Self care for me looks completely different than I thought it would look

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I have been wanting to write for a while, but I just haven’t felt inspiration.  I tend to find more inspiration when I’m in the depths of depression or the throes of anxiety.  I don’t know what it is, but I imagine it’s the same way for people who are artists or song writers.

I decided yesterday that maybe I would write about how much I’m thankful for medication that makes me feel more like myself.  I get up each day (6:30) and have the motivation help get the kids ready for school, get them to do their chores (before the boys leave for school and Karis starts school), shower and get ready (all the way to makeup), have time with Jesus (while Karis does), do chores to keep the house clean and laundry caught up, do school with Karis, and even have time to do what I want to online all before it’s time to pick the boys up.  Then, I pick them up and do homework with them.  Every evening I make their lunches for the next day, make dinner, and sometimes (once or twice a week), I bake bread from scratch.  I also often bake muffins or breakfast cookies for breakfast at this time.  All of these things that I do daily are typed out on a chart and hanging on my bulletin board (along with Karis’ daily schedule).

Then, today happened.  I woke up at 9:00 (Robert wasn’t here… he camped last night).  I walked into chaos in my boys’ room.  The kids were hanging from the bunk bed; they had made a chain of hangers starting from the top bunk down to the bottom.  There were Legos, cars, books, pillows, blankets, everywhere.  It was a disaster.  All I could do was turn and walk away before I lost it.  Then, I waited and waited for Robert to get home while the kids made a disaster on my dining room table with play-dough and all that goes with it.

At that point, I still hadn’t done anything on my routine check-list.  I was just sitting on my computer working on a post on my homeschooling blog while the chaos was going on around me.  Instead of doing what I know to be helpful, I couldn’t get myself up and moving.  I just sat there.  The kids decided that they wanted to have a “camping out and watching movies day,” so once Robert got home, we did just that (it was, after all, their advent activity for the day, and since we have an early and full day tomorrow, we decided it would be okay to do during the day).  We got the sleeping bags out and let them “camp out” in their pajamas and watch movies.  This was really hard for me for multiple reasons; the main reasons being that it meant the living room would be a mess, they were staying in their pajamas (which meant I would probably stay in mine), and it was completely out of my routine.

I began feeling the anxiety build up.  I was becoming irritable.  I didn’t want anyone touching me or talking to me.  I didn’t feel as good as I have the past few months.  I started feeling the way I do when I’m super anxious and on the verge of depression.  I thought “here we go again.”

I decided at that point it was time to get back into my routine to an extent (as much as I could at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon with all my kids home).  I showered.  I dried my hair.  I cleaned up the living room (the kids decided they wanted to play outside!).

I started to feel so much better just by doing those things.

I realized many things about myself today.

For me, self care looks like a solid routine and schedule.  It means that I take a shower and get ready every day.  It means that I keep my house clean.  It means that I am intentional with my time.

It’s okay that when I’m out of my routine I feel like I’m spinning out of control.  That just means I need to stick to my routine as much as I possibly can.

It’s okay that I can’t just have a “lazy day at home” and feel good about it.

I used to think that I wanted to be “normal.”  To be able to have a day like everyone else and not have anxiety or emotional struggle.  But what is normal anyway?  Self care means something different for everyone, and it looks different for everyone.  I just need to be okay with the self care that works for me and stick with it.

Self care for some is staying up late and reading a good book.  Crocheting.  Sleeping in late.  Drinking lots of water and eating healthy.  Drinking a good cup of coffee.  Taking a walk.  Spending time with friends or family.  Running.  Lifting weights.  Sewing.  Writing.  Organizing.  Cleaning.  The types of self care could go on and on as many times as there are people in the world.

We are all made different for a reason and a purpose.  My self care just happens to look different than what I envisioned as “normal” for the rest of the world, and I’m okay with that.

What does self care look like for you?

5 thoughts on “Self care for me looks completely different than I thought it would look

  1. I totally relate to the anxiety build up and how it can lead I to experiencing depression. Self care definitely is different for all of us, and coming to a comfortable and most importantly, an honest place about what that looks like is essential. For me it’s always a moving target. The routines are very helpful for me and the ability to accept when they’re disrupted is sometimes hard, but generally easier for me today than ever before.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and honest post!

    • Yes, learning to accept when they’re interrupted is hard, and I’m learning to accept it. Because that’s part of life, isn’t it? But it’s also good to know that routine in and of itself can be a way to take care of myself! It’s crazy to think of that as self care.

  2. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. I’ve had one of those ‘no idea what I am doing’ kind of days today and it’s so easy for me to forget that I even have a routine – I can get so lost in the moment of what I am thinking and feeling and this can last for hours. Sometimes days. To manage it I do tend to have a routine but lately I have started to realise that the ‘formulas’ I have been attempting to mould myself to are just not quite right. Your words really resonated with me today. Thanks!

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