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Week in Review: Oxygen Mask

You know, I was looking over my accomplishments this past week and I realized that there’s something I wanted to write about. Because when I see how busy each day is, I also see where I have been intentional about carving out a space for self care and that is something that is extremely important to me. As a stay at home mom, my main job description is to love. That’s it, right there. Love. Show it, grow it, spread it, foster it, nurture it. Love love love love love. And I’m telling you right now that it is impossible to love anyone else without being able to love yourself first.

My cousin Andrew Douglas lives in Arizona with his wife Rossi. Andrew is a couple of years younger than me but when we were kids and his family would fly up here to stay with us, Andrew would tag along with me to school. I have a favourite memory of Andrew standing outside of the classroom doors with a bunch of us all circled around him while he showed us all how to belch the alphabet. Could he have taught us how to belch the alphabet if he didn’t know how to do it? No, or at least the impact would have been winded and weak.

My Week In Review (linked up with the ever classy and witty Meghan from Clean Eats Fast Feets) is a blur of chaos. Like I showed you last Thursday, my Wednesday was filled to the brim with supersonic bore gore. But always, because I love my family, on my list of things to do? Is to love myself.

I don’t have to go on a masturbating rampage or eat 8 cartons of ice cream. Or get my nails done or spend $200 at the spa getting diarrhea from overdoing the dried fruit in the waiting room. All I have to do is intentionally (and that is the key word here) set aside a space for myself.

Just a space. Not a literal space, not an exact amount of time, no. Just an intentional, figurative bubble of safe protected space where I sink my hips into the ground, exhale, breathe in for a full five seconds, brew tea, light a candle, yes. Those things. They seem small and insignificant but it’s the little gifts we give ourselves that add up to everything.

So instead of listing off what bullshit recipe I made on what day and who had what teacher meeting or swimming lesson, I’m going to list off the things I did last week to love myself.

I started seeing a psychiatric nurse named Sue about two or three months ago to help me manage my anxiety issues. She’s so sweet, and so calm. When I walk into her office, I am cranked up so tight that she practically has to steam me off the ceiling in pieces but by the time I say all my shit out loud, I’m grounded and put back together like Humpy Dumpty. She gave me this breathing sheet that breaks down how to fucking breathe, step by step. After I got over how stupid I felt about the fact that I do not know how to breathe (hello, shallow breathers anonymous!) I decided to dig that paper out of my side table drawer and start using it. And guess what? IT WORKS. Breathe in (count to 5 one thousandths) and breathe out (count to 5 one thousandths). I do it until the blood starts draining from my forehead and back down into my extremities.

I also follow this mind-blowing woman on Instagram. Her name is Marybeth, and a lot of the stuff she posts really speaks to me. One post in particular, and I mentioned this last week, is where she describes how the squatting position helps the woman balance her femininity between fighter and lover. Monster slayer and love giver. So whenever I feel like I’m off balance (when I feel used and overlooked, or when I feel homicidal), I go somewhere, anywhere, and I squat. I press my spine up against the wall or a chair and I sink down, and get that balance back. It sounds weird, but so does not cooking your meat all the way through and we all know that just keeps it tender.

Candles. I light them, because I love me. I rub almond oil (thanks to Heather’s suggestion) on my body with a dab of lavender. This shit literally takes seconds. Seconds! I dug out some white Christmas lights from the crawlspace filled with spiders and I hung them in the kitchen window.

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I got rid of the vertical blinds and spent $30 on curtains, and hung Katie’s “Family” plaque over the metal thingies instead of filling and painting the holes.

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I drank wine out of my favourite mug.

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I wrote out my heart. I stood up for what I believe in. I had Jake and his friends over on Saturday night (the night he was invited to that stupid party) and we danced in the living room and sang karaoke.

Every single day without fail I hold Callum in my arms and dance to Meghan Trainor’s new song in the kitchen. Callum holds out his sweet little hand and I intertwine my fingers with his and I die right there. Love is so much and so hard and so filling. Whoever is home can’t help but join us. We have seriously shitty stuff to deal with but the fact that my loves can come together and dance in the kitchen makes everything okay. That’s home, right there. Those moments are home.

I think this would be a really great time to show Meg my dreads, eh?

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And, of course, I run.

And sometimes if I have a low mileage running week I will hoop.

