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self-care

Self-care: Not just for bourgeois narcissists

Watery
Mmmm, watery!

As some of you no doubt noticed, I didn’t post over the weekend. The reason is simple: After last week’s Republican convention — that bizarre festival of hate that’s somehow given Trump a boost in the polls — I needed a couple of days to clear my head and remind myself that there’s more to life than Anime Nazis and woman-hating dolts. I’ll probably be doing this more in the future, though I’ll try to store up posts that I can put up on the days I’m taking off.

The weekend was a welcome respite, as was that little staycation I recently took, but there’s a big part of me that still feels guilty for taking the weekend off. Like a lot of those at least roughly on the left, I still find it hard to justify the simple act of taking care of myself. With all the hate in the world, shouldn’t I be on call 24/7? Isn’t self-care a sort of bourgeois cop-out, a narcissistic retreat from collective action?

As Laurie Penny (there’s that name again!) notes in a recent Baffler piece, it’s not hard to understand why so many leftists, especially those of the activist persuasion, look upon self-care with a certain cynicism.

The slow collapse of the social contract is the backdrop for a modern mania for clean eating, healthy living, personal productivity, and “radical self-love”—the insistence that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, we can achieve a meaningful existence by maintaining a positive outlook, following our bliss, and doing a few hamstring stretches as the planet burns. 

As Penny suggests, you can’t make your life better by running it through an Instagram filter, or by adopting the Coca-Cola ad slogan “choose happiness” as a personal credo. If happiness really were a simple choice, I’m pretty sure all of us besides the most cynical would have chosen it already, even if we had to buy a couple of liters of Coke (or eat some kale) to seal the deal.

But rejecting the capitalist fetishization of consumerist “self-love,” Penny argues, does not require that you “fetishize a species of abject hopelessness.” There’s nothing revolutionary about malignant depression.

It’s also galling, as Penny notes, to see brocialist types “refusing to do the basic work of self-care and mutual care that keeps hope alive and health possible, because that work is women’s work.”

Lefty miserablists, Penny continues, need to look not just to feminism but to queer activists, who understand all too well “that caring for oneself and one’s friends in a world of prejudice is not an optional part of the struggle—in many ways, it is the struggle.”

Self-care can mean a lot of different things. It may be as simple as logging off Facebook and going to look at some art, as a feminist friend of mine did recently when she was feeling so burned out her stomach was churning. Or binge-watching a season of a favorite show. (Seriously, folks, check out The Leftovers.) Or putting this on in the background instead of MSNBC while writing blog posts.

But it can also mean more systematic — and in the long run more effective — ways of dealing with stress and depression and general burnout. Penny, for her part, has taken up yoga, noting almost guiltily that “it’s changed my life to an extent that I almost resent.” I’m learning mindfulness meditation, using headspace.com, and have been systematically exploring other ways to get the better of anxiety and depression and general burnout.

And so, for my own sake as well as for anyone else feeling a bit burned out in this monumentally shitty year, I will be posting more about self-care in the months to come, as well as making a point of posting some more uplifting posts, alongside my regular dissections (humorous or otherwise) of some of the worst people in the world. I’ve also been working for some time on a sort of side-project related to self-care that I hope to be able to share with you in the not-so-distant future.

I’d like to get the discussion going by asking everyone here what sort of self-care strategies you use — what works for you, what hasn’t worked, what you’re considering trying in the future.

H/T — Thanks to the person who linked to Penny’s piece in the comments here

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FrickleFrackle
FrickleFrackle
4 years ago

The petting zoo and alligator farm were the same. I could pet one of the baby alligators, actually, he had a rubber band about his mouth to prevent bites. I watched the gators get fed, and that was fun.

