The past year has been pretty rough for a lot of us, as we see our country rapidly spiraling into the Republic of Gilead, thanks to the absolute shitshow that was the 2016 election cycle. We’ve watched as women’s rights and privileges are chopped away, and we have a giant toddler in the Oval Office who openly brags about grabbing us by the pussy. For many women in America, this has been extremely triggering, and we’re teetering on the raggedy edge of our own sanity. This is why now, more than ever before, self care is so damn important.
What is self care? Well, it’s not just physical actions – it’s also a mindset that acknowledges that it’s perfectly okay to take care of your own needs and wants. Allowing yourself the gift of self care allows you to be a functional and mentally healthy human being – and you’ll find that as you take care of your own needs more, you’ll be better equipped to deal with all the drama and rage that’s lingering in the external world. In short, self care allows for a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
If you’re Pagan, and the sacred feminine is a part of your spiritual belief system, tapping into that energy can be especially gratifying for women. After all, if you accept the idea of polarity in the divine, and the power of womanhood, why not find a way to incorporate that into your self care regimen? ESPECIALLY during this chaotic and turbulent period that many of us refer to as Tower Time.
So, what can you do? There are any number of things you can try, but here are a few of my personal favorite methods of self care.
There are a number of goddesses associated with the home and hearth, including Brighid and Hestia, and there’s something magical about the act of creation when it comes to meal preparation. Plan out a meal in advance, shop for all the necessary components, and do so mindfully. Think about what you’re putting into your body, and focus your attention on chopping, grinding, dicing, and stirring.
Turn on your favorite music as you work – for me, cook time is often accompanied by 90s Alternative on Pandora cranked up to 11 – and make sure your workspace is thoroughly tidied before you even start. Fill a sink with soapy water so you can wash pans and utensils as you go – this means less stress after your meal, because there’s little to no cleanup involved.
If you live alone, don’t worry about it – you’re still allowed to prepare a delicious meal from scratch even if you’re eating for one. I give you permission right here and now to treat yourself well!
My dog, Bandit, is an 80-pound coonhound mix, and he’s the love of my life. There are times when I’m stressed and frazzled and he just KNOWS and makes things better. I’ve discovered that taking him for a walk or run around the neighborhood helps me a lot. I leave my phone at home so no one texts or calls me and I’m not tempted to check Facebook as I’m out exploring with him. It’s good for both of us, and because he’s hilarious, he often ends up in my apartment complex’s pond trying to catch geese, with me trying to reel him back in. We both end up wet and muddy, and you know what? It’s GOOD.
On days when we’re not feeling like a walk or run, I sometimes just lay beside him on the floor or couch. He’ll stretch out along the entire length of my body, his big goofy dog nose resting against my face, breathing softly as I rub his belly. Before I know it, we’re both calm and relaxed, because there’s nothing quite like the love of a good dog.
Get Your Ass In Gear
Okay, okay, I know. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious the LAST thing you want to do is go to the gym. Me too. But I’ve learned that there’s nothing quite as amazing as the way I feel when I’ve banged out a mile or two on the treadmill (I use the Zombies, Run app, which is a riot), put in four on the cycle, and get a good hour on the weight machines. Pro tip: Spotify has some kickass workout playlists, and anything with Pitbull songs on it makes me want to do 400 reps of EVERYTHING.
Learn to Say No
Can you please:
- Run the PTO meeting next Tuesday?
- Take the kids to soccer practice every night this week?
- Chair a meeting of the book club?
- Plan the class reunion for June?
- Organize a charity fundraiser?
What? You’ll do ALL of them, because you hate to say no? GREAT!
No. Just NO. Repeat after me: NO.
If it makes you feel better, NO, I’M AFRAID I DON’T HAVE THE TIME AVAILABLE TO DO THIS EFFECTIVELY.
Learn to say no. That shit is liberating. Stop saying yes. Someone else will handle it. Let it gooooooo.
Reflection, Prayer, and Meditation
For the love of Medusa’s muffins, you’ve got goddesses and gods you work with, don’t you? Call upon them and petition them for calming energy – or warrior energy, depending on what you’ve got going on – and ask them for assistance. Send out a hello to let them know you’re still alive and functional. Offer them a prayer of gratitude if they’ve gotten you through tough times. Ground, center, and shield. Meditate and communicate. The Divine is out there for us, both in good times and bad, so why are you not reaching out to them? Do it – connect with them again, remember why you chose to walk with them in the first place, and draw strength and fortitude from them.