Whew, your girl is back! I started 2022 with a blog post and immediately after the post, life really start life”ing”. It seemed like every time I turned around life was saying, “You think things are bad?. Ha, there’s more where that’s coming from.” It got to a point where people started mistaking my numbness for strength. I went through a phase where I’m not sure if I couldn’t feel or just refused to feel. In the midst of it all, I tried my best to take care of my health in some capacity. On those days, I couldn’t focus on my physical health, I read books and took myself away so I could focus on my mental health. On the days I couldn’t focus on my mental health, I would go outside and walk, 100 things going on in my head, but I was still getting exercise and sunlight. And the cycle just kept repeating itself. I tried Self Care Sundays, which have been effective by the way. I set a goal to read more books to escape my own pain and find some joy, even if it was in the life of a fictional character. I looked high and low to find some source of happiness or joy.
During this entire process, I kept trying to find things that would help me improve my mood, define my purpose and even repurpose my pain. If ever I wanted to try something new, this was the season. Failure didn’t phase me during this time. I would attribute it to me being in that season of life. I tried a variety of things, and here I am a year later implementing those things into my regimen. While most people flock from social media when they are going through things in life, I am grateful I was able to find resources on social media to help me through and through.
The first thing I always look to do in the midst of my storms is exercise. I started going to a Mixed Fit class with a friend. While I enjoyed that time with her, the twerking thing was not in my spirit. I could not handle all the backsides wiggling and jiggling around the class. The gym then opened the Zumba classes back up, so I did Zumba for a while, but my track schedule started to interfere with the class time. So for a while, the only exercise I was doing was walking/running. While I enjoy this, the same routine, on the same route, became very mundane. Then, I came across a Pilates class nearby and decided to give it a try. There were so many benefits to Pilates. It was calm, slow, relaxing, and the classes allowed me to come at my leisure. I enjoy the stretching and activating of muscles I rarely use to ensure my body is getting proper movement to stay mobile for years to come. I recently incorporated some new trails into my running routine, and just a change of scenery has done wonders for my overall health.
Of course, my second indulgence was reading. I read so much during school hours, over the last few years I started denying myself the opportunity to read for pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, some kid’s books make my soul happy, but reading material for adult audiences can really change your mood. When Eric Jerome Dickey passed away, I went and grabbed any books I did not have in my collection from the stores. For years, I had been a fan, but fell off . When he passed away, the devotee in me had to pay homage to this legend by ensuring I had all of his books in my collection. Have I read them? Nope! I actually started reading the likes of Jasmine Guillory and she has kept me occupied. I am now on my last book written by her and I have been able to fall in love with the characters and their fairy-tale, happy ending stories. In between reading all of Guillory’s books, I read The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. This book was definitely out of my norm, but whew, she made me stretch my imagination and thirst for me until it ended.
I gave myself grace and gifts. I stopped trying to be “on” at all times. I truly let myself fall apart and allowed myself to understand it was okay to fall apart as long as I remembered to put myself back together. I started taking mental health breaks in the middle of the work day. I would shut down and make space to regroup and recharge. I also started literally giving myself flowers. Growing up, I was never a fan of flowers. I was not going to stop and smell the roses. Now, I find flowers in an assortment of colors that are appealing to me. I love color and that in itself is satisfying to me. I have started gifting myself flowers to represent self love, the thoughtfulness I have for myself in regards to who I am and what I have achieved, and as a reminder to extend some compassion to myself.
One of my biggest adjustments was skin care. We often hear, “When you look good, you feel good.” However, when you feel good, it motivates you even more to look good. Most people think facial products when they hear skin care, but I wanted my entire body to feel silky smooth. Self Care Sundays started with a bubble bath. I then started doing a mask every Sunday and from there I added exfoliating, serum and vitamin E oil along with my cleansing to my face routine. I also added body butters and started using my perfume in my nighttime routine. Slowly, I created an oasis that allowed me to start my week in a perfect peace. Turned out the lights, and lit a candle like Teddy Pendergrass had been telling us to do for years. After a good workout, relaxing my body in this manner was the real deal.
Finding new things to take care of my mental, emotional and physical health has been gratifying. It has allowed me to release so many of the negative things, and remember to be more hopeful and more appreciative of the good things. As we enter a brand new month, I am holding on to the joys of life.
How’s life treating you? Has it been as promised? Has life been the way it is? No matter your situations, remember that life is life and it behaves like life.