I remain convinced that heart of “self-care” is not pampering, per se, or spending lots of money — but giving yourself permission to listen to yourself about what will actually feel like rest and respite.
Not what other people tell you rest should look like. Actual rest, which is to say, your rest, which might not be recognizable as such to others. My partner got a massive deli-made sandwich for the first time in months and I watched it turn his entire week around.
Sometimes you just need to not do everything yourself, and sometimes you need to finally figure out what that smell is in the fridge, and sometimes you need to just delete those emails in your inbox of shame that have been haunting you for months.
I feel this. I feel this so thoroughly. My pandemic has looked like a blur. I have worked long hours every single day since March. I’ve learned Zoom. Not just how it works but how its APIs work, the changes that are going to affect the business. How to improve our interactions with it. I’ve even been reporting issues to the developers I’ve found. I’ve been neck deep in Zoom.
But that’s not all.
I’ve been doing the same thing for Webex. Compared to Zoom, it’s a lumbering beast with years of cruft and undocumented bits. Most I’ve learned by process of elimination and asking the right questions of the right support techs.
My wife and I have started getting all of our dinners through Mighty Meals. It’s a fresh delivered food service in the DC area. Instead of making the meals, all I have to do is decice what I want to eat and warm it up. The menu is vast and my only complaint is some side dishes aren’t seasoned well enough. They cook fish to perfection. They have a way with beef and brussel sprouts that’s unmatched. Their beyond meats and vegan options are superb. They make a peruvian chicken wing that will leave you wanting more. They have 100+ menu items so while we’re found our favorites, we try new things each week. If you’re interested in trying it out, use my code REFWYTV2ZY9F4 and get $20 off your first order!
Deciding what I want for dinner quickly became a game I grew exhausted of playing. So we gave up and paid to let someone else sort it out for us. I struggle enough with breakfast and when I can find time to take a lunch break. Food is an ongoing challenge. At least it’s one that’s fairly easy to solve.
I am exhausted.
Thoroughly and entirely spent.
I work in the office on a rotation with the rest of our company and every time I have to leave the house it’s a mental threat assessment. Do I stop for gas here? Do I walk into this store? Do those people look like they’ve been being safe outside of this moment? Can I pass by this group in the grocery store?
I’m thankful to live in a county that’s mandated masks in every store, office and building since March. I’m happy we are moving back to a more restrictive limit on dining inside. I see the numbers rising again and it terrifies me. Everyday is exhausting and I forget about why.
It’s not just work. Though work is exhausting on its own.
It’s the constant threat assessment. It’s deciding which family members I can see. And how comfortable I am with it. It’s trying to explain to people, nicely, they don’t meet the same threshold for safety as I do.
It’s already fighting my intense introversion and hermit tendencies. I don’t leave the house for days at a time and barely notice.
My self-care is:
- Reading a good book on my patio
- Watching the birds (especially those woodpeckers)
- Looking at the family of deer that’s taken up resident in my suburban neighborhood.
- Listening to music from my teens
- Playing Destiny 2
- Laying in bed and holding my wife
- Writing with a pilot fountain pen on paper
Everyone has different self-care. Mine won’t look like yours. And that’s ok. We all need to do what makes us happy. What allows us to get through the days. Whether your days scream by or inch by with glacial slowness, we are all struggling. That can be hard to remember. But it’s always there. Sitting in the back of your mind.