Teacher Reflections: A New Perspective on Self-Care
A New Perspective on Self-Care
by Gaby Flavin May 16, 2020
It’s midday Saturday and I’ve been up bright and early and tackling chores around the house. The things that have annoyed me all week or the things I’ve been working on for a while. I want nothing more than to do the fun things, the creative things, all the other things that are on my many lists of things to do. But. I need to tackle these household chores first so that I can sit down and really throw myself into making up natural threading sets and the four or five small world play sets I am going to be re-launching next week. You see, I'm a full time teacher as well as a small business owner. I wear so many hats while juggling and this can be quite tricky. I often am asked, how do you do all the things? Well, truth be told, I often don't, and I let things slide in different areas. For example the basket of clean folded washing sitting next to the lounge.
If I don't tackle these things ... life, or rather all the things I've put to the side as procrastination overwhelming. It may be one big thing like a mountain of laundry, or it can be many small things that ultimately feel like an avalanche.
So why am I writing this you ask, when I should be doing the things, all the things?
Well, very good question my friend.
I have been thinking all week about myself. Sounds kinda self-absorbed hey?
I've been thinking about my future self, not the self-off-in-the-far-future who would love nothing more than to be retired and sitting on a cozy porch with a warm tea or a hot coffee in hand, feet up, gazing out into the bush while I ponder life …
Not that version of me - the me in a day, or the me in a week - the not-so-distant-future-me.
What would she appreciate?
Would she appreciate it if I put the laundry away right after I fold it ... rather than leave it in the basket.
Would she appreciate me taking the extra time to refill the toilet paper roll holder in the bathroom, even though there is still that new roll I just placed in the holder?
Would she appreciate coming home to be greeted by a tidy sofa with the pillows arranged just so?
Would she like the bed made after I strip the sheets to wash them? So she can crawl into a freshly made bed after a long day?
Would she appreciate me emptying the rubbish bin, and taking out the recycling?
Would she appreciate me going to bed at a reasonable hour instead of falling asleep on the lounge so she can get up more easily in the morning?
That she, that version of me, in the future that is just around the corner, what would she like from me? The version of me right now, who is maybe not quite feeling up to taking that extra little step? I mean if I were staying at someone else's house I would do all those things without even second guessing myself. I would tidy the sofa and I would do the dishes and put them away. I would hold the metaphorical door open for them, but why do I not consider my future self? Why do we so easily put others before ourselves?
Why do we convince ourselves that self-care is taking a bath?
Self-care is far more complicated than this ... I have started to realise that for me its about making decisions that impact my future self in a positive way, and while a bath is a form of self care, it's impact can be fleeting.
Procrastinating is postponing decisions, either for yourself, or someone else - even if that someone else is actually you, the you-in-the-none-too-distant-future.
So I have been asking myself, asking the current version of me, what would future-version-of-me appreciate?
It's not about fancy baths or putting my feet up on the lounge with a glass of wine and putting on a face masque. It's about showing all versions of myself, past, present and future the respect that I deserve from myself.
And to be honest, I’m really starting to appreciate myself more.
If I manage all the things, then there should be more time to do those things I love. Like the glass of wine, with face masque and Schitt's Creek on Netflix or the warm cups of coffee in oversized stoneware mugs.
Present and Future Versions.
Comments from the Original Edition of this Blog on Reflections of an Educator:
So very true. I see my self feeling the same these days. So very difficult to put ones self first when there is so much more to consider and yes do putting others first often, feels as though you are putting you first.
Ps So love Schitts Creek
Sahel Kaur October 24, 2020
I think you have discovered a profound truth, Gaby! I have been on a quasi-minimalism journey for some months now. Decluttering has had a range of effects on my life. I am more mindful in all my actions. I take greater responsibility for my environment. I spend less money. And cleaning, tidying and managing all those daily household chores has become easier.
I am (slowly!) moving to a point where I can better balance my chores/expectations of myself with my personal needs. Today, I failed. I wanted to get the garden ready for winter. I’ve been working on it for several days – the autumn sunshine and mild days have been perfect for it! But today I overdid it.
But when I succeed, I find I am really appreciating my “me time” so much more! Because I am not feeling secretly guilty for ignoring other things I “should” be doing.
Decluttering has really been the impetus for me to make a home that is functional and attractive, but much easier to manage. This path is not for everyone, but in the search for ways to truly be the person you want to be and have the life you want to have, mindfulness (however we practice it) is key.
I admire and respect your willingness to be so open and honest about your personal search for the “future-version-of-me”.
Anne Peters February 02, 2021
Awesome post that makes some good points.
Linda Tandy February 02, 2021