Yesterday is my new starting point.
I woke up and the first thing I thought was “if not now, then when?” and got out of bed. Thursday night I had set my alarm to 7:30 am for Friday morning and my intention was to wake up and try to accomplish some self-care related goals I had set previously. To decide how to set these goals I decided to find loose guidelines and figure out what I could do that would work for me both immediately and in the future. Wikipedia states that self-care relevant to health care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. In philosophy, self-care refers to the care and cultivation of self in a comprehensive sense, focusing in particular on the soul and the knowledge of self. The funny thing about self-care, at least in my experience, is that if I don’t actually set aside time to do specific things they will not get done. Life is so busy and stressful that the thought of doing something deliberately only for myself seems so selfish when I could be doing something else to benefit more than just myself. As a result, I often don’t. So basically if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.
I went to the gym yesterday for the first time in 297 days. 297!!!! It seems crazy to me but when I scanned my gym card into their system, a low alarm sounded and the guy at the desk gave me this shocking fact and welcomed me back. It was only slightly embarrassing as regular gym members (I can only assume) surrounded me. Undeterred, I made it to the 8:30 yoga class. I have taken yoga classes before but this one seemed different. Every pose I took I tried to be mindful of my breathing and reminded myself that I was setting aside this block of time specifically for self-care reasons. Instead of being upset when I could not hold a pose through the instructor’s count, I was happy to be stretching and improving my body. When she told me to do a Cobra Pose and lift my heart to the sky, her words genuinely made me feel better and as I stretched deeper and lifted my heart to the sky I felt my worries lessen and my heart actually feel lighter. I was terrible at maintaining a plank because my core is so weak, I used two yoga mats because I was afraid the floor would hurt my knees/spine, and when we had finished even my toes hurt from the unfamiliarity of being stretched apart and having to hold up my heavy body- but none of that mattered because I was doing it for myself and know in my heart I was doing my best and there will only be room to improve.
When the class was over the next class was almost immediately starting and women began to walk into the room and spread out. Out of curiosity, I asked a woman walking in about it and she told me it was a Les Mills Bodypump cardio weightlifting class and then exclaimed “you should stay!” so I did. Something about the energy in the room that these women brought made me feel like it would be worth staying for. I went up to the instructor and told her I was new and asked her about the equipment I should get ready to prepare for the class. She happily informed me of the necessary things I would need and throughout the class was extra helpful offering instructions generally to the class and also to any new participants for modifications or weight guidelines to prevent injury. I really appreciated the consideration and I really enjoyed the class.
As I was leaving, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. 297 days out of the gym and I still had the stamina to complete two hour long classes and felt great. I weighed myself and I’m 218.6 lbs now with a 34.1 BMI. This was not the super accurate electrical BMI calculator, so this number could vary in the future but I’ll use it for now. Ideally, I would like to be 168 lbs, so here is my new starting point. A new starting point for weight loss, a new starting point for this blog, a new starting point to an era of self-care habits that I hope will last me my whole life through.
After the class was completed I went home to try to focus more on my self-care goals. I came home and took a relaxing shower, making sure to use all my extra girly self-care products. I cleaned the bath tub knowing that at some point in the near future I would like to take a bath.
I took the time to look up Youtube videos of blowout tutorials and gave myself one. If my arms weren’t going to hurt from working out, they certainly felt like they might fall off after the over an hour it took to carefully section and round brush blow dry all of my hair while holding a heavy blow dryer. Holding my arms up for so long seemed endless and like torture after a while but I guess it was worth it. I did feel super glam afterward.
I had an amazing hour-plus long video chat with my bestie that recently moved 1,500 miles away from me. I enjoyed some protein-packed cottage cheese with pineapple while I watched some How I Met Your Mother. A package I had ordered from Sephora was delivered and I opened it and spent time excitedly trying out my new products. I gave and received tons of love from my puppies.
A paradigm shift is occurring in my life and I can feel it. I had a wonderful day filled with joy trying to live deliberately focusing on myself, my health and my happiness. I know it is not always practical to do so, but I realize it is necessary to sometimes set aside time for anything I may want to do that would contribute to my overall mental and physical wellbeing. I urge you to do the same. I hope it will bring you the happiness and satisfaction of knowing that you are worth every second you decide to invest in yourself and I hope your self-care practices will align with your big picture goals and dreams as well. I wish you the best of luck.
As George Eliot said, “it is never too late to be what you might have been”.