To me it’s cleaning the tub at an earlier hour of the evening. And adjusting the bath pillow just so right to maximize the soaking time. It’s sleeping in shy of noon, without waking up to an alarm without guilt of half a day being wasted in bed. Self care is a day of doing nothing without using any type of electronics for entertainment. It’s having a comfortable reading chair next to a sunny window surrounded by books. It’s also about shutting down the news, for only a day, because this isn’t the time to be too comfortable.
Reading the news is overwhelming. From politics to natural disasters to the rise of normalizing aggressive and mean behavior. And, my heart goes out to everyone affected by wildfires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and mudslides around the world.
A long time ago, I was swindled from my last dollar from a fortune teller. From that experience, I stopped considering fortune tellers, horoscopes and other variations of ‘witch doctor’ magic as serious advice, but they continue to be fun reading sources. Which is why my curiosity wasn’t stopped after reading an article explaining how ancient civilizations viewed solar eclipses as bad omens. As I write this, many people are proclaiming how nature is doing a cleansing.
It would be insensitive to express my desire to hide under my bedsheets, but there are people sleeping on cots without a wall to separate themselves from the world in a shelter, homeless, looking for food, drinking from a stream, and they only have the clothes on their backs.
Anxiety and fear are feelings I wake up to almost every morning. We have to be careful, because stress can quietly harm the body. Responding with healing rituals such as sleeping more, eating well, having a weekly exercise routine and mediating are solutions to fighting stress. Self-care also means scheduling an appointment with a doctor when there’s an internal health problem. These days our social media timelines have the occasional request for health and medical advice. My response is normally the same: “… go see a doctor….” When it comes to anti-science, conservatives may not believe climate change, but liberals quickly spread false health advice and nutritional information. And, there are quite a few holistic healers who could be considered modern witch doctors.
Self-care is about pausing from normal routines to slow our minds and bodies. For some people, cooking is relaxing, for others — such as myself on weekdays — it’s a stressful task, because I would rather come home to relax. Which is why recipes lasting for a few days, are on my list of favorite weekday recipes. What I love about the Sundried Tomato Chicken Salad, is the variations of serving it over a short period of time: Inside charred taco shells with sharp cheese, with tomatoes and avocado slices on a sandwich, spooned into a the cavity of half an avocado, scooped over multigrain crackers, or tossed with lettuce as a green salad. This recipe makes a large bowl of chicken salad, which means I can quickly make a meal and continue resting my mind and body for a few days. Eating chicken salad over a period of time is boring. But when you don’t want to cook and extra money was donated to charities helping communities affected by natural disasters, this Sundried Tomato Chicken Salad is a luxurious, low-cost meal.
Slow down. Shut down. Turn it all off. Reduce the stress. By any means possible. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe the next month will get better. Who knows where we will be one year from now. No body is a fortune teller. For many affected by natural disasters, these are unfortunate times. Sometimes, self-care is simply about spending time with and helping unfortunate victims get up to speed back into their normal routines.