I am amused. I wrote the sketchy notes for this post a week and a half ago, and it’s been sitting in my drafts folder ever since. I think it dovetails nicely after the post that I put up yesterday about the Vein of Gold and my struggle with Artist Dates.
When we were on the plane back from Greece, I started thinking about my goals, and the things that I would like to accomplish in a given day. I thought about the “perfect” challenge. I made a huge honking checklist of the things that I think I should do on a daily and weekly basis.
Many of them – getting enough sleep at night, for example – are just good self-care. They might feed into larger goals (such as walking every day might lend itself toward my weight loss goals), but taken one at a time, each line item is reasonable, self-caring and logical. Taken en masse, however, that’s a 12-15 line item checklist that I’ve set myself up to try for every single day.
I knew from the perfect challenge that this was not possible. I learned that I would get disappointed and frustrated if I didn’t give myself wiggle room and room to have a lousy day. I was poring over this list, and trying to figure out a way to make it somehow sane, when Brett and I struck up a conversation.
“Beating yourself up to make you take care of yourself doesn’t sound very effective.”
I looked at the list. Every single thing on it was about taking care of myself.
Upon further examination, the need behind the list was one of self-care, one of prioritising my needs over the wants of people around me. It turns out that my list – while the wrong approach – was on to something.
As I mentioned yesterday, I have a really damned hard time taking time to do something I just want to do for fun. I have a hard time making time for myself, or budgeting for things that I just want instead of something I really badly need. I self-care in spurts, going through a week long jag of hair appointments and shopping for work clothes, and then I stop again.
What I need to build is a regular practice of being nice to myself, of caring for my body as if it were important to me, and of paying attention to the things that I need to be a happy, whole, healthy person. Instead of the checklist, I’m trying to pay attention to my inner dashboard. Need to keep the gas tank full and the service engine lights off. Might be a good idea to check the spedometer from time to time….
Turn off the radio, will you? I’m trying to listen to myself.