One thing I really liked was The Pancake Shop, a well, pancake shop. It’s was really good, being one of those classic American diners. They give you toast and apple butter with your order. I ordered one pancake and some bacon/eggs myself.

varalys the dark
4 years ago

I hope it all works out for you Viscaria. I can certainly empathise with the feelings of terror you speak of. I don’t think you’re lazy or stupid. I used to feel like that when I first started on welfare due to my mental illness getting suddenly a lot worse and it took a lot of therapy to accept the fact that this was just the way it was gonna be from now on, that I wasn’t just being weak minded and could stoically push on through it without treatment. Of course once I’d come to terms with my mental illness then my upper spine’s discs packed in as well, so I doubt I’ll ever be back in work again. I haven’t worked since mid 1998 and I guess I am functionally below the poverty line but I manage just about. Anyway, good luck and hugs if you want them.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ viscaria

Ooooor maybe I’m a lazy stupid person

Well based on your posting history we can certainly rule out stupid.

And, in my experience, lazy people don’t struggle on when they’re clearly Ill, they don’t hope nobody will notice that they are under-performing, and they certain don’t feel guilty about it. The fact that you’re having such thoughts proves that you’re not.

We’re imperfectly designed machines operating in what can be a pretty harsh environment; its inevitable that we break down every now and then. Then we need mending. If a car mechanic says you need to get that knocking checked out and an oil change whilst you’re at it, then it’s wise to listen to them. Same with doctors.

JennyWren
JennyWren
4 years ago

David, anyone would be burned out by all the rubbish you wade through daily. Take as much time as you need.

(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
4 years ago

Whelp, done with page two. As a result, I’ve decided that since Husbeast is working from home today, I’m going out after I finish my lunch and have some me time. I have some errands to run and then I’ll go and do a bit of browsing at the store I used to work at and see if anyone I know is working. I get a bit overwhelmed because when Kidbeast is here, all they do is play some form of Extreme Competitive Minecraft with their online friends, which gets rather loud.

Valentine, if you’re still reading, I have the almost complete opposite situation. I’m a woman who has always had a hard time falling in love but has been into casual sex. Husbeast is polyamorous, with emphasis on the amorous. I’ve met some really wonderful people in the community, but it’s personally not my cuppa, if you take my meaning. We make it work, though. It takes a lot of honesty and work and doing it mainly for the sake of someone else doesn’t work. Be honest with yourself about what you want. Brutally honest. No relationship is perfect, but it should be generally a good thing in your life, a net positive, outside of how you feel about the person you’re committed to. Best wishes!

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 years ago

@Contrapangloss:

For minor bad days, chai with chocolate.

https://www.davidstea.com/us_en/chocolate-chili-chai-3

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
July 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm

@PI

Considering my move…

How’s that coming along BTW, if I may ask?

Alright. I’m trying when it’s not so hot to get all my stuff together and sorted and figure out what can stay, what can go, etc. I’m actually looking at stuff my ex (the one I had before I dated Jackie) gave me, and I’m figuring out what to do with it. He gave me a lovely jewelry box and a silver locket that I never really had the heart to throw out, but since I’m dating Jackie now and my ex and I haven’t spoken in years, I figure now would be the best time to get rid of it, now that I’m looking for a fresh start.

My last day here in Cali is on the 22nd, so I’m hoping to have my stuff shipped with Amtrak by the 8th or the 9th so I won’t have to go too long in the new place with only a suitcase full of clothes and essentials. Not that it would be awful, but it would help to get settled as soon as possible.

My grandma’s leaving next week to help my mom plan for her wedding out-of-state, so I had to express ship the birthday present I had for her that I wanted to give her before I moved, as a sort of “no hard feelings, I still love you” kind of thing. I got her a Tsum Tsum (Pronounced: “soom soom”) Mickey Mouse mug and a Tsum Tsum tumbler with a Mickey and Minnie Tsum Tsum on the straw direct from the Disney store (I saved up money from some commissions for it). I think she’ll like it, and it’ll be useful to her.

I’m also hoping to apply for one of ThinkGeek’s brick-and-mortar stores they’re opening up in the mall near my new apartment. My friend still has a Walgreen’s interview for me, but I wouldn’t object to working there either.

Right now, it’s just too hot to do much of anything, so I’m just trying to stay cool. I think I’m going to stay up all night while it’s cool to sort laundry and the rest of my stuff though*. I’m most likely going to give most of my clothes to Goodwill or another thrift store around here. I was considering a yard sale, but it’s too damn hot to stay outside for so long, and it’d just be quicker to give the stuff away. Besides, my aunt loves shopping at thrift stores, so maybe she can get a discount with a donation?

