- I’ve been doing yoga nearly every day since December 1st 2020. I used to do an annual December self-challenge to practice every day. It was a great way to end the year taking some time to stretch (literally and physically) and to recalibrate mentally and spiritually. I fell out of it for a few years and decided to reengage with my practice in December.
- The first few weeks were hard. I was forced to face just how limited my body was in terms of mobility and flexibility. It took nearly two weeks to really embrace the rhythm and ritual of practice.
- During week three I pulled a muscle in my neck. My body was telling me I was pushing too hard, too fast so I pulled back and worked on more gentle postures and not pushing my body past the brink.
- On New Years, I figured, I can continue this for another month. And in spite of a shitastic month, I did.
- Every night, I roll out a mat and stretch and bend. I pay attention to what is tight, what is limber. My practice is free flow. I haven’t been interested in too many standing postures at this point; maybe next month.
- Maybe next month…so here we are nearly at the end of January and I’m thinking hey, I think it can do it another month.
- It is a few minutes a day when I just breathe and let the thoughts just wash over me. I just let my body move.
- Yesterday I realized that I can now get really deep into some postures that were beyond me 2 months ago. I was shocked. I was like, “Is my whole torso really laying on my leg right now? Like without hurting?” In the midst of sooooo much personal chaos my body is still working and thriving. It was a revelation.
- I’ve also gotten back into taking luxurious baths. Hope bought me one of those bathtub caddy things with a place for your tablet, a glass, etc. I have made a point to take a long, hot, healing bath at least once a week. I got all out—bubble bath, booze, my kindle or my phone to stream something. I light candles. I stay in there until I’m prune-like and the water is cold. I often am not ready to get out, so I let some water out and run some more hot water. I have some CBD bath bombs and it really is just such a wonderful experience, especially after I have calmed myself with some yoga. (I’m about to run a bath as soon as I post this because…Wednesday.)
- While I definitely have been pushed to the brink, I am doing what I can to practice some self-care. I’m hydrating. I just bought an under-desk treadmill—it arrived today and it’s MAGICAL. I’m cooking the comfort foods that I like and eating in moderation. I’m doing the things I should be doing to take care of me. I still need to take some time, but I’m doing what I can under the circumstance.
Tag Archives: #TreatYoSelf
I saw this meme on Instagram recently, and it stopped me in my tracks. It made me reflect on the first year Hope was with me.
We had a really difficult adjustment period. I was a bit of a nervous wreck for a while there. I was exhausted. I was always stressed and nervous. I had just finished my doctorate and jumped into parenting. Not only did I not take a break, but I was still writing my dissertation when Hope was placed with me. I was a whole entire mess.
Hope was easily triggered and was prone to moments of high drama.
Sometimes we were a living, breathing disaster.
About 8 months in, I hired a sitter to come hang out with Hope twice a week for 3 hours in the evening. I used this time to try to pull myself together and get a bit of me time. I would get takeout and go to the park. I would read a book sitting by the riverbank. I would sometimes go to happy hour with friends, who only wanted to ask about Hope—the last person I wanted to talk about.
But the thing I spent the most time doing?
Driving to the park, never leaving the car, making sure the doors were locked, reclining my seat, setting an alarm and sleeping in my car. I would be so tired. So very tired.
Eventually, I never even left my own parking lot. I legit grabbed my purse and all the trappings of going “out” for a few hours. I took the elevator to the lobby, walked to my car, got in, cried for 20 minutes, set my alarm and took a nap.
Hope and I finalized our adoption about 5 and half months after placement. It was definitely the right thing for us, but it also meant that things moved very fast. Our whole process moved so quickly that it was a whirlwind—we were matched, placed and finalized inside of 10 months. I don’t think I would change much about our journey, but I acknowledge that that first year was somewhat of a blur.
I look back fondly on those moment of sitting alone in my car now. In those moments I finally had some of the alone time I craved. I could breathe in my car. I could steel myself in my car. I could rest with no demands. I could reflect on my parenting with no immediate pressure. I could come up with plans for the next day of parenting Hope. I. Could. Just. Take. Time. I. Created. Space!
I am still so grateful for the sitters who got us through that time. I provided a frozen pizza for the night, and they took it from there. Hope adored Camille and Susanne, and they were worth every penny! (Pro tip: When interviewing sitters, look for those social work majors, those special ed majors, psych majors who actually want to be a mental health professional. Both of the sitters mentioned above had masters in special education and worked with kids with Autism, ADHD, ODD, etc. They were awesome at managing Hope, gaining her trust and encouraging her to enjoy the time they shared on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She still mentions them fondly from time to time.
