Lost Hikers Trading Post
A Self-Care Personal Narrative
My journey into the education of self-care is a wild one. It started with caring for others. I was working as an elderly adult in-home care provider before I was an advocate for special needs adults. I learned so much about myself from the inherent wisdom of each of my clients. Most of all, prioritizing time and routine serves the whole health of me.
My time at the Oregon School of Massage also majorly contributed to my knowledge in self-care. This program provided an education of health and wellness, from learning professional massage therapy and the business of being in charge of your own scheduling, to understanding one’s own posture to avoid taking on someone else’s stress pains. Starting and ending class with mindful breathing, and yoga and meditation, was a wonderful routine that has become part of my daily routine.
Routine is so important to my mental health. I once read to make your bed every day, so I started making it every day for a week, and it’s now been 12 years of crawling into a soft, well-made bed that is a joy my “morning self” treats my future “evening self” to.
Be considerate to yourself, you’re only human. Be your own biggest fan; your inner monologue is so important. When you look at yourself in the mirror and hear criticisms or tear-down remarks, I can guarantee it’s in someone else’s voice, and you shouldn’t let it talk to you like that. Be your own biggest fan.
Make sure to treat yourself! Book that spa day you’re hoping to get for Valentine’s Day. Investing in yourself is always worth it, and preventative self-care is so important. Go get a pedicure for foot health, facials for skin health, and massages for all the health benefits (circulation, flexibility, muscle recovery, stress relief, reducing pain – if you need an excuse they are valid).
Eat that yummy food, and enjoy the music. Smell and sip that tasty drink.
Make physical education a priority. Take a yoga or weight training class, join a softball team, or try golf. When you have physical accountability, your body will thank you. I can’t believe how good I feel at week five in winter term taking both yoga (online), and strength and weight training (in person). Remember, our minds and body are connected.
Create. I love my hobbies, especially when I master them and it takes years of practice. Perhaps you’re a little more ADHD, and lots of hobbies that you never master is more your style – that’s great, too!
Gardening is a literally fruitful pastime. You get to play in the dirt, trim plants, grow your own herbs and supplies for salads, your own pumpkins for Halloween, your own bouquets of flowers. I grow so much that I put the extras on a table for neighbors and passersby and receive trades and donations in kind. This shows me without expectation that the community will always come together for homegrown food. I also place my extra crafts on my table, which I have named “Lost Hikers Trading Post.” I make candles from glass yogurt jars, herb-infused olive oil, elderberry syrup, and natural bug repellant. My favorite part is receiving notes from patrons as a thank you.
Remember to talk about it. Let it all out. The best step I have chosen in recent months was to go to my doctor and let her know how much anxiety I feel. She listened to me and referred me to a wonderful therapist, who has prescribed me daily medicine, which has helped in the way it is supposed to. I hate pills; I’ve been prescribed too many that haven’t worked in the past, but finding the one that does work feels worth all the past efforts made.
I know it’s still a social hang-up to chat about mental health but we all need it, especially because of the added stress and traumas the worldwide pandemic has brought on the last two years. As a friend I will always take time to sit with my friends and help them make a plan for help, so becoming my own best friend to do the same thing was revolutionary.
I’m still going to have bad days where I don’t want to get out of bed or want to take shortcuts on my whole health, but I forgive myself for that. I am not perfect but I am perfectly me.
My thank you to myself for working hard at everything I put my heart into is delicious gummy vitamins, hot bubble baths with extra bath bombs, and playing with makeup like it’s an art form. My external appearance is important to me, and if it’s not to you, that’s cool, too!
Give yourself that grace, you can rock whatever you’re into.