*The insomnia would really help with that. I’ve been trying to wake up early in the morning and do it, but I’ve had a hard time falling asleep lately, sometimes staying up until three or four in the morning just tossing and turning, so I didn’t. I figure it would be easier on me to just clean at night while I’m awake and can’t sleep anyways, and sleep during the day where I can be under an AC so I’m not melting into a puddle.

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

@PI
Has your mother met the fiancé in person? I only ask because this sounds an awful lot lik my ex went through last year, and it turned out to be a scam of some sirt (didn’t get alll the details).

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

Hey guys, do you know what refills my head with happy thoughts? Ziiiiis little girl (or so we think so far)!!!! She always makes me walk around like crazy or keep dancing around like a fool just when I think I can no longer be awake, with a single WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
http://i.imgur.com/T0GNARd.jpg

Let’s refill our batteries and SMASH the patriarchy for her!

(Yes, it’s my niece. Isn’t she gorgeous?)

varalys the dark
4 years ago

D’awwww. I’m the same with my only nephew, he turns two next month and he’s such a bright little lad, chats away all the time and always makes me smile when I think of him. I get to see him twice a week, because my family all live in Manchester and I live in the town next door. He’s doubly cute because he is a Friend To All Cats, he loves them. We have six cats between us and he knows all their names and if he can push and pull them or not. He was feeding my cat ham from his ham sandwich earlier today, I wish I’d taken a photo!

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

Dalillama | July 26, 2016 at 4:31 pm

@PI
Has your mother met the fiancé in person? I only ask because this sounds an awful lot lik my ex went through last year, and it turned out to be a scam of some sirt (didn’t get alll the details).

This is another of my worries, yeah. She’s never met him in person, but they’ve called each other, they’ve video chatted and stuff apparently, etc. She seems pretty confident about her choice, so I don’t know. I don’t have enough information on this at all, and that does worry me.

Of course, I don’t know how I could raise these concerns to her without looking like I’m just trying to shit on her happiness or something…

Another off-topic thing: It turns out OkCupid is banning a lot of their women users when men report them for “being mean” to them, and a lot of men women report who are sending threats of the death and rape variety, and who are convicted sex offenders still have accounts.

A few mods have stepped forward on tumblr (where I found out about this), and have said that a huge majority of their mods are all men, which would explain the disparity.

And apparently OKC has been working with tumblr to get the blogs of a few women who post awful interactions with men on OKC deleted without any warning as well. One of my favorites, 40-yo-dater, was deleted. She remade though.

Uncivilized Elk
Uncivilized Elk
4 years ago

I usually go to the beach and do some sort of wave-related activity, be it surfing or bodysurfing, and for most of that duration I tend to forget I exist, which in turn makes me feel really at peace. Unfortunately, as soon as that’s done and over with everything comes rushing back. Exercise doesn’t work nearly to the same degree, but it gets my mind off things enough that it’s also helpful. I enjoy meditation, but I’ve never actually had it help me with my mental state unless I was already happy before I started.

I used to be able to take sanctuary in doodling or working on random projects, but recently I haven’t been able to do that. After visiting where I used to live 5+ years ago recently for vacation, I’ve made the decision to move back after realizing just how much I missed a lot of friends that I now only get to see about once every 2 years. Where I currently live, most of my close friends have moved away and I don’t have the mental energy or patience to make new friends or turn acquaintances into really close friends. That is my fault, but I just am incapable of engaging at the moment. I’ve had this background-level depression for a few years and I’ve also really stagnated in multiple ways, and I’m also not great at most social interactions even when I have the mental energy for it (which I haven’t for forever).

