NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Self-Care Struggles

February9

One of the most difficult parts of moving last week/weekend was suddenly not being able to trust my body. The very first box I attempted to carry down the stairs of my old apartment, I nearly fell! I was instantly in a state of shock and horror! I began to cry…I don’t do that! It was scary. It was because of my knees. I was truly frightened. I hated that I couldn’t rely on what had always been there for me. I’ve never had knee problems before the few months and just when they seem to get better I either re-injure them or I don’t know what. Frustrating doesn’t even cut it! I was angry and sad and everything in between.

*GetsOnSelf-CareSoapbox* Ahem…  *TapsMic*

Y’all! We cannot be our most authentic and amazing selves or even be there for others properly if we are not mindful of our bodies and what they need. We cannot put off pain and rest and healing. We must treat our bodies as our most precious of possessions and resources, because that is exactly what they are! I have been putting ice packs on my knees each night (20 minutes on/off/etc as prescribed by my CMT husband) and it helps. It slows blood flow to the area for a bit and then when removed allows fresh, good, healing blood to flow through the area once again. When I skip a night, I feel it in the morning. The stiffness is mostly gone on normal days, but when I ski a night of icing, I am stiff the next morning and that blows. When I do remember, and I try, I have no stiffness and can get up with little pain.

Why is self-care so damned hard to remember/do? Because we’re taught to think only of others, to be selfless and blah blah blah! Fuck all of that! Be selfish! It’s totally okay! If you don’t, your health will suffer. Your mental health will suffer. I believe that suffering, while a part of life for sure, and should be lessened whenever possible. But here’s the hardest bit for me: Asking for help, time, breaks, assistance, access, care, being held and so on. I realized the other night when I was asked outright, “What do you want/need?” I was dumbstruck! WTF?! I am so rarely speechless. I was suddenly unable to speak! My mind went blank (that never happens) and I sort of just gasped.

How do I get better at this? What steps could I take to improve? How do I take the pressure off of the act of asking? Because let’s face it, being on your own and fending for yourself is not an easy endeavor. I know this, but I also take great pride and satisfaction from doing things for myself, by myself, etc. Perhaps too much pride, stubbornness, etc…but I’m a Scorpio! Ha-ha! But I want to get better at this…no I NEED to get better at this!

I am open to all of your advice and suggestions. I have been able to ask for help with some things, but they were minor. I’m the gal that says, “Can I ask you for a huge favor? Could you pass me that ___?” Real “huge”, eh?! Ha-ha! Every favor or assistance, etc, feels major to me. I have been self sufficient in some manner my entire life, okay, well since I was five. To ask for help was always met with, “no!” or “Get it yourself” or “if you don’t learn to do it on your own you’ll never ___” these old patterns are difficult to break. I know this. I understand where it began and how it’s impacted my life. My logical/rational brain does anyway, but my emotional side? Not so much.

So yeah…self-care! Woo!

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posted under DIY
8 Comments to

“Self-Care Struggles”

  1. On February 9th, 2012 at 1:26 pm Twistie Says:

    Like so many other things in life, I think the way to get better is to practice. After all, if you sit down at a piano for the first time and screw up playing Chopsticks, the answer isn’t that you can’t ever play the piano. It’s that you need to do it more so your fingers get the feel of it, and you learn where the notes are, and you figure out what those pedals are for. Not everyone will be another Chopin or even another Elton John, but nearly anyone with working fingers can learn to play a simple tune, if they keep trying.

    On an even more basic level, think about a baby learning to walk. How many times does a small kid fall before it manages that first wobbly step? A LOT! But if the kid is going to learn to walk, well, it needs to keep getting up off its ass and falling down again. Eventually, though, the vast majority of us do learn to walk just fine.

    And so it is with expressing your needs. If you’ve never done it before, it’s a weird, rusty feeling and you can’t believe how awkward you are at it. It’s tempting to simply throw up your hands and say ‘this will never work for me.’ But if you make yourself do it again, and again, and again, you get better at it. You get better at figuring out what to ask for and at asking for it with reasonable grace. You get better at accepting the help you need and knowing for yourself when you need it.

    So keep practicing. It honestly does get easier. The hardest part is making yourself try again after that first couple failures. But if there’s one thing I know about you, it’s that you are mighty perseverant. You’ll keep trying until you can do what you set out to do.

  2. On February 9th, 2012 at 11:26 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh Twistie! You must be the smartest, sanest woman around! *hugs* You know just what to say! Love you, lady! We should hang out soon!

  3. On February 10th, 2012 at 10:59 am Alena Says:

    If you ask someone for help you are actually doing something for them – allowing them to be useful. I think it’s important to keep in mind that people like to feel that they are useful, and it’s even better when you know there is something specific that you need that someone else can provide. I’m actually flattered if someone thinks I can help them in some way. I also think it’s improtant to disentangle this idea that self-sufficiency and asking for help are in conflict with one another. I actually don’t think that a person can be fully self-suffient if they don’t know how to identify and call upon the resources available to them. That doesn’t mean that you have to rely on all people for all things and be disappointed when they fail to come through. It’s more a matter of being attuned to what you need and giving people the opportunity to contribute.

  4. On February 11th, 2012 at 12:04 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Alena: You are so very right! I’d never quite heard it put this way, but it makes total sense to me now. *Hugs*

  5. On February 11th, 2012 at 8:24 am Christine Says:

    It’s maybe worth keeping a food diary, I find it really helps me keep track of what I’m putting into my body when I’m stressed. I tend to get mood swings anyway, and recently I’ve been under a huge amount of pressure, at work and emotionally and I was always, always distractingly hungry – but craving sugar and more sugar. It took me a bit to realise that I had let myself get on the sugar rollercoaster, going through endless cycles of sugar highs and sugar crashes. I’ve had a week of mainlining tasty veg soups into me and I’ve finally stopped being hungry – and I’m much more able to settle and work, and I’m much much less anxious. I think we forget how much our body is a machine, and how much it suffers if we neglect to do nice things to it.

    Stretching always improves my mood too – taking the time in the morning to really focus on every part of you and to carry yourself properly. When you’re sad it’s so easy to walk, introvertedly, around looking at your toes, but I find that stretches make you really carry yourself properly, look at the sky, feel hopeful, and walk like you have every right to own your space.

    Lying in bed, tensing every part of you up sequentially, then releasing it all will help you release tension you might not notice otherwise – it helps me sleep a lot better when I’m stressed out.

    Hope any of these things help
    much love xx

  6. On February 11th, 2012 at 10:55 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Christine: thanks, I’ll have to give these a try! =0)

  7. On February 11th, 2012 at 12:52 pm Christine T Says:

    And if all else fails, instant happiness:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/realpropercustard_65614

    😀

  8. On February 12th, 2012 at 2:01 am Christine T Says:

    This might be a really stupid question, but are you actually actively supporting your knees at all? If you haven’t already, tube bandages or pressure stockings might really help take the grind off your joints, and they help limit swelling during the day – they do make a massive difference to me when I hurt my knees.

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