Monthly Archives: November 2010

Practicing Self-Care

Self-care sounds like something you’d read about in a glass popular psych book, but whether we acknowledge it or not, we all need it. You may think “Great, one more thing for me to do. Who has time for spinning classes or an hour of meditation every day?” I get it. I don’t have that kind of time either, but I’ve found that making time for myself is key to keeping my sanity so I don’t accidently explode and smash the nearest Tang Dynasty vase with a golf club.

What is self care?

Anything that rejuvenates you. Anything you really want to do, not something you feel you should do. I can’t stress that enough, but if you attach the word should to anything, you won’t want to do it.

So if you had thirty minutes all for you, how would you spend it? What would feel your frazzled soul?

Reading a book, magazine, or your favorite blog (ahem)?

Enjoying a quiet meal?

Sitting quietly and doing nothing?

Sometimes, women find a half hour that isn’t filled with to-do’s and they have no idea what to do with it. Make a list of possibilities and keep it around in case you get stuck.

Now here’s the hard part: Finding the time. Lunch break? The twenty minutes before the kids get home from school and rip through the house like a tornado? A half hour in the morning  before everyone wakes up?

If you can’t find the time, make it. Let the kitchen stay dirty for another half hour so you can go for a walk. Ask your significant other to hold down the fort for awhile so you can soak in the tub. Dump the kids at a friend’s house so you can go to lunch. Do what you need to do, but neglecting self-care is like neglecting to charge your phone. Before long, you’re either burned out or have a dead phone. Take care of yourself, keep your batteries charged.


A healthy passion

I’ll let you in on a secret of my dorkiness: When I have a question or a problem, I hop on my computer and analyze it, type whatever pops into my head and hope I get somewhere.

I’ve been known to obsess over food before, and lately I’ve been reading (and writing) a ton about food. What it does in the body, where it comes from, recipes, all kinds of things. I enjoy it. At least, I think I do. I wanted to find out if this is a healthy interest or if I’m back on the unhealthy obsession wagon. Here’s what I wrote:

What would I be doing if I weren’t studying food, recipes, nutrition, and food production? I’d probably be reading more novels, writing, maybe doing yoga or running more. Maybe I’d be playing Freecell, I don’t know. Watching more movies, practicing piano, spending more time with Sophie, learning something new, laying around doing nothing. I guess it doesn’t matter. I could be doing something practical or not.

Why do I study food? First of all, I find it fascinating. Food production in the context of history and sociology is incredible, and so is the way the human body processes nutrients. I love finding out where food really comes from, this necessity of life. No one can escape it and get out alive. So much is tied to food, not just calories and weight. Economics, relationships, tradition, human nature, history, sociology, science, the art of cooking, everything! It’s also a personal journey as I learn to nourish myself properly. I’m learning to listen to my body and to live in a way that helps the planet and other people. Food connects me to that. I feel like I’m onto something sometimes, but I’m not sure what it is. I just keep reading.

And yeah, I love the pleasure of food. The taste, smell, preparation, all the ritual. Finding the best foods is like a treasure hunt. A mystery. I love combing through grocery stores, the health food stores, farmer’s markets, and gardens for something special. Throwing things together to create something amazing, learning how foods work together. I love it all. I don’t think this is an unhealthy obsession like it used to be. I’d call it a passion, and hopefully it will lead me somewhere I’d want to be.

After writing this, I realized I’ve come a long way from hiding in my room with diet books and a  calculator. I think this is a interest I can trust.


Finding your happy place

“Find a happy place…find a happy place!” do these words cross your mind at the dentist’s office, during finals week, or while stuck in traffic? No? Maybe it’s just me then.

The point is that sometimes when life gets insane and we feel like jumping off the nearest bridge, a “happy place”, whether it’s an actual place or or somewhere in our minds, can bring us back to a place of balance. You can even have a variety of happy places if you want.

I found my happy place this week. It’s being curled up on a comfy couch in front of a sunny window, reading a good book with some cuddly animal asleep in my lap. Any couch, window, book or animal will do. This week it’s been the love seat in my studio apartment, looking out the window at the yellowing leaves on the quaking aspens in the yard with my cat Louka flopped over my lap.

Last sunday, my happy place was a couch in my friend’s basement snuggling with his Vizsla, Kai even though she was totally hogging the cushions.

Sometimes it’s my parents’ couch with Maya the Shih tzu, or the couch downstairs with my cousin’s kitten, Meeko. No matter what’s been going on the rest of the day, my happy place never fails.

What’s your happy place?