Anyway, point to that preamble is: now that I’m relocating in a couple months, I haven’t been able to focus on any non-physical activities that usually gave me respite. I can’t get invested into any little or big personal project – I instantly get distracted, and my mind can’t stop swirling madly over how I don’t wanna keep waiting to relocate (but unfortunately I do have to wait to get everything squared away). It’s been incredibly frustrating and difficult to deal with, and there’s this constant gnawing feeling inside me. I’m super happy I’m finally switching things up and I’ll be living close to friends I hold dear soon, but I feel like I’m destroying myself waiting for the actual move. Still not sure how to deal with it, but the fact that it’s a relatively short time frame to deal with (all things considered) will probably get me by even if I don’t manage to focus on anything.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

Ugh. OK Cupid. I decided on a whim once to make an account but ended up going out of town for work and didn’t get around to posting a good picture yet. In just two days my account got suspended because men were complaining about it. Yet harassing dick picks go unchecked? If I ever do internet dating again, it won’t be through them.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 years ago

@varalys the dark:

He was feeding my cat ham from his ham sandwich earlier today, I wish I’d taken a photo!

My grandmother had a picture of me, as a toddler, holding out a marshmallow to share with her dog Lucky, who was some sort of largely-collie mix. She thought that photo was the cutest thing in the world.

Eight years later my grandmother decided to try to replicate this picture with my younger sister. My sister was rather less sure of this whole thing, so instead we have a picture of Lucky doing puppy dog eyes at my sister while she was looking askance at the dog and trying to hide the marshmallow behind her.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@PI
Tsum tsum are adorable, she’ll love it!
You still got some time, so don’t push yourself too much. If you need to get outta the heat, you do that. No use boiling yourself. Anyway, the east coast awaits you with open arms. G’luck!

I don’t know how I could raise these concerns to her without looking like I’m just trying to shit on her happiness or something…

At the risk of ‘splaining what you probably already know… Sometimes, seeming to shit on someone’s happiness is preferable to letting some rando actually do it. This is her life and her choice of fella, of course. And you’ve got enough on your plate as it is. If you choose to have that conversation with her, that means you’re doing so from a position of love. You don’t want her hurt
Be mindful of her feelings, air your concerns in a sympathetic way, and bring lots of hugs. If it ain’t helpful, don’t say it, and accept her wishes to drop it. Regardless of how it goes, be happy that she’s happy. Basically, she’s not your responsibility. The best you can do is the best you can do 🙂

Smithshadow
Smithshadow
4 years ago

@ PI

Are you still accepting donations for your moving costs? If so, could you please provide the link? Thanks.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@Smithshadow

https://www.gofundme.com/ParadoxyMove

@PI

I hope it’s not out of line for me to share the link. If it is, let me know and I’ll email David to have it removed.

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
4 years ago

Mentally, I couldn’t wade through all the hate the way you do, David. Great to hear that you will be taking breaks and attending to your mental health from time to time.

My self care involves avoiding the news and watching a good movie or reading a good book. It’s good to shut out the world sometimes.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Re: trouble sleeping – I find it helps to have some mental game to play, something that will organize your thoughts.

This will sound silly, but one that helps me is what I call the “Adjective Animal Alphabet” game: go through the alphabet and find an adjective and an animal for each letter. Austere aardvark, belligerent bear, cantankerous capybara, etc. 🙂 Even when I had a flu a while ago – fever with aches and pains – and I couldn’t sleep one night no matter what, it calmed me down so that I could at least rest.

Speaking of fever, heat is a problem for me too. I don’t have A/C so I have to keep a fan on all night when it gets really hot. By now I’m used to the sound, but a couple of weeks ago it kept waking me up 🙁

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@(((Chiomara)))
Aww, who’s a good destroyer of the systems? You are, yes you are.
@ epitome of incomprehensibility
That’s a pretty interesting way to fall asleep, most of the time for me I’m just laying in bed hoping the ringing in my ear will finally cease.

Catalpa
Catalpa
4 years ago

I knit. The combination of the pleasing soft feeling of the yarn, the easy, repetitive movements, and the fact that I’m making something warm and functional mellows me out significantly.

Cooking is also similar, at least for the recipes I already know by heart. Pleasing textures and smells, familiar routine, and the creation of something useful. Does wonders for stress relief.

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Oogly
It’s definitely not going to stop if you think about it.

