When I took my first contract at the University of Chicago, it was right before the pandemic shut everything down. Back then, I didn’t do a lot of extra things for myself. I got my hair cut and colored about twice a year and would occasionally paint my own nails. I didn’t wear much makeup and it had been forever since I had even thought about wearing perfume.
During the beginning stages of the shut downs, things often felt very bleak. Besides learning what it meant to reuse PPE over and over, we also were wearing N95 masks for a full 12 hours shift. Now, I’m a person who sweats…frequently…while working. I wear a headband just to keep the sweat out of my eyes while taking care of my patients. So you can imagine what it was like having to wear a plastic gown over my clothing, N95, regular mask over the N95 to protect it, cap over my hair…lets just say I often felt like I was wearing a wet suit. Like many other people, I was having acne like a 16 year old, I was tired and worn out, and the stress and anxiety were sometimes too much to handle.
I was working with one of my very favorite Nurse Practitioners in the Covid unit one day when she said to me “what are you doing to take care of yourself these days?”. I didn’t have a good answer because truthfully, I didn’t really know what that meant. Once I had become a mom, I kind of forgot about myself and made sure the littles were always good. I mean…I showered. I occasionally bought myself coffee. But that was about the extent of it. Whereas T….she always looked amazing. And she had the most beautiful perfume…subtle and not overpowering, but made you sigh and think of warm sunny days near fruit trees. And I told her as much. And she said “Its time to get you a signature scent”.
I literally got on the computer that night and started looking at web pages regarding self care. Self care means something a little different to everyone. To me, it meant getting a skin care regimen to help with the terrible acne and my aging skin. It meant finding a really nice shampoo and conditioner treatment for my frizzy hair. And it meant starting to apply makeup once in awhile, just because it made me feel good.
Self care has changed a little since starting the RV life. My makeup was stolen out of my car, I haven’t found a hair stylist yet to tame my ridiculous mane, and showering is such a different experience in an RV. Turning the water off in between washing and rinsing, while conserving water, definitely takes the pleasure out of a nice hot stream of water falling over your head. But in spite of these things, it’s very important for me to make sure I take care of myself. I’ve found that the time I set aside to “pamper myself” is time that helps relax and calm me, which helps me be a better person for my kids, my hubs, and ultimately, my patients.
This week, my new “pamper me” item was one of those crazy citrus foot peels. I’ve wanted to try one for a long time, but had put it off for one reason or another. Let me tell you…I’m hooked. I will not be posting pictures of this one…even I won’t go that far. But let’s just say my feet are now softer than my 3 year old’s. It’s been about 4 days since I applied the peel and I’m still peeling!! I highly recommend trying one of these if you need a little something to make you feel pampered. My feet feel and look amazing…perfect for walking around in flip flops!
I have made a promise to myself to make sure to always try and make time for me. Sometimes, I’ll even count going to the laundromat as self care if I go by myself. It’s those times that my self care includes getting myself a fancy coffee or stopping at the taco food truck…anything I wouldn’t normally do.
What kinds of things do YOU do for self care? What does self care mean to you?