Taking Care of Myself

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I had plans to write about racism next (okay, like a tiny element of racism), or Catholic hospital takeovers. Those are both pretty important things. Frankly, they’re way more important things than what I’ve written about so far (spoiler alert: or what I am about to write about today). I totally want to write about those things and I will at some point. I have a feeling (unfortunately) neither of those issues is going away, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I’m going to be able to keep up with this blog like I’m hoping to is to write what is on my mind more or less as it is on my mind. Being consistent is hard enough for me as is. So I’m going a different direction and we’ll wait for inspiration to strike again on those other cheerful topics. I promise when I am back in school (next week) and in that mindset more, these sorts of topics will very probably come up a good deal more frequently. Try to contain your excitement, please. Instead, I’m just going to talk about my upcoming quarter and my preparations. Which is the most exciting thing, I know.

Today I had my orientation with our local Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Center. We worked out what my schedule is going to be. I’m going to be there Monday through Thursday from 9am to noon, which should give me a few minutes to grab lunch before running to my 12:30 classes (the school is more or less right up the road). I will be in class till either 3:30 or 4:30, depending on the day. It’ll almost be like working full time again, except with higher stress and homework when I get home. I’ve been giving this consideration all day. Due to my perfectionist nature (see previous post), school tends to be very stressful for me. I have not typically made an intentional practice of taking very good care of myself, because that is not something that I am very good at. However, I will have a lot on my plate this quarter. The workload will be fairly heavy and it’ll probably be somewhat draining.

I do want to mention some upsides to all of this, because I have a tendency to focus on the negatives. First and foremost, it is consistent. I do much better with a consistent schedule and I have struggled the last couple of quarters with having an inconsistent one. This will allow me to get up at basically the same time every morning and know more or less where I need to be all of the time. Even if I have a lot going on, that does help me a whole lot. My supervisor is great, I feel like we get along well together. There are some exciting opportunities possibly coming up this quarter that he’s interested in my help on, including possibly starting an LGBT youth support group in our area and I would love to be involved in something like that. There’s definitely a lot to be excited about.

However, the biggest thing I want to focus on here is what I can do this quarter to be nice to myself to try and avoid going crazy. I have never, ever done this before. Generally I just sort-of jump headlong into things and then… well, possibly break down a bit later but the truth is that I don’t have time for all of that, especially if it’s something I can avoid. So I’m going to try to announce here, ahead of time, some things I’m going to make a conscious effort to do this quarter to take care of myself, in the hopes that it’ll give me more accountability. I’m doing this for myself and also for the people who know me and are fond of me and, as fond of me as they are, probably would really like to not have to pick up emotional pieces of me over the next 10 weeks (and let’s be clear, shouldn’t have to if it can possibly be avoided).

1. Sleep

This is something I screw myself over on a lot. I don’t typically have insomnia or anything but I love to talk to people and it is hard for me to turn off the computer if I’m having a good conversation or one I feel is important. I like being connected all the time. Switching off is tough. That said, I have the opportunity with this really consistent schedule, to be on a really consistent sleep schedule. Which is really, really good for me. I don’t even have to go to bed early, for heaven’s sake! If I have to be at the center at 9, then I don’t need to get up until 8. Midnight is my new bedtime this quarter, that’s the goal.

2. Food

Maybe sign language will help me….

So this is an issue for about the past year. One (possibly more?) of the meds I’m on is an appetite suppressant and I’m just… not hungry most of the time. Apparently that does not mean that your body has ceased to need food. Who knew? So, especially when I’m trying to focus and my poor brain is trying to remember all of the important things, apparently it does all of that way better if it has food. SCIENCE. Sigh. Just seems like so much work. Okay, okay. So I am saying here that I will bring something to eat between classes, even if it is just like an apple and some crackers. Apparently diet coke doesn’t count as food? Look guys, I swear I’m trying to do better. This is part of why I really do need to learn to cook (again, see previous post) so that I actually have food that I can theoretically easily pack and bring places. That’s a thing, right? People make easy to pack and bring places food? I think? Look, the point is that I will eat something. That’s what I’m saying.

3. Movies


I realize that for most people this may not count as self-care but for people who know me, you know it does. A theater is pretty much the only place where I can turn off and focus exclusively on one thing. It can actually be a pretty huge thing for me to go see a movie when I’m super stressed. So I’m going to try, although I’m not making a hard and fast commitment because otherwise my perfectionist self will get caught up on the commitment, to go about once a week or so.

