I feel like I neglect caring for myself…like, all of the time.
It was almost second nature in college, because I was busy all the time and broke all the time. Between a full course load and working 30 hours a week, who had time to stop and smell the roses? Not I.
But since I’ve graduated, life has slowed down considerably. In fact, it’s almost slowed down too much. I haven’t worked a real, paying job for over a year. I take one class twice a week, take an online class, and I volunteer at a psychology lab one other day of the week. I fill the time between with household chores and research, but I never feel like I do enough.
I know I’m my own worst critic, but I feel like I do so little that I hardly deserve to indulge in self care. How can I justify a massage when I woke up at 10am on a Friday? Why should I allow myself to go enjoy a yoga class when I make absolutely no money for my family.
How can I justify it? Because I actually do need it. I don’t just want it, but I have to do it for the sake of my mental health. We’re going to have a moment of real talk here. I’m tired. I’m tired of living in a state with no mountains. I’m done with my husband being gone. I find lately that my mental reserves are more exhausted when I read yet another journal article on sexual harassment or some other form of degrading women that society has come up with. I’m sick of being so far from friends and family. I dislike being in a military community. I’m done with this goddamn war.
I keep telling myself that things will be better in a month. The weather will be better. My husband will be back. The tempo of my classes and labs will pick up.
But I know, even if I don’t want to admit it, that nothing will be “better” until I start taking care of myself. I need to eat right and exercise, but not because I need to get slim. No, I need to do this so I can have energy throughout the day. I need to set aside a time for knitting each night, but not because I need to finish my project. I need to do this because I enjoy knitting and it allows me to slow my mind down and focus on one beautiful thing. I need to do yoga, but not because I need increased flexibility – I need yoga because it relaxes me and connects me with some wonderful human beings.
There are many things I have do to in my day-to-day life, but this month I have to focus inward – not on self-improvment, but on nourishing my soul and ensuring that my very essence remains whole and vibrant and cared for.
I need to respect myself. I need to love myself.