I make up stories. The only downside is that I tend to fall asleep as it’s getting good.

varalys the dark
4 years ago

@Jenora Feuer: Hee, that’s cute. I know sometimes kids don’t want to share with the family pet. Amusingly the first time my nephew fed his ham to my cat, who was being his usual patient and sweet self who would never snatch it out of someones hand, my nephew changed his mind about the whole thing just as my cat ate the ham. He wailed “Caaaat” and shook his fist to the heavens while my cat looked a bit bewildered. We all thought this was terribly funny!

Neil
Neil
4 years ago

I used to be one of those brocialists who thought self-care and even basic self-esteem repair reinforced complacency with the power structures, that it was impossible to care for oneself by doing mental exercises that boost confidence and happiness without deluding oneself into believing we live in a just society where nothing is wrong and nothing can go wrong. I believed that it was all a conspiracy by corporate HR managers to keep people in line in the workplace and to keep people who question authority out of the workplace (believing that no one who sees this unjust world can still be a well adjusted human being). There certainly is some of that but I now understand that one can still acknowledge these injustices without letting it ruin your mental well-being.

Alison
Alison
4 years ago

@Ohlmann

Thank you for the input. I was just flipping off ideas off the top of my head at time of commenting. I certainly could have linked or cited the studies that influenced me these past couple of years to seek out nutrition and larger doses of key supplements to help with my mind/body breaking down due after chronic exposure to an extremely stressful situation.

My situation is unique (obvs), but also it was so extreme because of how ill I became. I researched and came up with some things that have helped me avoid ongoing doctors’ appointments for neurology, auto immune, infectious disease because they weren’t finding anything wrong with me. I didn’t know that I was experiencing something that’s not uncommon to those who caregive full-time to elderly family. I started off with needing to find a reason why I was so run down, and didn’t have any concept that it was just that I’m doing such an emotionally difficult job every day and that’s why I’m sick.

You’re right, I’m not citing sources and perhaps I should be, but it’s far from unscientific. Everything I did was based on hundreds of hours of reading/researching.

I don’t buy anything, for example, from Onnit (that’s Joe Rogan’s nutritional company), or anyone else’s overpriced racket. The detoxing effect of doing a juice fast is something that’s helped and healed many people. Perhaps watch the easily found documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead for reference. No one is selling anything except the idea of giving our bodies readily available micronutrients so that the digestive system can take a break, and the immune system can dump. Every time I’ve done a juice regimen for longer than 7 days, I feel amazing, my skin glows, I’m so clear headed and positive. But it’s just veggie juice. Wasn’t it someone named Gerson who claimed that veggie juice cures cancer? I don’t claim that, lol. I know what I’ve been through, how run down and sick I was with no explanation, and I know how I feel every day after I take my fish oil, B complex, 12 & 3, D3, Gingko, Theanine, et al. I don’t drink coffee anymore because I don’t need to. The supplements give me all the dopamine release and other increased monoamines I need. It’s pretty cool. I basically came up with my own tailored version of those 5 hour energy shots that are little more than some caffeine and B vitamins.

Yes, this is MY experience, and unique to ME, but please don’t mistake me for someone who is influenced by the likes of Food Babe or David Wolfe. I think they’re both… misguided… at best.

The best thing about using nutrition as self care is once you’re in the habit, and have a good regimen down, that’s it. It’s always there, helping and assisting your body/brain. Anything else I do on top of that is bonus self-care.

Cheers.

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@ kupo
Yeah I’m pretty sure you’re right about that. I’ve been around loud sounds for so long it’s kind of like part of me. Even when I was a kid I’d hear buzzing if everything was silent. Your suggestion of thinking up a story seems to be right up my ally. I’ll go try that later.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
4 years ago

I think people are wrong to think of self-care as something completely frivolous – self-care can mean “making sure I eat nutritious meals”, or “taking my medicine”, or “looking after my day-to-day household tasks”. It’s basic and necessary to practice self-care, and everyone old enough to brush their own teeth does it.

My self-care is mostly centred around keeping my environment clean and tidy, and trying to drown out any overtly negative thoughts with distracting media.

