There's a habit I am both proud of and ashamed of ... I make my bed every morning. Pull the sheets and covers straight, pull down the top edge. place my pillows like a home magazine cover. I blame FlyLady; who I have followed for too many years. Yes, it makes me happy to look at it - so pretty and feminine - and it's one of those few things that make me feel like an actual grown-up. There is the acknowledgement that this is my own space, my sanctuary.
What I am ashamed of … a few things. The rest of my life is a bit of a mess right now – including the bedroom closet. And the floor around my computer corner. And my poetry corner. I’m overwhelmed and they tell the tale. Plus it seems a little shallow of me – “look how pretty my stuff is!” “Don’t go on facts; go on appearance – see I’m a “together” person.”. Mostly – and this may reflect badly on me – it’s the fact that it is the only “nice thing I do for myself “in bed”. I’m a sexual person – or was a sexual person … I should be messing the bed up with fun, not pulling it’s few sleep-induced wrinkles straight.
It just reminds me how sparse my self-care is these days now that I’m pulled back into poor mental health. I didn’t quite fall into that “didn’t bathe for weeks, living in sweatpants, eating ice cream trap. But, since I rarely leave the house these days, my 3 baths a week … usually are only 2 or even once a week occurrence. I stopped wearing daily make-up & deodorant, hoarding it for those rare job interviews. Same with my DIY manicures. Hair gets brushed – but it may be at 3 pm. Eating … often gets forgotten about. I may do two – or often just one – meal a day. I usually don’t allow myself downtime to poem, write, garden, paint; I can’t rationalize time off from (what I self-consciously consider) “chasing a living”
My habits are right now are “hit or miss”, especially my morning habits, the ones that set the tone for the day. My “hot spots” are cluttered; more important to fix inventory pictures. I stay up way too late – more important to list just a few more books, try to squeeze a little income from the day. Housework? It’s a luxury right now and should wait for the weekend, when hiring places are closed – or wait for a time when I can afford household cleansers. Hit the snooze button and sleep until noon – “because I only turned off the computer and fell asleep – oh my – two hours ago”. I realize these are mostly excuses are just me punishing myself … “unemployed”. I don’t think I deserve nice things or things to be nice. I have been avoiding social media – what did I have to talk about? My latest conversation … with my cat? And then I just – avoid.
And yet, there is that realization that my thought processes are often a reflection of my immediate surroundings. The house gets messy … I no longer can think my way through something or make a decision. So when my thoughts hit the mud bog – I hit the housework, with a vengeance. And pay the price; my back and limbs hurt too much to move later on.
And that interior poltergeist? Those gremlins no longer confined to the computers, the phones, the clocks and are now closing doors and breaking things? Yes, much more active when the house is messy!
I had what seem to be a minor miracle last week. In decluttering my closet shelves, I came across two jars of my Mary Kay skin cream – a Day and a Night solution. I admit, I’ve aged the past few months. I have used anti-aging products since my early thirties, and I have been out of both Mary Kay and Avon even before being unemployed (self-employed – keep reminding myself I am SELF-employed now). I’ve been looking pretty ragged and even my morning facial scrubs get skipped. So, my dry, rough skin found some long-needed skin treatment. Two full jars. Not sure how I missed those before – I have ransacked that shelf numerous times looking for ‘scraps”. I immediately headed to the sink and gave myself a defoliation and facial. I felt human! At bedtime, I carefully wiped off my face and applied the night cream. My skin felt like skin again! The morning … more like skin.
Reflecting on this, I realized I needed to be my own best friend. Take care of myself again, even those days I have nowhere to go. So I have made some changes this week. And yes, my mind has resisted and fought me on them – but I deserve them!
I have kept using my skin cream. I won’t be able to replace them when these two run out – but they are available and so it doesn’t make sense to deny myself them.
I am back to FlyLady babysteps – washing sink, Writing a action plan for the day. Before bed routine, scaled down morning routine. Dressing when I get out of bed. A luxorious soak in the bath on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Blow drying and styling my hair, rather than letting it just air dry. 15-minute Hot Spot clean ups.
I have started making it a point to go somewhere at least every other day. Last Saturday this meant participating in a plein air event with Artists in Action’s Paint The Town 2016. Well … this year it is Paint The Town/Write the Town – so it allows me both a chance to poem and paint! For my Thursday night eSeller’s group, I put on make-up. Then skipped Roundtable and allowed myself to attend opening night of Keizer Homegrown Theater’s comedy play; this is a production with my friends and son in the cast. Did I have the panic attacks increase? Yes – But the play had me giggling throughout it and I talked to more friends last night than I had in the past two months. The show runs for three more weekends – I volunteered! So I’ll have a few more nights out. With make-up. My housemate’s play opens up in a few weeks at Pentacle Theater (the classic Rainmaker); I hope to work up the courage to volunteer for house for that as well.
My thinking, is a little clearer this week; it is a little easier to make decisions or to take action. I have been noticing the outside weather. I have taken less time to do some tasks. While I am still spiraling down with pain and depression, it is slowing the process. I am more productive – and I really place my self-worth on how productive I am.
Lesson learned – Take care of Yourself!