There are many differing views these days on this matter of Self Care. What does it mean to each of us and why do it, because…haven’t we been taught to not be self centered. To not be over indulgent. To not be self*ish*, as it were. Indeed. But, as most of us have learned as time worn adults, this is not what Self Care is all about.
Recently, I happened on a post here chiding the typical opinion of Self Care. A tad on the scathing side, it began, “people think self care is about bubble baths and chocolate and other stupid shit like that, and it’s not…” Okay. Now, admittedly, I didn’t like the cheap unbending tone invalidating these particular things as credible soothers, so I backed out. But it got me to thinking about just how subjective Self Care really is. How individual these needs are. And just how unique they are to all of us. Like a fingerprint of sorts.
Maybe, at the heart of it, I backed out of that post because, to me, simplicities like baths and comfort foods are at the very root of how I have learned best caring for myself. But being just a root doesn’t make them any less valid. We resort to comforts whenever we’re able and, barring those less available to us, these ‘typical’ self soothers are crucial. Even though they are an easy go-to, our reasons for needing them are just as unique as we are. That alone may be why they so easily soothe us at times.
I look forward to things as comfort. I look forward to time alone to clean, I look forward to a movie download in bed, a long car ride to think, new notebooks, ‘campouts’ with my daughter, baking with her, vacation, running and all the talking you could imagine. All things that involve time. Having uninterrupted time with no obligations. Time I rarely ever get. In my life structure this is what’s most valuable to me. And it’s what gives me the mental break I need. Time is my true soother. That is where my joys are, in that time. But these things and that time aren’t always available. This is when I find myself reverting to other comforts…And going to the mall.
I’ve often spoken here about my love for Lush bath goodies and…my candles. And recently, thanks to my daughter’s teacher, I’ve discovered the essential oil diffuser. Which I don’t use to ‘get well’ exactly, but if I can make my house smell like a peppermint factory or a eucalyptus patch, or however the hell eucalyptus grows, I will do that! There is nothing so comforting or soothing to me as a warm welcoming feeling in my home when it’s clean, lit to best boost my mood and smellin’ like the woods, cinnamon or, my favorite, peppercorn 😍 I am an allergist’s nightmare. To enjoy uninterrupted time in my home with the right conditions. That is my ultimate joy and my own version of Self Care. It all goes to my senses.
It may be the lack of one of my senses that heightens others, but for most of my life I’ve been scent sensitive. I will remember words, place, people, weather, time of day, mood, details of events, and in some cases even what I was wearing on a given day based on scent alone. It becomes attached to me because I’ve learned to tune into it. To rely on it. And the quickest comforts that I can always find are scent related. Which brings me to where I’ve been going with this. I’ll make it quick.
When I was little, my hard edged, tough as nails grandmother did things the same every. Single. Day. Like a machine. If you stepped out of bed she opened the shades and made up the bed. You were done sleeping now. You stayed outside all day and ate the same food at the same times as the day before. Energy and water were conserved. Lights and televisions got shut off if you weren’t in the room. And she would wait outside the door for the five minute shower we were allowed so we all didn’t waste water. But, in that same vein, she also did something else for me. At the end of every day she filled the sink. Once for all of us. And with a bar of white Dove soap, she’d stand behind me and wash my hands in the sink. This woman who hated all animals equally, drank like a fish in her younger years, and had paddled her sons when they were growing up provided such an act of tenderness for me to end my day. It was personal time and care I could count on like everything else in her house. No matter how busy she was. Then she’d set the soap aside and towel dry my hands for me. And I’d head to bed smelling like Dove.
Still, with all the choices I provide myself these days and everything available to me, when I most want comfort and to care for myself, I go back to that Dove White. It’s uncomplicated. It’s always around. And it always helps. Sometimes Self Care actually is as simple as baths, and a reliable schedule. Finding that time I’m always after. And there’s always time for memories and comfort smells.
Have a great weekend, Friends!