I find that I need something that engages my hands and my brain to keep me from getting bored or restless, so I use that productively by listening to podcasts while I do chores.
In a 20-minute episode, I can do a bit of tidying-up or wash the dishes, and my mind doesn’t wander off as much. It can stop me from dwelling on things that stress me out. And it structures my time into little chunks so that I don’t get overwhelmed and I feel less inclined to procrastinate.
If I reaaaally don’t feel like doing housework, I’ll practice the ukulele, or if the music isn’t in me, I’ll play Fallout4 and remind myself that even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, there are people trying to rebuild things for the better.

Other things that help when I feel in need of some TLC – children’s cartoons (esp. Steven Universe), naps, allotment gardening. I try to boost my self-esteem with small achievements, like learning a new tune, or making something.

Sometimes I make plans to do something healthy/ productive with other people so that I have added accountability. Or a motivation to make sure the bathroom’s cleaned before they come over.

If things get really bad, I might have to remind myself that even basic things like a nice warm shower, comfy pyjamas, a tidy floorspace, and a nutritious meal can make a world of difference. But as long as I keep up a manageable routine, I’m less likely to get bogged down.

Someone once described to me the analogy of having a bucket of water on your head, and needing to check the water-level so that it doesn’t overspill or get too heavy. Sometimes life adds water to the bucket, but we can make holes in it to release pressure.

Self-care can be anything that you do in the moment, day-to-day, or on a scheduled basis to make sure your psychic bucket isn’t overburdening you. But it’s as important as if you had a literal bucket of water to manage. Be good to yourselves, y’all. 🙂

Valentine
Valentine
4 years ago

@ Hambeast & dlouwe (I thought I’d reply with both to make it simpler)

Thanks for your advice and yes I am still reading! This is such a good atmosphere here to get stuff off your chest.

But yeah. Together you’ve both kind of hit on the issue is that I’m basically not being honest with myself or my girlfriend. We’re a year into the open relationship but we’ve been together on and off since I was 18 (I’m 24 now) so there is A LOT of history. I won’t go too deep into it but the main thing is before my gf had terrible bad tempered. Like full blown anger management issues that threatened our relationship. Sice then she worked so hard I barely recognise her or at least that part of her. And it’s amazing. The place we are now together is exactly where I want to be.

We’ve been through dishonesty and infidelity before. On her part. That’s where the agreement came from. And that’s where the issue is now. Cos even though I know my limitations (my over emotional tenancies and attachments) it’s really hard to stop myself especially when she’s basically given me the go ahead. This time with this current thing with the married person I knew what I was getting into from day one. And I still went ahead and did it. And now she’s gone home to her family I’m still away at work for another month and I can’t tell anyone how I’ve gone and broken my heart again over some stranger. It’s a fucked up situation and it’s all my fault.

I know I could fix it by telling my girlfriend that I can’t do this without forming emotional attachments but I’m afraid of what will happen. She knoes I nearly threw our relationship away last year and I promised I wouldn’t get caught up over anyone else again. Yet here I am. The solution is obvious. Just stop the agreement but I knoe she won’t want that and I knoe it’s selfish but I couldn’t bare the thought of me being monogamous to her but not her to me.

Over all I feel I’m being silly and possessive over her. Which is pretty fucking rich considering everything I’ve done. But I’m also basically afraid to say anything cos I knoe she’ll just think it’s dishonest of mr to have lied for a year.

Sorry again for the overshare. This whole anonymous Internet thing is terrible for me. Plus for obvious reasons I literally have no one I can speak to about this.

Icecream For Breakfast
Icecream For Breakfast
4 years ago

@ Valentine
The thing that gets me about open relationships is the whole “don’t fall in love” thing. I was in a similar relationship many years ago, and looking back on it, no-one has a right to say to their primary partner, you cannot fall in love. In my case, this was the stipulation I put on the relationship – sure, sleep with other people, be open with me about it but do not fall in love. I don’t see how it can be fair to place that limitation on someone’s feelings. In hindsight, it was my own insecurity in the relationship that made me include that. Also, you are only 24 😉 Maybe you should be out there with the potential of falling in love with somebody who is better for you? I’m not saying that she is not good for you, but maybe keep your options open, as well as your relationship?

