I spent New Year’s Eve playing a Sherlock Holmes game, where my parents and I looked for a conspiracy at every turn. I also spent some time thinking about resolutions, about what I wanted to accomplish this year. It is an odd time to consider goals, to plan, to consider how to step away, when events in the world, and in the U.S., without stop.
Yet, I am attempting to carry on and, in some ways, have tried position it in my brain as a way to rebel. There is a lot I cannot do so I do what I can. I wear a mask, I try to avoid populated gatherings, I vote, I donate money. I also write. I plot and research for my next book. I’ve started journaling, and a quilt, and planning my next trip.
Self-care has been a buzz word, I have no proof, but I’m guessing its popularity tracked right after the time burnout became a part of mainstream conversations. Like many things, self-care has often been positioned as a way to increase purchasing. Self-care as in new bubble bath, wine, sneakers. Self-care as code for eating healthy as code for losing the weight. Self-care as a new skincare product because we all deserve it. Maybe that’s my experience based on the ad algorithms and a sign I spend too much time scrolling through social media.
At its heart though, self-care does suggest the need to check-in. Check on those standing calendar appointments, check on those spiraling thoughts, the people and support systems in your life. What’s working? What’s not? What’s missing? What’s too much? This self-reflection is new to me, and while I’ve done it previously it’s normally in reaction to event, to when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or when I’ve already through it and realize wow, I was not doing good for a while there.
When I had migraines on a more regular basis, my doctor told me to keep a journal. I was supposed to record when the migraine hit, symptoms (aura, nausea, pain scale), along with triggers I could identify. There is something about being purposeful about my emotional state in much the same way that has gone a long way to helping me. Getting stressed or annoyed? Take a deep breath. Write it out on a piece of paper. See what I can change and then put in the steps to do it.
If there is anything 2020 has taught me, it is the need to be purposeful with myself and finding out what I actually want to spend time and focusing on and what I don’t.