Day 9 – Self Care – It has been said that you must learn to take care of yourself before you can be effective at taking care of others. How did you take care of yourself in 2014? How will you take care of yourself in 2015?
Self care before care of others is a way of life that has changed my relationships for the better. I have a daily budget of allowable interaction before I go into shock and shut down. When you start to analyze your personality and come to these honest truths about yourself, and accept the fact that they are involuntary and you really have no way to change it, then self care can begin.
So, once I figured out this really important feature of my personality, I was able to conserve my personal energy for times that I really needed it. Like, when I get home from work and G wants to hear about my day. She knows within 10 seconds whether I’ve been overwhelmed with interacting all day based on my description. Fine means it’s been way way too much. If I yammer on through dinner I had a quiet day at my desk (or in my home office, praise!) without anyone bugging me.
Self care for me means that I try not to overbook my social calendar. No more than one social event per day – preferably a weekend day where I’ve had the rest of the day entirely to myself – double booking is a recipe for zone out. I actually feel bad for the set of friends we encounter last on a twofer. My preference actually is to have only one major social event per weekend! But seriously, I would see my friends only once per quarter on that rotational basis, so something’s got to give.
Self care for me means that I don’t engage in unnecessary small talk. I’m not rude. But I’m not one of those people at work that will allow the office chatty cathy to trap me into a one hour conversation about her friend’s cousin’s dog. I politely excuse myself and feel zero guilt in doing so.
Self care for me recently has also been the addition of some work from home days. So the chatty cathy doesn’t even get an opportunity. There is something so restorative to being productive, having interaction but at a distance and in limited quantity, and spending your lunch hour with your feet up on the couch watching TV or reading or napping.
The advent of texting has helped me a lot too, because I can communicate in a short hand abbreviated way at my own convenience without introducing phone talk. egad.
I also have the usual self-care techniques like working out regularly, getting massages, getting pedicures, snuggling with Levi, shopping at lululemon… 🙂
When I do all of these things for myself, there is a dramatic difference in the energy I can give to the people I love. I can really listen to their problems and give good advice or empathize. I can have deep discussions with them about important topics and laugh about trivial silly things. Extroverts take all this stuff for granted. But without my self care, my cherished family and friends get the worst of me and that isn’t fair when I get the best of them. 2015 will be more of the same. I’m increasing my budget for massages, though.