So if you are new to this journey, make sure you have car time! You will not regret it. It is good for your sanity, and your sanity is good for you kid!
I just returned from Puerto Rico, and I’m realizing I don’t do this kind of radical self-care often enough.
Every morning, I got up to walk. I love my daily walks with Yappy. It’s usually dark, and I’ve got to stop a half million times to allow him to sniff, try to reach the errant, tossed away chicken bone or pop a squat. I often go back out for a quick walk without him. These last few days I’ve walked close to 5 miles every morning, coming back to the hotel drenched in sweat, feeling alive and a little more tan.
I picked up some yogurt from the market, got cleaned up and headed to the beach. I enjoyed the sounds of the ocean, lulling me into a morning nap facilitated by early drinking and an edible or two. I read a trashy book, hit the ice cream shop for lunch and relocated to the pool in the afternoon.
I discovered a little carry out shop across the street from the hotel; they make the best calzone crust I’ve ever had. I also purchased a bottle of rum and have practically had Cuba Libres on tap the last several days.
I lounged in my king sized bed, channel surfing in the evenings, briefly considering going out, or at least going down to the cigar bar to smoke and drink in the luxe lobby.
Lounging stayed winning during this brief reprieve.
I’ve experienced so few moments of irritation over the last few days that they seem almost a distant memory. Oh, I remember them though and Holy Homeboy, white folks are at the heart of each moment. Now, just remember that part of what precipitated my quick vacation scheduling is having been pushed to the brink by white folks during a meeting on diversity and inclusion, so this is a sensitive thing right now.
Practically empty beach, no please come stand in front my chair to take your selfies for 15 minutes.
Whiny group of 10 traveling together who asked if I would move chairs so they could also sit together at the pool. This chair? The one I’ve been sitting in for 90 minutes? No. I’m good. Cue their melodrama of moving to another row to sit together. #theaudacity
I had time to do a lot of thinking and reflecting on this trip, but honestly…I didn’t. I thought I might take some time to think about my next career moves, maybe spend some time thinking about some of the volunteering I’ve been doing. I thought I might think about finding my way around this dating thing. I thought I might think about a lot of things.
Instead, I gave my brain a much needed rest. I thought about very little. I rested.
Why is it that I had to hit a wall to embrace just doing nothing for a few days? I mean, I know that the daily routine isn’t designed for just being without expectation, but wow, not doing anything for 3 days should not feel so radical or costly. And yet it does.
I’m glad to be home, waiting for the boarder to bring Yappy home. I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine for a few weeks. I’ve got a trip to Hawaii in a few weeks for work. I’m looking forward to freshening my tan and enjoying time with colleagues.
In the meantime, I’m going to find a few minutes every day to just be, to just breathe and to just rest.
Challenging all of you to do the same.
Hope is away at her summer program. She is thriving. Her grades are fantastic. She sounds a lot more confident. Her teachers say she’s a delight. She’s navigating social situations a bit better, and she is getting lots of exercise. She has a little crush on a cute classmate. She refuses to admit it, but she seems to be having a great time.
I’m delighted and relieved.
As for me, well, this time with Hope away has been interesting. The first few days after dropping her off I felt almost a little lost. Like, Oh, wow, I don’t need to wake her up so I can keep going with my workouts. Oh, I can have cereal for dinner because I don’t need to make sure there’s a real meal available for my kid. Oh, there’s way less laundry. It was really a reminder of what life was like before Hope, which often I have a hard time remembering.
The first few days I also was EXHAUSTED. I mean, like bone tired. Like I hadn’t slept in years tired. I could barely get myself off of the couch. I ate my favorite foods, drank a lot of yummy things and just rested. Take away message, parenting is hard and exhausting, and self-care is important.
So, we’re well into the second week now and Hope is doing just fine and I’m finally starting to stretch a bit. As a part of this summer respite I’ve focused on resting, connecting with old friends, trying to make some new friends (hello dating apps) and getting a lot more exercise. I’m also not writing as much because I’m busy trying to get out there and live. I’m headed away on a business trip tomorrow for a few days. I had to make arrangements for Yappy, but Hope is away at school so I’m literally packing and walking out of the house. I haven’t been able to do that in years.
I’m expecting that when she comes home at the end of the program I’ll be really refreshed.