Valentine
Valentine
4 years ago

@Icecream
It’s interesting to hear it from the other perspective. Thing is if I could adhere to that rule I wouldn’t change a thing but feelings are annoying like that :/ but I really like your last part, ‘keep your options open as well as your relationship’ 🙂

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

I’d say that exercise is a big part of my self care routine. Plugging some music in my ears, hitting the treadmill and letting my imagination run is always pleasurable. A good physical and mental workout.

I have been considering taking up making plush toys as a hobby, but it seems rather complex and my biggest struggle right now is motivation…regarding lots of things. If I force myself to do lengthy tasks I find focusing on them to be very very hard to maintain. With some things the “just make yourself do it” technique is successful, like housework, but others not so much. Nevertheless, does anyone have any knowledge or advice on making toys? Designs, material shopping, patterns etc? Information will help me decide if I should take it up or not.

(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
4 years ago

Valentine – Polyamory is different to having an open relationship and takes a lot of self-awareness (among other things) because the point is being in love with more than one person. I can be okay with Husbeast having other people he’s in love with because I’m very secure in the fact that it doesn’t mean he loves me less. But, I didn’t get to this point overnight! It took a lot of reassurance from Husbeast and still does, but he’s happy to do it.

Plus, being in an open relationship or being poly isn’t for everyone, of course. Lots of people are more comfortable in monogamous relationships, some are aromantic, etc. It’s all okay!

It sounds to me as though you are more poly and your girlfriend is more into being open, relationship-wise. This is Husbeast and I in a nutshell, so it can work.

Best of luck to you!

(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
4 years ago

sunnysombrera – I used to work in a craft store, so here’s my two cents: If you have stuff laying around* (old clothes mostly) use those and experiment to see if you really like it. Patterns can be had for free on the internet (google free stuffed toy patterns) or just trace 2-D animals for simple stuffies. If you’re new to sewing, look up some Youtube vids for tips. Stuff them with fabric scraps and/or cotton balls. I’ve used the cotton from vitamin bottles, too.

My point here is to keep it cheap/free as possible until you decide if it’s engaging enough to start buying materials. While I was working, I watched people spend loads of $$ on materials, only to go on to the next thing and spend more. The stuff at the craft store seems really reasonably priced, but adds up quickly due to lots of temptation!

*If you don’t have stuff lying around you want to use, try the thrift store. Also, you didn’t indicate if you wanted to sew or knit/crochet (or all of the above!) I buy sweaters at the thrift store and take them apart for yarn as well. If you want tips on that, let me know because you can’t use just any sweaters for that.

Valentine
Valentine
4 years ago

@Hambeast
You give me hope 🙂 we’ve worked at so many things already I don’t see why we can’t work at this. I’ll start by being honest with her and see where it goes from there. If anyone is worth it, I knoe she is and if it doesn’t work out at least I’ll have given it my best shot.

Also On topic, one great self csre method is venting in the Mammoth comment section 😀 xxxx

joekster
joekster
4 years ago

A little off-topic, but for anyone interested in Tai Chi, the Annals of Internal Medicine just published a study comparing the effectiveness of Tai Chi and physical therapy (the gold standard initial treatment for degenerative joint disease) for management of osteoarthritis of the knee. They found that Tai Chi is ‘non-inferior’ (meaning at least as good as) PT for knee OA. The study is not double-blinded (the subject matter is not amenable to that), but it’s about as good a trial as we can get, given what the study is about.

The abstract is free on pubmed (link below), but if you want the full text, you’ll need to visit a medical library.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27183035

Of note, Tai Chi has also been proven to be beneficial in balance and fall prevention in the elderly population. Don’t be surprised if your physician recommends some time with a local trainer as an adjunct to other therapies.

Robert
Robert
4 years ago

I have a homemade Dreamachine. It’s a light flicker device that entrains your brain waves to alpha. I’ve been using it just before bed, and it really seems to help.

Jazz, some reefer and a glass of whiskey are also good, but not just before bed.

