While I don’t love how trendy the idea of “self care” has become (if I see “Treat yoself!” one more time, my eyeroll will get stuck like that), I do adore the concept behind it: Yes, we’re overworked. Yes, we’re over-stressed. Yes, it’s easy to put our own care on the backburner while worrying about everything and everyone else.
True confession: I have an easier time with self care than a lot of people (read: women) seem to. I don’t feel guilty when I make myself a priority. I’m pretty good at listening to my body and recognizing when I need a break. I don’t have an issue telling people “no.”
But this semester, I did something that is at least a year late: I scheduled a massage every two weeks for myself.
I have a crappy back. I can tweak it easily, which results in total immobility; I’ll wake up the morning after I turn funny or take too fierce a bit of a blueberry muffin (true story), and I can’t get out of bed. Turning my head results in excruciating pain, so I just lay there and whimper.
I think the issue is, in part, a knot I have in my right shoulder blade. It’s been there for years, and massage therapists always find it and work on it, but they say the same thing after: I didn’t have enough time to get it out. You need a regimen.
It helps that I work for a community college with an on-site massage clinic. They’re students, yes, but they’re great (the clinic is part of their coursework). So I scheduled an appointment every two weeks this semester. I’ve had two thus far. The knot isn’t gone yet, but I’m hoping it is by May.
Spelling it out like this, it seems like such a little thing: that I have a back issue, and I’m taking steps to take care of it. But it’s a huge thing for me, even though I do try my best to take care of myself. It’s a matter of taking a periodic assessment: What is missing from my life? What is making me upset? Even those of us who make this kind of care a priority still need to remind themselves sometimes.
I’ve had two massages thus far, and they have been relaxing and, it seems, good for the back. My next one is next week–let’s see if that damn knot is any smaller.
In addition to these massages, I do treat myself to pedicures every two or three months, depending on the season. I allow myself alone time–solo lunches or movie matinees, the occasional shopping trip. I make time in my week to read. I have a friend who allows herself the luxury of a bath every night. I’m curious: How you take care of yourself.