in the day.
Yup. I hid the bagel. What am I? Four years old?
But really, that’s it. Self care a la Karrie-Ann. Not fancy. Not trendy. Not expensive. Sometimes deceitful.
Whatever works I say!
I guess my point is this: Don’t get caught up in what you think self care is supposed to look like.
Find the moments. Even if they are fleeting and imperfect and nothing you would ever take a photograph of. Even if they are things you may be embarrassed about!
Self care isn’t about what others are doing. We do enough comparing don’t we?
It’s about what you are doing – in a way that works for you – when you can do it.
And yes – maybe sometimes it is the perfect mornings on my verandah taking sunrise photos that I post on Facebook as I get ready to read that self help book I’ve been waiting to dive into.
That’s not wrong. I did that just a few weeks ago.
But it’s also really important to acknowledge that sometimes … sometimes … it’s simply hiding the last bagel.
And that’s ok too.