In Case of Emergency…

Plans are great and all, but…life happens. I realize I neglected to include an emergency plan. You know, for those days when I would bury myself in a trough of ice cream, or simply climb in bed as soon as I get home from work. So here goes:

Emergency

File:Gerber Daisies (229292933).jpgBuy myself flowers. Gerber Daisies are pretty awesome. They are bright, happy little flowers that give me a pop of energy when I see them. Having a rough day? I’ll just get myself a small bouquet of flowers.

 

Bubble Bath. Because bubble bath. Epsom Salt will do as well.

Mani/Pedi. Because having pretty toes makes me happy. Having someone else make them pretty makes me even happier.

Coloring. Yep. Coloring.

Pet Therapy. In the form of puppy snoozles.

Image result for massageMassage. Bank account balance depending. Groupon is a things though.

 

I hope some of these strategies – in addition to other maintenance strategies will help me continue with self-care rather than self-sabotage.

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So…What’s the Plan?

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In order to take care of other people, I need to take better care of myself. Since my theme for 2018 is Self Care, I have made a plan of strategies I can use to help with that. I have not included ALL of the strategies I thought of, but these will get me started.

 

Physical

I would be lying if I said I didn’t need to lose weight. I do. Quite a bit. I am not pleased with my body composition at this point. That said, I intend to approach the physical self care in a way that focuses on making my machine a strong & healthy one, rather than the number on the scale.

I intend to return to a way of eating that re-balances the amount of carbohydrates in my diet. I know that I usually turn to pastas, breads, and sweets when I am stressed and that adds up very quickly. I will attempt to eat whole foods whenever possible. The rule of thumb: If it has a commercial, don’t eat it. Actually, any of Michael Pollans’s rules about food are pretty good to follow. The struggle will be times close to school performances. It will be incredibly easy to simply go to a drive-thru on my way home, but not the healthiest choice. For this reason, I plan to use Sundays as meal-prep day for all my meals during the week. If I cook it, I know what’s in it. If I cook it ahead of time, I’m not tempted to eat crap because I’m too tired to cook. I plan to drink more water. I plan to cut my diet soda habit by switching to tea.

I also intend to increase my physical activity.  In my previous life, I basically got paid to workout 5/6 days a week. In my new life, I don’t have that opportunity. Plus, as I edge closer to 40 and have had a thyroidectomy, my metabolism just isn’t what it used to be. I need to get up off my duff and move. I plan to schedule workouts, starting with 3 times a week. That adds up to – basically – 12 workouts a month. I know, I know. It should be more, but, like I said, it’s a good place to start.

Emotional/Spiritual/Psychological

I’m putting these three together, because a few of the strategies overlap.

I plan to incorporate meditation/relaxation into my routine. As I go along, I might throw some yoga in there. I plan to document positive things about myself – things I accomplished that day, positive things people have said about me, etc. I intend to find a non-work-related hobby – which, I’ll admit, is hard, because my professional life stemmed from my high school extra-curricular life. Hobbies are hard. The whole thing my generation is doing where we work jobs that are fulfilling, rather than just a paycheck, makes hobbies that don’t seem trite and cliche hard for me. It’s on my list though.

Work/Professional

This is a hard one. This is where my focus is. Work. My students. They’re my kids. Thankfully, I’ve already gotten a head start on this one. I’m not trying to get into a debate here, but it’s pretty clear that MOST teachers work well beyond their contractual hours. Being a performing arts teacher tends to require even more time outside of the school day. I have already begun the practice of trying to leave work…at work. It’s a bit a of struggle, trying to make sure I’ve planned well enough to do just that, but I’ve made considerable progress since the start of the school year.

I plan to establish and maintain strict boundaries with my co-workers and my students. I plan to start by cutting off work communications at 7pm. I hope that shifts to even earlier, but it is starting point. I plan to check in with other teachers in the building on a regular basis. Thankfully, we have established a pretty good support system. I’m lucky. Not all teachers have that. I plan to read articles and attend professional development sessions that I feel will help me to work smarter and not harder.

Relationships

I plan to dedicate time to my relationships, and that time is sacrosanct. Period. That includes time to cultivate my relationship with myself.

I will not devote time to relationships that do not contribute to my well-being.

Financial

Ok, so I added this one. It can’t hurt. I’ve found that I’ve gotten a bit loosey-goosey with my spending and need to take steps to get it in check. Some of the strategies in other categories, like at-home meal prep, will help. I’m also currently looking for a good budgeting app that I WILL USE.

Bottom Line

I intend to. Will I always be successful? Probably not, but at least I have a plan. Plans can always be revised.

Happy New Year!

2018 Theme: Self Care

2017 was tough. No one needs to hear from the likes of me about what made it tough; a quick Google search will give plenty of examples. Those challenges, and other more personal ones, have taken a toll on me. In caring for so many others, I have shown myself plenty of neglect.  That is not sustainable – in work, in my relationships, or with my health. For this reason, I have decided to focus on Self Care throughout 2018. I hope to instill a few habits in myself that take my own well-being into account, so that I am better able to commit to assisting others.

Today I took an online “Self Care Assessment”  that assessment broke self care into several categories: Professional, Physical, Psychological, Spiritual, Emotional, Relationships, and Overall Balance. I scored what amounts to a 48%. I HAVE AN “F” IN SELF CARE. This is not OK. I took the results of that assessment and made a Self Care Plan – what strategies will I use to take better care of myself in the aforementioned categories?

One strategy is to journal and I intend to use this site to help with that. I intend to utilize prompts to help this be more purposeful and reflective, rather than the brain dumps of the past. Other strategies include mediation/relaxation practice, setting and maintaining work boundaries, and improved diet and exercise.

None of the strategies I plan are particularly difficult. The challenge will be to put myself and well-being ahead of others and DO THEM. Not every strategy will work for me, and I will discover what those are as I reflect. It will be unrealistic to think I can implement all of them all at once either. I will have to remind myself to simply do what I can do.