5 Self Care Steps You Should Take Right Now

Happy Sunday, Fab Feminists!

I wanted to share something that I've been practicing when I feel like my life is running me and not the other way around: treating the five senses. I've found that if I take a couple minutes to focus on the needs of each of my senses, it takes me out of my stress-bubble and allows me  to ground myself quickly and effectively. Do one activity for each sense in whatever order you feel like! Combine them into one activity if you want, but make sure to spend equal time engaging each sensation.


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Eau, My! A Perfect Day at the Eau Spa.

The Eau Resort and Spa has been on my bucket list for ages and this month, I finally treated myself to a day of indulgence. My workload is pretty seasonal, so after flying by the seat of my pants for the past six months, I was ready to take a day off and lounge around. Plus, now that summer's arrived and the snowbirds are gone, I can take advantage of some of the perks (read: killer discounts) that come with being a WPB local. 

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Spend Some Time with Yourself

It may be that I just finished a mini-marathon of Sex and the City, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I've had three whole days to myself. If you're in a long-term, live-in relationship like I am, it's pretty easy to lose perspective of who your independent self is after a few years. A night or a weekend on your own is a great refresher--I forgot how much I liked spending time with myself! Today was the first day that I had all to myself, start to finish. Oh, man, was it fun. I talked to my other half in the morning, bathed for the first time that day, bought a couple books on Audible (they're having a killer $4.95 sale right now, don't miss out), WALKED to the West Palm Beach Saturday Morning Market, talked to strangers, bathed for a second time, purged some of my costume jewelry, went on a me-date to Whole Foods (Whole Farts as my bae calls it) for dinner, started my mini Sex and the City marathon, stood on my patio soaking in the cool night air, and finally crawled into bed.

I haven't done the dishes all weekend. I shaved my armpits for the first time in five days today. I littered the apartment with dirty laundry, I'm all out of fresh underwear, and I don't give a damn. It felt good to be a foul bachelorette frog for a couple days. I got to hog the whole bed, too--I joke that it's an improvement on the 75% that I normally hog...

If I've learned one thing this weekend, it's the importance of spending time with yourself. Not by yourself, but with yourself. Present in the moment and enjoying yourself. It can be hard with another person to think of amongst the day-to-day hustle, but if you have an opportunity to spend a holiday apart or get away for a weekend without it being a big deal, do it! Book a cheap last minute hotel room for a night! Wake up late and go to the pool! Spend time in your own quiet comfort. You might just find what you weren't looking for.

Brace Yourselves, Daylight Savings Time is Ending.

 
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On November 4th, millions of people are going to jump for joy about getting back that one hour's sleep they sacrificed back in March. Sure, we can all stay out at the bars an hour later or sleep in an hour more the next day, but hold up--let's not forget that Daylight Saving Time sucks. Every year, we get used to sleeping in an hour later only to groan when next spring rolls around and we've got to adjust to the time change all over again. Here's a wild idea: let's NOT.

According to the internet (the ever so reliable WebMD, in this case), the time change affects our circadian rhythm quite a bit  because it changes its primary cue, sunlight, by a whole goddamn hour all of a sudden. NOT ON MY WATCH, IT WON'T! Okay, on my physical watch, it will, but you knew what I meant. By keeping my circadian rhythm intact, I'm hoping that adjusting in the spring won't be as hard as it usually is. 

My game plan is to go to bed an hour early on November 4th so that I can still claim my extra hour. On November 5th, though, I'm going to wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 am, which was 7:30-8:00 am the day before, which is the time of day my body is used to getting up in the morning. For those of you who live in more northern/therefore darker locations,  a daylight lamp is a great item to purchase. If you haven't heard of a daylight lamp, they're fantastic. It's essentially an alarm clock that wakes you up by getting gradually lighter, making for an easy (and circadian rhythm maintaining) wake-up. You can get one for as cheap as $29.99 on Amazon, but I really like the Phillips Wellner Smart Table Lamp. I can control it from my phone, use it as a bedside lamp, and it looks pretty cool and futuristic, sorta like Baymax.

Folks who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately dubbed, "SAD") can benefit greatly from a daylight lamp/light therapy. So can people with mood disorders! According to Psychology Today, "If one is treating a mood disorder, light therapy is best given for duration of 30 minutes for every hour one sleeps beyond 6 hours. So for example, if one sleeps 8 hours, they would require one hour of light therapy given one hour before they would normally wake. Since this is unlikely to be done by people who already feel the need for more sleep, it is best to use a dawn simulator light." They recommend starting light therapy one week before symptoms set in, or as soon as they do. Although studies have been performed using a 10,000 lux lamp, other studies show that a light with a lux of 500 could be just as effective. For more information on the benefits, check out the Psychology Today article referenced in this post!

 

"I Am Enough because I Say I Am" and Other Revelations

I have been telling myself some delusional story that I am not a writer, that I could not possibly identify as one, forever. I tricked myself into believing it was true despite the fact that as early as elementary school, I experienced most moments of my life with a narrator in the background. I crafted whatever I was experiencing into sentences and into short, fragmented stories. I wrote a short story in elementary school that was bound in a hardback book, took creative writing in high school, excelled in grammar, became a phenomenal speller despite having failed most of every spelling test I ever took in elementary school. I even considered majoring or minoring in creative writing at my college, which was KNOWN for its creative writing program and which produced the author of that one book that they turned into a movie about escaping an island with Leonardo Dicaprio in it. But I didn’t think I was a writer. I thought somebody else was more qualified to claim that title. And my sacrificing of identity didn’t stop there: somebody else was more qualified to study costume design, somebody else was more qualified to step up and perform a dance in front of the Emmy-winning Mia Michaels, that somebody else, that somebody else, that somebody else.

I got so mad the other day thinking about how I have put myself in a box to prevent me from taking up space that I thought other people deserved more. I was cleaning at the time and this narrator sentence formed in my head, only it didn’t go away, it kept knocking, knocking, knocking, bumping into my skull, begging me to listen and give it space. The sentence morphed into the first few lines of a poem and I grabbed a pen just in time to catch it as it all came pouring out.

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Writing this poem was a bizarre burst of creativity that came out of nowhere and ended as abruptly as it started. I feel like I vomited that poem out. Like one giant heave that cleared my head, splattered all over the page in front of me, and left me exhausted but feeling a little better.

The crazy thing about writing this poem is that I probably wouldn’t have realized what had happened had it not been for Big Magic. Big Magic is a book by Elizabeth Gilbert about living creatively and without fear. I finished it a couple weeks ago. In it, she describes a fellow writer’s experience with poetry:

“As [Ruth Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming . . . 'cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, "run like hell" to the house as she would be chased by this poem.The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn't be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn't get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would "continue on across the landscape looking for another poet."’

I felt that same experience for the first time in my life the day “I Am” hurled out of me. It was euphoric. My hand moved quicker and quicker to keep up with the thought and by the end of the poem, my words were big and lose and sprawled over twice as much space as they should have. By the end of it, I had taken up twice as much space as I should have. I realized that when I took up space with my creativity, I wasn’t taking space away from anybody else. The space for creativity is endless.

The experience was almost like an exorcism--only an exceptionally pleasant one where my inner voice made itself heard and acknowledged in concrete form. It said, “I am a writer because I write. I am a writer because I say I am. I am in charge of my identity.” To that voice, I say, “Rock on, you bad bitch.”