A few months back, I had an interesting exchange with my friend’s mother. We talked about my upcoming summer vacation and I told her how excited I was to go to Europe, especially since my memories and pictures of a previous trip continue to make me so happy. She told me that her daughter, who is several years older than me and single, had gone on a similar trip a couple summers before, and she was also blown away and rejuvenated. “But,” she concluded, “I encourage my daughter to save her money rather than spend it on something like that.”
This got me thinking about self-care and our relationship with using resources for the sake of our own enjoyment. It can be hard to get comfortable doing nice things for ourselves! Especially since we know so many other people who could benefit from our time or money. But the truth is, we all have needs, whether we like to admit it or not — physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual — and we pretty much have three options as far as getting them met:
1) hoping someone figures out what we need and comes swooping in to provide it,
2) hinting, nagging, or otherwise pressuring others to care for us (consciously or unconsciously), which they will do until they can get to the nearest exit, or
3) caring for ourselves.
So it seems that the best plan, really, for happy adulthood is to take responsibility for getting to know and meet our own needs. That’s not to say that we have to stop needing or wanting a support system. It just means that the responsibility for our well-being lies with us, not those around us. And, when we do make sure to get our needs met, that has an effect on our level of joy, patience and energy — which shows at work, in friendships, and on dates.
Over the years, I’ve tried out different things that have helped me feel cared for and rejuvenated, including: fairly regular facials, and every so often, a massage or pedicure. I’ve joined various exercise classes/gym memberships, and at one point belonged to a book club (hey, that was fun!). I really enjoy goal-oriented learning programs that include homework assignments (for example, the shidduchim teleconference with Mrs. M’nucha Bialik), so I’m currently in the market for a new one, as the teleconference just ended. Then there are the much bigger things (i.e. travel), the medium (such as solo or group outings), and the small, everyday gifts (like a schnitzel wrap at the end of a long day). And my blog! Writing has been an awesome outlet!
So what do you do to take care of the special person who is you? 😉
P.S. Check out this graphic.