Self Care Sunday

Hey guys! Lori here! For my OLW in 2018 I chose MORE. MORE of a lot of things. Actually, I had to narrow it down to 12, one for each month. For February the MORE is Self-Care. I’m going to get real for a minute, vulnerable. It’s not something I’m very good at. I have a pretty tough outer shell but let me try to open one of the cracks for you and expose the soft center…just for a minute. 
I’m a nurturer by nature. I always have been. When I was a young mother (and I do mean young....too young actually) I didn’t understand that to be my best self I had to take time for myself. I had to find what recharged my batteries and do it. I had a hard time feeling like I was good at being a mom. (I have battled depression and anxiety since I was 13) I felt like I was running on empty all the time. 
Because I was.  
As I got older I found things that made me feel good. Some were destructive to myself (emotional eating) and some were bad for my marriage (emotional spending). Some were good for me and my relationships. Spending time with my Mom and sisters filled my cup. It gave me joy. My mom and I didn’t have a great relationship while I was growing up. I was a HARD kid. She was a peacekeeping middle child and I was a stubborn, self-centered oldest child. Through some difficult life experiences, I was changed. (If you’d like to pause with me and sing, “For Good” from Wicked, I’ll wait.) 
I think the beginning of self-care is forgiveness. 
Do you extend the same grace to yourself that you do to others? Have you forgiven yourself for your past mistakes? We all make them. Especially when we are young. But every day there are things I need to forgive myself for. I look at how I view my daughter. She struggles with a few of the same things I did/do. Would I not forgive her for needing to repeat lessons to learn? Of course not. Then why do I not extend the same tender feelings to myself? As a young mother it felt selfish to take time for just me (because there wasn’t a lot of time left after I had done all I felt I was responsible for). But again, age is an excellent teacher. I found I could better serve my family if I took time for myself. I found reading was a good escape. I also liked walking our dog. Alone. It helped me center my thoughts in that quiet trip around the block. My Mom was the center of my social life as I got older. She would have my Dad take my hubby out for the day to do a fun thing they liked. My Mom and I would load up the kids and my sisters and hit the mall. We’d shop, or window shop, and then go to lunch. Eventually we’d end up at her house where she’d take over the parenting of my kids and I’d just relax on the couch. I’d either listen to her play with my kids (she was seriously THE BEST grandma) or I’d chat with my sisters. When my hubby’s job took us an hour from my hometown I found other ways to refill. I still saw my family a lot but during the week I found friends who were like-minded. Friends who lifted me up and made me feel good about myself. I was learning to like the woman I was becoming. 
Letting the guilt of the past go and embracing the now. (See how that forgiveness part is crucial). 
I continued to take time for myself and tried to learn from my mistakes faster and mostly tried to love myself. We moved almost 1000 miles from home at that point in my life. My Mom had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She was dying. And I was moving. 
But I knew this was important for our family. I tried to be forgiving. I tried to help my children adjust to this big move (my son was a senior in high school and my daughter was in the 8th grade). It was hard. But then God sent me angels disguised as friends. They helped me more than they will ever know. My Mom passed away on February 14, 2008. The pain was physical. I was given so many miracles surrounding the passing of my anchor, my Mom. So many. But through it all were my friends, my sisters. Both far and near. They rallied around me and helped me get back on my feet. I was able to endure the darkest time in my life because they carried me through it. Fast forward 10 years and here we are. Still trying to forgive, and love myself flaws and all. Still trying to be a good wife, mother, grandmother, friend, sister and daughter. I don’t feel like I am very good at all of them, all of the time. I do tend to focus on one or two at a time. 
And that’s OK. 
I have found that taking care of my physical body is just as important as taking care of my inner self, my spirit. I wish I had started that in my 20’s instead of my 40’s but whatever (insert laughing emoji face and a heart) 

Mostly what I want to share with you, sweet soul, is start now. 
Where ever you’re at. Whatever stage of life you are in right now. 
Start by finding a source to refill from. Is it a trusted mentor, a sweet friend who just gets your humor or an online friend you’ve never met? Find your person. 
Next look within. Find what drives you. What makes you happy? What will bring you closer to that? Start small. Even with a self-affirming statement you read out loud every day. 
Find your JOY. It might look different than anyone else’s. Take care of yourself, body and spirit. 
It’s important. 
Be forgiving. Of yourself and others. 
There is JOY to be found in serving others…if you have some to spare. I believe there is positive power to be found online. If you are struggling with depression or other mental illness, you are not alone. There is happiness ahead. Thanks for listening and being gentle with my truths. I do hope you all find JOY in your day!! And in your life! 


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