I’ll also be glad. I do miss her. The house is missing her energy. It’s a little empty around here; it’s certainly a lot cleaner since things are exactly where I last left them. I am enjoying grabbing something simple for dinner, but I miss meal planning for her and fixing some of her favorite foods. When she was home for a few hours this past weekend seeing how much Yappy also missed her just warmed my heart.
We’ve got a couple more weeks. I’ve got a lot of resting and living to do during this time. This has definitely been a lesson in the importance of self-care and respite.
In all my pre-trip fretting about a near week away from Hope, I did have some concerns for The Furry One, who was recently diagnosed with some serious brain issues. Turns out that Hope was fine, and The Furry One came completely unhinged. My poor, furry, first born was scared out of his mind (he’s also nearly blind and deaf) and no amount of sedatives seemed to knock him out for the count. He came home a shadow of himself, prompting our family vet to have an “end of life” conversation with me as we discussed whether he had what it takes to bounce back. At nearly 15, I’m not sure. I know we have entered the final chapter; I just don’t know how long that chapter will read. I’m nursing him this weekend, remembering all of our years together and teaching Hope the value of life and dignity and how we’re all worthy of kindness, compassion, love and snuggles. She’s also learning that when you’re old and sick you get just about anything you want—The Furry One noshed on a deboned pork chop last night and pizza crusts tonight..
Throughout this week, all kinds of things—good and challenging—have transpired. Here’s a list of things I learned without too much elaboration.
How we behave with our early tween/teen crushes is right out of the Disney-Young and the Restless text book. The things I’ve heard come out of my daughter’s mouth this week are things that a Disney princess with a daytime TV habit would say. I think when we’re crushing we just emulate ish we’ve seen on TV. Gawd, I’m glad I’m grown and have my own script with my own words now.
Sleep is healing. The Furry One is currently sedated with some good stuff. He needs to heal and sleeping pretty much around the clock is essential to the bounce back. We all need more sleep and more rest. It’s healing. Find a way to get that rest. #TreatYoSelf #iwishicouldborrowhisdrugs
Despite needing more sleep, I will sacrifice sleep for cookies and wine. This is becoming a nightly ritual. On the last podcast I mentioned that I’d made cookie dough in anticipation of my return home from the recent business trip. I didn’t get my couple of days of “Me” time, but I’m having my nightly cookies and wine—even if I have to stay up later to do it. #TreatYoSelf
It’s true—have looser reigns at first and you’ll be able to tighten up the house rules later. I know firsthand that it’s hard to believe that not “laying down the law” with older adoptive kids will lead to all kinds of mayhem, but honestly the trust isn’t there to respect all the rules at first. Here we are 6 months in, and I’ve earned the right to have firm rules about stuff in our home. I can “lay down the law” with no issues these days. It works.
The presence of trust allows for healthy purging. We purged closets and drawers today. We did it on the fly and I told Hope the rules—1) you have 15 minutes to purge, 2) if you hesitate toss the item in a secondary pile and come back to it, but keep moving, 3) if there’s a strong emotional attachment it’s ok to keep it and revisit that attachment at the next purge session, 4) itemize, bag and donate immediately. She purged a bag of things—including things that she brought here. She was relieved not to be expected to get rid of things that held emotional connections. Hope enjoyed making room for school shopping and taking account of what she owns. She trusted me and the purging process. We actually had fun.
Hope’s self-esteem is on the come up! Yay! If you don’t read Mollytopia, you should—gosh she’s funny as all heck. This week, she wrote a post called, Make the Game Your Bitch, all about developing her and her daughter’s positive self-image. Well, I played the game with Hope today. I sucked, but Hope? Hope rattled off her three things she loved about her insides and outsides so quickly that I am jealous. It made me proud of her and how far she’s come. She still will claim that she’s “bad” at least once a week, but to know that she sees her body, mind and heart as lovingly as I do made me happy. Go Hope!
Have I mentioned that I’m happy? No really; I know it all isn’t over but I believe the worst, the roughest part of our journey is over. We’ve survived!
Grown up time is essential. I missed Hope and The Furry One while I was away last week, but keeping my own schedule was priceless. I actually took time to put on the good make up and do my hair in more than a puff, piled on top of my head (which is becoming my summer of 2014 standard—I’m lazy, what can I say?). I even wore a couple of new dresses. I worked my fanny off, but I also took time to skip a few receptions, order room service, and cool my heels taking care of me-ABM the grown up, not just ABM the mom. Good stuff. #TreatYoSelf
There’s more, but right now, I’m going to sip on this tempranillo and these cookies and finish watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent before I scoop up The [passed out] Furry One and take him to my room so I can watch him sleep.