Knowing how much my husband depends on me has reinforced my belief in self-care. I can’t be helpful if I’m incapacitated. I also remind him about things like getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. He says I believe that all problems can be solved by those two things; well, at least they’re easier to solve if you’re rested and hydrated.

Walking is helpful. As previously mentioned, getting out and moving your body helps you to remember that you HAVE a body. Since I don’t drive, almost all trips out of the house involve a deal of walking.

VioletBeauregarde
VioletBeauregarde
4 years ago

I do a lot of different things depending on my mood and the weather. Just a few: taking a nap, reading a book, movie/TV show marathon, taking my dog for a walk, listening to music, having an Angry Orchard or glass of wine, filling up the Jacuzzi and swimming in it (impromptu indoor pool FTW), practicing my mixology skills on a temperamental simulation app and coloring (because you’re never too old for a coloring book). Like my username suggests, many of these activities do also involve gumchewing.

(((Her Grace Phryne))): Tool of the Butt-Worshipping, Lesbian-Powered Elite
(((Her Grace Phryne))): Tool of the Butt-Worshipping, Lesbian-Powered Elite
4 years ago

Super late on this, but:

@phryne: one of the med students I had long chats with in med school had ADHD and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She was the year behind me, but we bonded over the fact that we both had to retake a year because of medical issues. We sort of lost touch during residency, and I haven’t spoken to her since I got married last year. I should give her a call…

@joekster: Congratulations on getting married, and may you have a long and happy relationship!

I’ve never met anyone else who had both EDS and ADHD. Considering the absolute disaster that was my doctor’s visit yesterday, I hope she’s doing well and I suspect she’ll be an excellent doctor. We need them.

@fred_the_dog I’ve mostly been able to compensate, at least until this last week, and then my cervical vertebrae got misaligned or something and holy CRAP the heachaches have been just draining me. As mentioned, I went to the doctor about it… and got less than no help, as well as someone who had no clue how to draw blood just totally messing it up. I almost passed out and nobody noticed, and then the doctor completely ignored that my neck is screwed up and went on and on about how I need to lose weight, ignoring that I’ve been losing weight at a healthy rate for the past 9 months.

Yikes. I didn’t mean to rant about it.

@varalys Yay! I’ve been there, with the “oh, right, I should change clothes sometime this week”, but hooray for the positive outcome!

@MattP My SO has several gigs of DnB and jungle music on his computer, and I can see how that would be… I don’t know, grounding? It gives your brain something to hold onto that’s regular and constant. (He has ADHD, as do I and our son, so I think that the beat helps a lot with managing it, and for me, the bassier the better until it starts giving me a headache.)

@PI Good luck! That’s a lot of stressful things going on in your life. Which means self-care is even more important. 🙂

(I’m awful at self-care, because part of me feels like I don’t deserve it. This is definitely something I’m working on with my therapist!)

General: I wish I could yoga. It sounds like it’s very nice. Stupid body. Also Pokemon Go has been a bright spot lately; I like collecting the ‘mons, although I’ve done a few gym battles. They’re not really my thing, but they’re interesting. (I have a tendency to get too competitive, which takes the fun out of things. No, brain, it is not a KILL THEM ALL situation, thank you.)

@FrickleFrackle YES. FO4 and F:NV are just soothing to me. Or maybe it’s that they’re frustrating in a totally different way, and knowing I can mod some of that frustration out is helpful. 😛 Speaking of music, there’s this one song that I really like, Strong Hand by Chvrches, that sounds all light and upbeat and is actually cynical when you listen to the lyrics. Maybe you might like it. I also ripped the FO4 Diamond City Radio songs I like the best to my mp3 player so I can sing in the car.

@epitome I do something similar, I go through the alphabet with a certain sound and make as many words out of that sound as I can. It’s hard to explain, but it’s basically rhyming.

@Valentine, what Hambeast said. I’m poly, as is my SO, and it does take work but it’s beneficial to me. My personfriend actually called me last night (!!!) which is unusual and awesome. I wish I’d been in a better mood, but it was still nice. Good luck.

And now I’m off to the dentist. UGH.