4. Books

I’ve been giving this one some thought. Last quarter I didn’t read anything at all that wasn’t for school and I don’t actually think that was great for me. However, I don’t think I keep up on things myself when school is running. For a little while I had a very small book club with a few friends. We went through about one book a month, that was pretty much the only book I read but I did read it and then I got to talk about it with them. I talked with a friend today about possibly reading a book with her and I got so excited about that idea that I may just start hunting down people who will read things with me. I mean, rather than make anyone form a book club in an official sense. Even if I can only read a book a month, I think it’s good for me to have something else to occupy my brain in a different way, it makes me feel accomplished and I really do enjoy it. So you know. Friends. Be warned. 😛

5. Blogging

It has yet to be determined whether keeping up with this will be a helpful thing or another project that will stress me out or possibly a bit of both. However, I think it has at least the potential to be good for me on a number of levels and so far I am enjoying myself. I am narcissistic enough to enjoy pretending people like to read about me, obviously. As the quarter goes on, I think it might be good for me to have a writing outlet that is entirely separate from school and such. So right now I’m going to include it and reserve the right later to skip several weeks for finals or have a very public meltdown on site, explaining how I was totally crazy and this was the worst idea I ever had in my life. It’ll be cool. You have to stick around for that.

6. Walking

I had a whole quarter where I walked pretty regularly and it was nice. Good for my brain and all. I again, am not going to set myself hardcore “this is how often you must do this” things but as my schedule becomes clearer, I am going to see how that might fit in. It tends to give me a chance to clear my head which I often need.

7. TAKE BREAKS

I am really bad at this one and with homework, it has been known to drive me practically to the verge of nervous breakdown. I will not understand why nothing makes sense to me anymore and I feel like I’m about to cry and I can’t possibly do anything and omg omg omg, I’m going to die, I can’t do this and oh. I’ve been working for 5 hours and I haven’t eaten or you know. Moved. From this spot. Seriously, my ADD brain is so hyperfocused, it’s considering having me kill myself just for a change of scenery. It’s not well thought out. I think this quarter I will actually take the advice of my former therapist and start setting alarms on my phone. Every 30 minutes, need it or not, I will get up and… I don’t know. I’ve been using cigarettes for enforced breaks but I don’t really want to smoke every 30 minutes. Maybe I’ll walk around the block and get my walking out of the way too. 😛 Look, this one is still in progress. The point is that I’ll make myself move. All of my friends who usually have to get those text messages from me will probably thank me.

8. Friends

LOOK HOW CUUUUUUTE

This really isn’t something I’d generally do without. Even when I want to deny it, I usually have to grudgingly admit I need people at this point. But I do have my moments of hyper-stress when I go into trying to isolate and such. It’s always a bad tactic and it never works out super well for me or my friends (who are remarkably understanding and wonderful people). I cannot promise not to do that but I’m saying in advance that I’m going to really intentionally try not to. I’ve become more aware of the tendency and we’ll see if that helps… you know. Fix it.

9. Breathe

Every picture for breathe is corny, which is appropriate because it’s kind-of a corny sentiment but I’m entirely serious about it in a totally literal way. I cannot count the number of times over summer quarter I had to walk outside and just stand there reminding myself to breathe in an actual healthy, deep breaths kind of way, while I figured out how to break down the overwhelming work load I had into manageable chunks. So I’m going to try to preempt all this and practice. I will feel silly and so be it. Silly is much better than panicky, in case you have ever wondered.

10. I will ask for help

I hate this one. If it was not for my intense love of multiples of 5, I would currently be thinking of reasons to keep this off the list but as it is… sigh. I am apparently not superwoman and apparently I can’t do everything by myself and I’m about to do a whole lot of things this quarter that I’ve never done before and my supervisor is going to tell me that I can always ask him things and come to him for help and my default is going to be smile and nod and say “of course” and do everything in my power to never do that and that is a default that I need to probably get rid of. So I am going to do my very best to ask for help when I need it. Even though I hate it. And don’t want to. And really think I shouldn’t need to at all. Sigh. Isn’t growing up the worst?

On the upside, look at the new bag I got today! Owls!

Owls

So that’s it, peeps. Very long entry. School starts in a week. Any other genius ideas on things I should be considering are welcome and appreciated. This is just my public announcement to keep me honest. We’ll see how it goes. I promise something shorter in a few days.

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4 thoughts on “Taking Care of Myself

  1. You are amazing. It’s like a culmination of things all your friends (including me!) have been telling you with lots of insights of your own and all good things you should definitely be doing while in school.

  2. Hell yes, dude! This all seems so positive and great. I will help you in any way I can (which will let’s face it, PROBABLY just be guilting you to get off the computer once a week)

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