I practice self-care 11 simple ways every day, and it's not always pretty.

Practicing self-care is harder than it looks in this messy life.

The bathroom is my special place. When I sit on the toilet and read articles about 100 ways to change my life, I feel empowered and ready to shake my world upside down.

Then I lock my iPhone and leave the bathroom … and I fall right back into wishing I could just sulk in a corner.

Especially as the adult child of an alcoholic, a lot of people advise me to figure out how to put myself first. Family, friends, and professionals want me to learn to love myself in ways that I didn’t learn during all the years when caring for an addict took precedence.


"Close your eyes in the steam of hot lemon water. Sink into your warrior pose while reflecting on the ocean’s tide. Just take deeper breaths and count to 10 to conquer the world’s pain."

Photo via iStock.

I know the authors of these articles mean well, but sometimes I don’t think they understand how hard it is to make self-care a priority. Most days, grabbing hold of my "self" feels like trying to grab fistfuls of air, not breathing as calmly as an ocean tide.

Instead of drawing a bubble bath or lighting a candle or writing down my thoughts and dreams in a journal, I’m more focused on making baby steps in caring for myself. Here are a few:

1. Getting up on the right side of the bed is a big deal.

Most days, I don’t want to cuddle a kitten. On the days when it’s easier to smile, it’s a really good day. Sometimes my self-care is cherishing those days.

2. Instead of dreaming of all the things I'll get around to in my next life, I have to pick one small thing a day.

Waiting for the next cymbal to crash wipes me out. In my next life, I’ll color 50 shades of happiness in my adult coloring book. And then I’ll hang it on my fridge to show off to all my cheerful dinner guests.

But in this life, faking Pinterest-style perfection is exhausting. Instead, I’ve started getting to know my personal energy levels and choosing my daily activities based on how much "gas" is in my tank. I want to be a hustler and say yes to everything, but I have to know if today is a day where taking care of myself also means taking a nap.

3. I'm great at telling someone else, "Go love yourself." Now I need to take my own advice.

I could have written those articles about 100 ways to change your life. I might even inspire you to learn to love yourself because I’m a champ at doling out expert advice. But taking my own advice is an entirely different game.

Whenever I feel like stuffing my emotions away with dozens of Oreos, I remind myself that I’m committed to living out what I write.

Photo via iStock.

I want you to read who I am on the screen and then meet the same person in real life.

4. I'm addicted to someone else’s addiction. I probably need to implement my own recovery plan.

Honest moment: I’m afraid of what my life would look like without the rush of implementing great recovery plans for someone else, like my dad who struggles with addiction.

But truthfully, I know that self-care starts with putting my whole self first. I’m learning how to make my own recovery plans, including a rush of adrenaline while working out to the perfect pump-up playlist.

5. "It is what it is" helps me move forward.

I picked up on this phrase as a little girl, and for me, it became one of those sayings your kid repeats in the backseat so many times you wish they'd never heard it.

Believing in change requires a huge shift in my stale and stubborn mind, but remembering that "it is what it is" allows me to recognize what I can’t control and then focus on what I can.

6. I will learn to trust that good things can actually stick.

This is kind of the idea that every good book comes to an end. I always wonder: Why should I fall in love with these characters when they’re going to leave me on the last page anyways? I think this has a lot to do with my dad’s story and growing up with an alcoholic parent.

Instead, I have to work on trusting in chapters of goodness, like when joining a book club is fulfilling and reading a book gives me happiness in the moment — it’s not just a countdown until our relaxing times together end.

7. I’ll figure out how I like my eggs or other little things about my identity.

In the movie "Runaway Bride," Julia Roberts’ character has a father who drinks too much. She lost her identity in the process of trying to save him, so she always just likes whatever kind of eggs her boyfriend at the time liked.

Photo via iStock.

Self-care requires knowing what would help me. I can’t love myself if I’ve never taken the time to figure out who I am. It turns out I like my eggs over easy. Like my grandma always said, "Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it."

8. Life doesn’t have to feel so serious.

I picked up a briefcase around the age of 10, and the weight of the world felt comfortable in my little hands. I made myself grow up too quickly, mostly so I could stay out of the way and not make any more waves.

But I think I missed the step where you roll down the hill and get grass stains, so sometimes it’s hard as an adult to kick back and get a good belly laugh. I forget that life is more than filing my taxes while sitting up straight in my leather chair. When I know I need a deep laugh, I go out to dinner with a friend who knows me to my core and can pull out a memory that leaves me sculpting those six-pack abs.

9. I've made it a habit to expect the worst. And, you know what they say: Old habits die hard.

I’ve come to expect disappointment to walk through the door. Hearts have this crazy power to shape habits. And broken hearts have this bad habit of wanting to stay broken.

Sometimes I think that stories about miracles and people overcoming adversities are only written about other people, and quotes that tell me to OVERCOME just annoy me. That’s just not me. Making it a habit to expect good things to happen will start with believing with my whole heart that I actually deserve good things. For me, I go for a walk and listen to audiobooks that encourage me and keep my mind from wandering to self-destructing places.

10. I’ll stop waiting for someone else to bring me flowers.

This past year, I had a roommate who nurtured her plants every day. This felt completely foreign to me. But when someone told me to go buy flowers for myself and make it a habit to care for those flowers, I started thinking about it differently.

Image via iStock.

In fact, this is one of those cliches that actually kind of works for me. I never realized how much I was sitting back and waiting for someone to knock on my door and deliver beauty on a silver platter. Inviting beauty into my daily life takes effort and patience and persistence. But one day at a time, I’m learning how to water these flowers and watch them grow.

11. Learning to love myself will require repetition over time to make it a new daily habit.

Over time, I’ve caught this heart bug where I tell myself I’m not worthy of a life where I love myself and love my life. I want to check off every single item on the list of 101 ways to change my life instead of trying to make one new self-care habit that I can actually stick to.

So my advice? Just do one thing. Because one small thing — not 100 — can help change one day. And one day at a time, that’s enough.

I want to learn to love myself and make self-care a priority.

I want to be addicted to love, like the good kind of habits and the real kinds of love.

For today, though, I’ll reflect on taking one little step at a time while reading on the toilet. Realistically, that one step for me is probably dancing to a new Katy Perry song: "I won’t just survive. Oh, you will see me thrive."

Don’t judge :)

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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