More on self-care

Note: This is a repost from Facebook from last Friday. 

It’s been a weird week. I don’t know all the reasons, but this week has felt heavy. Yesterday I was struggling to keep my mood and attitude in a good place and had to take time to make a list of practices that keep negative thoughts at bay. In the process I also remembered this is the first Fall I’ve been without an antidepressant in five years, which may be part of the struggle.

One beautiful truth of my life is that God has given me amazing, supportive friends at every stage of life. In the middle of my week of funk, I received two gifts from friends that spoke deeply to my soul. The amazing Michelle sent me this self care challenge book that — quite honestly — is exactly what I was trying to create for myself when I made my list yesterday. I had big plans of using today to generate an accountability plan for my self care activities. When I finally had time to look through the book this morning, I realized Michelle had already provided me with one.

One item on my list was “read more fiction. Meaningful fiction.” My friend Sander saw this T-shirt somewhere, had texted me and said I had to have it. This week it showed up in the mail. If you’re not familiar with the names, they’re all female southern writers. Writers are the keeper of our stories. I’m a big believer in the power of story and the stories of the South, even though they’re hard to hear sometimes, could be what helps us learn enough about ourselves to move forward. Thank God for the people who are willing to tell our difficult stories.

If you’re struggling too, hang in there. Be honest with yourself and your friends and let them come alongside you. Take care of yourself, take antidepressants if you need them, and take good, good care of yourself during the hard weeks.

And don’t forget to read good books.

Self care survival kit

Today, I asked some friends, “What do you do when you just feel done?” There is no one specific thing that is weighing on me, but I feel restless . . . antsy . . . and also like tossing in the towel.

I recognize these feelings as anxiety or stress or whatever name works best for you and I recognize that this happens when my self care is not in place. Then I had to ask myself, “Lisa, what is self care for you? And how can you get a better grip on it in the middle of your busy life?”

By the way, being busy isn’t a sign of honor, so that isn’t me bragging. It’s a statement of fact. I have a full time job and am taking six hours of graduate work every semester. I also teach yoga once a week and help sponsor a student organization on campus. And I have a marriage relationship which I long to give time to and I try to stay connected with my kids as much as possible. Which isn’t much.

black and white photo of clocks
Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on

So I need a self care kit. A list of things to incorporate into routine to help prevent these days of wanting to run away to Canada. I read about a school that has comfort corners with supplies for kids when they are feeling overwhelmed. That sounds like a wonderful idea, so this weekend I am going to create a comfort corner in my house.

Lisa’s Self Care Survival Toolkit

  • Yoga — 15 minutes a day keeps the anxiety away
  • Writing — journaling to get the thoughts out and gratitude to find the happies
  • Music — it’s the language of my soul
  • Fiction — I need to read for fun
  • Movement — dance or walking or something. I just need to move more.
  • Visual beauty — I need to do something creative
  • Soft things — a super soft blanket or other warm fuzzy
  • Fuzzy socks with aloe
  • Lavender anything
  • Cooking and filling the house with the yummy smell of baking
diary girl hand journal

So tonight when I get off work, I’m going shopping for a few things to add to a self care kit. I am also going to focus on planning a morning and evening routine that will incorporate some of these things.

I’m tired. I’m tired of life and the world being hard and weighty and constantly present and never getting better. The world is too much. The longer I live, the more often I come back to these words:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
I want to shout AMEN! We are out of tune. . out of tune . . out of tune . . . and if what I see as Christianity in our nation is the real thing, then yes — I would rather be a pagan. 
low light photography of books
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

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