If I were stranded on a desert island, the three things I’d undoubtedly bring with me are: Nate (to keep me sane), my brother-in-law (to get us off the island or, at the very least, help Nate keep me alive), and my Nook. That last one is super obvious to almost everyone that knows me.
I get asked fairly often what I’m reading, and if I have any recommendations — usually by friends who are looking either for a romance/erotica or personal development read, which tend to be my most often read genres. I find the combination of the two to be amusing, but it sort of makes sense if you think about it: romance and erotica novels explore our deepest human relationships, mostly with others; personal development books explore our deepest human relationship — the relationship we have with ourselves. Put the two together, and you get a pretty well rounded library.
But I also read a fair amount of other books, and thought it would be cool to offer a list of my most recommended books across several genres, romance/erotica and personal development included, in case any of you were interested.
How has the pregnancy gone so far? I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I’ve really enjoyed (and have been very lucky throughout) this entire pregnancy. And overall, things are still smooth sailing with one exception. Last week, I took a minor spill (because the change in my center of gravity has made me clumsy af) on the sidewalk, hit mostly hands and knees but did bump my belly a bit. Cried profusely because it was scary, my hands ached like a bitch, and my toe was bleeding. Called Nate and cried some more because what if I had caused some real damage? What if it wasn’t just a scraped knee and a bleeding toe? What if, what if, what if? Then really started sobbing when I felt Baby Boy being his normal mobile self.
If there’s one thing I know pretty well, it’s the struggle to practice self-care. I mean, it’s taken some long, hard hours of reflection and brainstorming to even come up with self-care practices for myself, let alone actually regularly practice them. This has been something I’ve focused a lot on this year as part of my theme of getting back to what’s Essential — happiness, health, and a simple but well-lived life…all things that — surprise! — a self-care practice can support.
But it’ll only work if it’s actually things you want to do. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Then ohmygod why was this so hard for me to do?
I think part of the challenge was that for so long I tried to make other people’s self-care practices my own — things I’d read in books, recommendations I’d gotten from courses, or the typical suggestions that often float around the life coaching/coachee world. But the truth is not all self-care practices are a one-size fits all, so they won’t feel like self-care practices to you. And guess what? If they don’t, that’s totally okay. Just move on to the next! Sometimes you can tell right away — usually because the thought of doing it feels about as exciting watching paint dry…there’s no feeling of “Yeah, that needs to happen like, yesterday.” And then sometimes the self-care suggestions you read about may sound appealing after all, so you give it a try. But for some reason, using it just doesn’t feel natural. You don’t think of doing it in those moments when you probably need it the most, so they instead become this thing that you’re not doing right, that you’re failing at, and that must mean the whole self-care thing is a giant bag of crap altogether, right?
Here’s the thing: the easiest self-care practice you can create starts by taking the activities you already love, the ones that really refresh + replenish you and don’t just feel like more commitments to check off your to-do list (that last one’s huge), and building a go-to list around those.
So here’s my own list of self-care practices that I use on those days/weeks I’m feeling either a little blah and a whole lotta run down.
How has the pregnancy gone so far? The last few weeks haven’t been easy, and on Sunday I had my first official hormone-induced breakdown. In the shower, no less. Things have just been so busy and I feel like there hasn’t been time to just sit and breathe. We’ve been on go-mode for weeks now and I finally just needed to get all the anxiety and exhaustion out of my system. Cue me sobbing in the shower and Nate not know what to do to help other than to give me a massage (which, turns out, helped a ton).
This post was inspired by a similar post written by Dee Bordenkircher for Season 4 of Stratejoy’s guest bloggers. If you haven’t checked out Stratejoy yet, I so encourage you to go and do that like, right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. ♡
First, gather the ingredients | brown hair, brown eyes, skin that burns before going brown too. A handful of whatever you would typically add to a “mixed plate” in Hawai’i. Big, loving family, fondness for romance novels, self-deprecating humor, and indie folk songs played in minor chords. Extra large portion of introversion and driving need to be in the country. Insatiable lust for travel, deep conversations and Diet Coke. Pinch of stubbornness, to taste.
You’ll need a solid — though misaligned — dish, and then a secondary, more free-form way to hold everything together once the first dish breaks. Always be prepared.