And back to self-care…back in February when we challenged you to self-care bingo over the month of March and asked for shares, we didn’t necessarily expect that we’d be flooded with entries. However, it’d be a lie if I didn’t say did expect some… instead we got crickets.
And that was disappointing. I’m not sure if this is because we are asking too much and offering too little; if it’s because self-care is personal and it feel weird to toot your own horn about taking care of yourself, or if we don’t have enough ideas on ways to try self-care–should we have started with something more basic like brushing your teeth and getting 7 hours of sleep? (Maybe you’d be willing to send us a note about how you’d like to be better engaged? Info@sel4ct.org In the mean time, we’re still going to keep at this newsletter and practice persistence and perseverance skills.) So, while no one ever stepped forward to claim the two $25 gift cards, we did want to share what has been going on with self-care at “home.”
I recognize self-care has become a bit of a challenge in a few ways over the past year or so for a variety of reasons, but in reaching out to my co-workers at The CT After School Network, which powers SEL4CT, there were fantastic replies as to what self-care looks like. Here are the ideas folks shared. I hope you find their ideas inspiring and helpful.
Reminiscing from when I was young, kites have always amazed me. The way they glide on the wind, swaying with the breeze. The past few weeks have brought some great kite flying weather. One windy afternoon, we brought the kite (which is about 13 or 14 years old) to the field. We had recently bought a new back brace for it and were eager to try it out. Letting it out in the wind and watching it soar was a peaceful, mindless addition to my day. I recommend kite flying the next time you feel stressed on a windy day.
Gardening and baking are quite similar in my opinion. I take ingredients whether they are flour and sugar or soil and seeds, and with my own two hands create a beautiful or delicious finished product. I find when I am outside in the garden with my hands pulling up weeds, the sun shining down, and the sounds and smells of outside that I am able to let go of everything on my mind and concentrate on the task at hand. It turns into a mindful and meditative state for me. My body is tired at the end of a gardening session, but it’s a good tired that is truly healing for me. Baking is the same way. Measuring and sifting, stirring and mixing gets me out of my head and engrossed in the task at hand. And the house smells so good, and I’ve created something yummy that everyone is able to enjoy.
Reading, well reading really does so much for my mental health. I am always reading a book. It expands my world. It expands my mind. It gives me perspective and has taught me how to be more empathetic. The places I have been and the characters I have known and loved remind me that I am a small, but integral part of the larger story of us all.
And finally music. I have (from birth I’ve been told) been singing or humming a tune. At a young age my piano teacher would get very mad at me because I would stray from the assigned song and start playing my own tune. I loved to sing in church and eventually sang in the school choruses available to me. Today I sing in a community chorus. There is something that is indescribable that happens when a number of voices join together to make a beautiful sound. The energy shifts and both the singer and listener’s spirits are lifted, During the pandemic, I have deeply missed this aspect of singing. Singing over Zoom just doesn’t do it. But brighter days are ahead.
I try to take walks and hikes, write in my journal, meditate and just be outside as much as I can weather permitting. Looking through my telescope up at the moon is the most relaxing thing I can do. Most of these never require money if that is an issue. I also take the time to get my nails and hair done just to get some time in for myself away from others and get pampered. A message is also something I take time to get done every few months. There is never anything wrong with that.
I love playing video games with my daughter, it gives me some us time and I don’t take her away from what she likes to do. All the above give me time for myself, make me enjoy what I love (nature) and sometimes just takes me away from the day to day stress of being a working mom and head of household. It gets me to be present in the moment and not worry about the to do lists.