Self-Care

It’s been a while. This hiatus was unplanned, but as it does, life got in the way. Following a trip out of town, work kicked into high gear, training started to ramp up, I got sick, etc. But really, a lot of what led to taking time off was a need for introspection and heavy consideration.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: I’m facing long-term issues that will require medical treatment for the rest of my life. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (well, it is an expensive thing), but when I returned from Albuquerque, I was faced with a need to do a lot of thinking about my long-term needs and locations. I’m not really one for concrete five-year plans. I have goals and aspirations that I’m working towards, sure, but I also believe that there are certain elements you just can’t plan for. For instance, I had a goal to get a job in a certain field when I graduated school. I successfully did so, but never did I imagine that job would take me to Wyoming. All of a sudden, it feels like I’m dealing with a need to make certain decisions by certain dates, and I don’t like that. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to confront some scary realities.

This leads me into self-care. This is a concept I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and how societal perceptions of it can lead to toxicity. Like everyone else, I try to take it easy on my bad days. I take bubble baths, I eat extra chocolate, etc. But now that I require a greater need for self-care, I realize how infantile the concept has become. Buying yourself a new piece of clothing because you had a bad day? Self-care! Burning your leave time because you just *can’t* go in today? Self-care! Having an extra drink tonight because you *need* it? Self-care! It seems like the idea of caring for oneself has been twisted in a way that gives us permission to avoid our adult responsibilities and actually take care of ourselves.

I’m not begrudging anyone for indulging every once in a while. But this isn’t the only way self-care can manifest. Self-care also looks like taking a shower when you desperately need one. It looks like paying your bills on time so you don’t get hit with extra fees or evicted. It’s eating nutritious foods and taking some time to get outside so you don’t feel like garbage. Self-care is not just about treating yourself, it’s exactly what it sounds like: taking care of yourself. And that means owning up to your adult responsibilities. I’m sure you can guess how I feel about the term “adulting” based on the above.

The long and short of it is I’m doing okay. I’m going easy on myself when need be, but I’m also acting like a grownup since that’s what I am.

In other news, winter is slowly releasing its grip on us. We may have had snow this morning, but it was all gone and skies were sunny by the afternoon. The trails are clearing and the days are longer, and I’m indulging in every bit of it. My mileage is about to start ramping up for my 25k next month and I’m ready to get out there and play. Even when the days are tough, getting out for a run and a hike keeps me sane. In a way, I guess that plays to both concepts of self-care: an opportunity to escape from the real world for a bit while doing something good for my body. I’ll take it.

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