2 ideas for some seriously needed self-care (that you don't have to do by yourself)
Yes, I still laugh when I hear "self-care"... but stay with me, okay?
Self-care isn't JUST about face masks and vision boards and staring in a mirror for 10 minutes everyday telling yourself you're hot af. Though if those things are part of your routine: props, w/e, do you, I'm glad you make the time <3 <3 <3
But it's also about making sure that you feel love for yourself after treating your body right; taking time out of your days to uplift your spirit with something positive and refreshing. In my grief, I've realized that I do A LOT of stuff to keep busy, distracted, and going going going. What that means? That sometimes I don't take moments to shut down and chill the f out until it's too late.
We don't even have to call it self-care, if you're still eye-rolling. We can just calling it caring for ourselves. Something that should be deliberately planned to help us take care of us and in turn others around us. Ideally, this doesn't fall into the things you do because of habit, necessity, or routine. Currently, I don't take showers as self care, or spend time alone as self care, or eat lunch as self-care.
I've realized that for me this form of deliberate action to #treatmahself can:
a.) Decrease my stress: like not checking emails after a certain time at night; cooking certain kinds of meals at least once a week to try something new; going to ALL the doctors I can find to get more support while I navigate grief.
b.) Mean that I can be a good human when I spend time with others: like getting enough sleep so that I wake up on the right foot; taking scheduled time for myself during really busy weeks so that I'm not back-to-back in meetings and XXXhausted.
c.) Is best when totally out of the ordinary: It can be really hard to do the same thing over and over Monday to Friday, but it can also be convenient and "nice" to get into a daze... which ain't good. So I do my best to accept any invitation from my boyfriend, friends, or family to do things that don't fit into my bed-desk-couch-gym-dinner-table-bed routine.
If you want to implement some self-care for yourself, or if you want to help a friend by holding their hand through it, here are some examples of ways I'm working on. Both alone and with my peeps. All to honour the hard stuff that we deal with in grief, our strugglin' bodies, our busy but precious minds, and the soul.
1. Exercise together
When my mom died, the last thing on my mind was f'ing treadmills. I wanted to sit on the couch, cry, drink, and watch TV. So I did that. But once my boyfriend and I started exercising (months later, it took some time) I realized how much it helped to have not only a distraction from my busy mind (which I made busier and busier as time went on after my mom died), but also to have an accomplishment on the board.
So consider planning something with your friend. That might be a night where you go over to their gym, but do something different from the 20 minutes they already had planned on the stairmaster. Note: I'm not necessarily talking a 5 hour hike straight up the side of a mountain (that shit sounds rough even when someone's at their peak). Just offer an idea for something as easy as a walk with your running shoes on, so that you can go as far as you like.
Pro tip: Exercising can bring up A LOT of stuff that your friend might have been pushing down (as I learned the hard way... when I started sobbing running up a hill in a public park). Make sure that whatever you're doing, you allow them to let out whatever they need to. This could mean crying, screaming, going harder than you've ever seen them go, then possibly even just laying down on the grass and straight up taking a nap. Bring water and snacks. And just be ready to hold their hair when they stress barf up the beer and Coco Puffs they've been eating for three days straight.
2. Have a sleepover
A few months ago I took a trip down to LA where my besties from around the country all got together and stayed in the same house for a few amazing days. Our lovely hostess lost her dad a short while before my mom died, and it was the first time I'd seen everyone in moooonths / a year. We talked, walked, slothed (a thing?), bought tarot cards, and BBQ'd drunk. Most importantly, we took the time to support each other face-to-face.
If you have a sleepover, you and your friend don't need to do anything nuts, except spend some quality time together that's booked for a reason, intentionally. Try to spend the kind of time together that doesn't involve running an errand, being on your way to or from work, or hanging between the million other obligations that we all have. Have a sleepover that involves watching whatever you want, talking about whatever you want, going out for a giant KBBQ dinner, then ordering a pizza later if you damn well please. Yes, the other stuff can be totally helpful (just showing up for the day-to-day stuff), but I'm talkin' about something different here.
Pro tip: TBH, my best advice is to regress. Become the teens you were when sleepovers were still new and exciting... but relish in the fact that you're now old enough to get sloshed on wine and watch R rated movies with the sound on.