The struggle is real.

A few days ago on my Instagram account, I spoke about facing yourself. Last week I was really moved by Pepper Brooks’ latest blog post.

In case you don’t click to read, in “It’s easier to be a Workaholic” Pepper wrote a bit about one of the masks that she wears. I was struck by how familiar it was to me.

Currently, I’m in a curious space. During the day I’m looking for work. But at night instead of sleeping, I waste time chasing information. To explain exactly what goes on, I’ll give you a slightly edited version of what I shared with her.

Photo by Hernan Sanchez

I’ve struggled with self-care for years. Specifically, with the foundation of it all: Sleep.

I know that if I slept better, I would have the energy that I needed in order to take care of myself properly. But lately, whenever I try to go to bed on time, I don’t.

Over time, I’ve followed a pattern of staying up for hours, satisfying my FOMO by shoving information into my brain. (I live in a small town. By itself that’s not problematic, but I have transportation-related issues. To add to this, I’m an introvert and I love being alone…Yet I’m also pretty lonely.)

I satisfy my need for contact and information by checking up on everyone and everything on social media instead of relaxing and shutting my eyes at night. When I have my laptop in the room, I’m looking up something or other.

But for what?

I’m attempting to satisfy some sort of ache. I know it.

And I also know the truth. I know that “I am enough” isn’t merely a cliche. But a part of me keeps resisting it.

I tend to feel and do better when I give myself a chance. Mediation helps. But really, I need to give myself room. I have to tell myself to ignore distractions.

Needless to say, I’m tired. (In more ways than one.) I’m sharing my thoughts because I know myself. I really need to breathe.

Some people don’t get enough rest because of their obligations. They have to stay up into the wee hours because of a job, or their children. But what’s my excuse?

The quest for a “good night’s sleep” is more than a cliche. So many of our body’s systems get the chance to repair and restore themselves when we go to bed.  When we don’t sleep properly– or specifically, when we run from the chance to do so–I believe we need to think. Take a look at our culture. It’s trendy for people to call themselves information addicts or night owls. But what’s really going on?

For years now, most nights, I’m up way past my bedtime. I have to order myself to put my electronics away. As much as I try not to, I can’t help but feel haunted: Whatever I want is out there. Meanwhile, there’s reality.

Whatever I think is going to satisfy me won’t get come to me any faster by staying up late chasing air.

Given the reasons that we need sleep, I’ve come to a grim conclusion: I think that a part of me has been convinced that I don’t deserve to be whole.

These days I’m trying to work out the details of exactly what I deserve. Some of them are hazy. But I know that I’m worth more.

Sweet dreams.

Self-care? Self aware.

Well, guys, I’ve finally made a decision. I’m gonna start talking with you a bit about my struggles with self-care. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s something I truly need.

A recent edition of Chivon John’s #sidehustlechat focused on this subject. She asked us an important question: “Self-care has a different meaning for everyone. What is your definition of self-care?” I offered up a short, vague idea of what it meant to me. I even had the cojones to talk about taking “true” care of myself. And in return she asked


trueselfcareq

After that, Chivon and another chat participant (Hey, HecticDad!) encouraged me to share my thoughts. I’ve wanted to do so before, but hesitated. Now, I don’t know what’s come over me lately, but here we are.

“Self-care” is a pretty well-worn buzzword. I can’t tell you what to do about your journey. But what I can do is share why I’m investing in mine.

First there’s the matter of self-preservation. The fact is, women in my family age well. I’m at the halfway point in my life, and I feel as though I’m in bloom. Also, I’m in the process of rebooting my existence. I need energy and strength so that I can live through what’s ahead.

Speaking of “what’s ahead”, I’d also like to help build a better world. I’ve been talking about going back to work in education. If ever there was a career that demanded all of you as a human being, it’s teaching. I took horrible care of myself during my first go ‘round. I can’t afford to do that again. It’s bad for me—and my students.

Lastly, directly tied into improving the world, there’s the idea of service. Whether you’re teaching, cooking, singing, parenting—you name it—you can’t serve others effectively if you’re in pieces.

Overall, I’m learning that the greatest key to success lies in honouring my God-given self—body, mind, and soul.

I’m no guru. I’m just a regular woman. And I’ll admit it. I have fewer obligations than most: I’m single and I have no children. However I know that people with a variety of responsibilities can benefit from investing in themselves. I’ve heard them preach it, and I believe it! The more I work at self-care, the more I look forward to seeing what happens.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?