What Self-care is NOT..

It is not pampering…

It is not what everyone else says it is…

It is not following a script…

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 1.58.44 PMIt took me a VERY long time to learn this. When I completely fell apart my psychologists would try and help me to regroup and find some safe space. But I had never know safety and so even in my head, there was no “happy place”, there was no “go-to” thing that I could do to unwind and slow down and work on anything constructive. I lived in fear and anxiety about life, people, my health and so many other things.

After weeks and weeks of questions and my completely stumped non answers, I think that eventually he believed me that I actually had no idea what self care was, and especially not for me. After numerous suggestions of joining another book club, going to a Spa, or a whole list of what “other” people think pampering was, I was become more instead of less anxious about what on earth I was supposed to do to self care.

And so instead of just going to happy places and trying out formulas, we had to start basic; … super basic. We started off by creating a safe corner in the spare room. I told my husband that it was going to be my safe space, and made sure that the blankets that I liked best were on the bed, there was a phone charger and extension to the home phone. A handful of odds and ends that I had gathered over the years that I really liked and were more about “me” rather than “us” were placed on the shelves, and anything that didn’t fit the bill was moved out.

It wasn’t an overnight process, it took weeks and even months, but we moved the bed so that the sunlight came in if it was a sunny afternoon, and I placed my baskets of knitting and books that I was reading around the room. I had no idea what to do with it, or where we were gong with this. It is was a process, …but just creating a safe space was good for me in ways that I couldn’t yet articulate or even work out, and a couple of times I actually used it out of choice rather than because I knew it was good for me. It was the beginning…

The other day I wrote on some of the major early blockages to self caring for survivors of traumatic childhoods, and as I slowly learnt over many years what I do need to self care, I first found myself coming to the conclusion that there are many things that self care is not. I’ll expand on each of those point next week.

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