November brings with it cooler weather, leaves of gold and the feeling of thanks in the air. It’s the perfect time to begin a practice of gratitude. You Know Neen is hosting the 2nd Annual 30 Days of Gratitude blog series, a place where the experience of gratitude will be explored and shared. I, along with several other contributors will be sharing our thoughts on all things gratitude.
Written by: Melisa Wells
I am not the only person who has had a horrible 2016, not by a long shot. Ask eight out of ten people (not a scientific number or based on any actual fact: I literally just made that up) and you will get eight different stories of nearly-year-long heartache and personal turmoil. For me, the downward spiral began with the unexpected loss of my beagle in February and the hits just kept coming, including my husband’s serious hit and run cycling accident last month (he’s recovering nicely, thank goodness).
The thing about being a control freak like me is that when just about everything starts to spin out of control, the need to find something to latch onto—ANYTHING—is suffocating. Yesterday I dragged myself to my barre workout at a time that I despise (4:30pm, at the end of my work day, blech) and declared to my instructor friend that my attendance at that class was the only thing I could control at the moment so I was going for it. For me, yesterday, it was the most I could do and that was enough.
While it’s easy for me to look at all of the icky stuff I’ve been slogging through this year, I am able to find gratitude for certain things, and for that I’m grateful. (See what I did there?) One of my best qualities is that I’m usually one of those half-full, Pollyanna, optimistic types: many of my loved ones depend on it and it’s a role I’m happy to fill.
Still, this year has kicked my butt.
I’m not letting it take me all the way down, though. A silver lining from all of this is that while I have practiced self-care in moderation before, I’m clinging onto it as of late. When I am asked to do something or go somewhere, I am more careful to say no—and refuse to feel badly about it—if it’s something that I feel might add stress to my world.
I don’t protest when my husband suggests that perhaps I should just hang out on the couch for a few hours and relax. I call my best friend when I need a laugh or a little assistance with mentally closing some tabs. I’m walking daily and getting to my barre class a couple of times a week. I spray my pillow with lavender. I go to bed earlier when I can. I make time for my favorite television shows. I’m always looking for little things I can do that give me a little boost, and I’m pretty proud of that commitment to myself.
Two things I have recently added to my self-care repertoire are trying to stay off of social media on the weekends and drinking more water and tea during the day. I feel better just taking those actions. I’ve got some face masks on standby, as well as some Lush bath products my psychic best friend sent for my birthday, so that self-care train is definitely leaving the station this weekend.
I’m going to be fine. And so are you. For that, I’m grateful.
Melisa Wells is a wife, mom of two grown sons, author, and Type A control freak. She is a freelance writer who also blogs at Suburban Scrawl (http://suburbanscrawl.com), co-produces Listen To Your Mother Chicago (http://listentoyourmothershow.com/chicago), and works on the social media and events teams for BlogHer/SheKnows (http://blogher.com)…and now maybe you know why self-care is a thing here. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @MelisaLW.
What do you do to practice self care? Does it help you find gratitude? Join us for five more days of 30 Days of Gratitude – Get the posts in your inbox! Click on the “Subscribe by Email” tab at the top of this page, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.