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So, that’s my week. And I share it because I want you guys to love yourself first too, because I need you to love me right after.

What do you do to show yourself self-love?

Don’t hold back here. Maybe at family gatherings or church, but not here.

 

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Hellyontherun November 2, 2015, 4:52 pm

    I love this and you so much.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 2, 2015, 9:28 pm

      Awe! Thanks Helly! The feeling is mutual. XOXOXO

  • Megan @ Meg Go Run November 2, 2015, 5:15 pm

    Dang your hair is long! Also, I didn’t know you had a nose ring. 🙂

    I am glad you take time for yourself. Running/lifting is definitely my me time. And doing puzzles. And blog. I love to write! On busy days where I teach piano lesson all night, I quick take a shower before my first student comes and get in comfy clothes. I even wash off all my make up.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 2, 2015, 9:28 pm

      I used to wear a ring but then I changed it to a stud. I can take it out and put it in just like earring holes. I used to have a barbell in my eyebrow too! And a few other piercings. I loooove getting into comfy clothes after a hot shower.

  • Jen November 2, 2015, 5:35 pm

    I run, obvi, but I also make the time after to stretch. And if I’ve been running on the treadmill and the boys have been irritating then I make sure I do my stretching in a quite place. It sounds like nothing, but I love those moments after the run where I’m sweaty and I feel awesome and I’ve dripped out all the stress and whatever, and I just get down on my mat and stretch out all those muscles that worked so hard for me. It’s so calming and I feel like it “centres” me if I can say that without sounding all yogi.
    And I make coffee. I know i come off as an addict, but I love everything about the coffee – the way it smells, the way the big warm mug feels in my hands; coffee for me is friends and comfort and books and warmth and cozy.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 2, 2015, 9:23 pm

      I get what you mean about the stressful runs. Sometimes when I’m trying to fit a run in, it’s almost more stressful for me to run than it is to not run but then if I didn’t run then I would for sure be stressed out but running ups the chances that I won’t be as stressed, which is a better option by far, but I’ll never know until I go. OMG I NEED HELP. Or coffee. Or less.

  • Kristen November 2, 2015, 10:32 pm

    #1 – LOVE the hair. Always have. It was the first thing I noticed about you in high school. Not your best feature (you’ve got too many to choose from) but it is absolutely gorgeous.

    #2 – The hoola-hooling cat = fucking awesome!

    #3 – Me, I have a bath to relax and rejuvenate, or a large glass of white wine, or I take a nap. But, my favourite ‘me’ time is driving alone in the car. I sing, I pray, I think things over too much while I drive a little too fast, and somehow my problems seem to be left behind (if only for a while) when I get to where I’m going.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:16 am

      Omg you’re so right about the driving alone thing!!!! I forgot about that. It happens so rarely for me that it feels like a luxury to just hop in the car and run errands alone. That’s where I do most of my crying. And singing. And drinking and compulsive masturbating. JUST KIDDING. Ha ha ha. I’m a dork.

  • Jen @ Chase the Red Grape November 2, 2015, 11:27 pm

    Ok first of all you have the most amazing hair! I’m trying to grow mine at the moment and would do anything for it to just be long enough to tie back!
    Love this post – self love is so important but more often than not missed. I try to take some time each day to meditate, do a little stretching or have a nap… More often than not I forget to do it but I try! 🙂

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:15 am

      Well, I don’t have that hair exactly anymore. It’s still long and curly but my dreads are gone. It’s all good though–they served their purpose for me in that phase of my life.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets November 3, 2015, 2:31 am

    It’s amazing how well self-care works when actually employed. The real catch too is you can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself. I love this post from the hula hooping cat to the curtains, the candles, and the dreads.

    I intend to get a nose ring in the foreseeable future…just a tiny diamond stud.

    To show self love, I throw rolls of toilet paper at walls apparently. To be clear, no TP was harmed in the actual act. I also did Tai Chi on my lunch hour so that’s cool.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:13 am

      Oh, you’d look so sexy with a tiny stud. Your hair, your face, the perfect frame for a sparkly little bling.

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe November 3, 2015, 4:27 am

    Sometimes, I need an Alex hug. I usually run, but that isn’t going to be happening for a while, it seems. I read. I need to get back to my yoga.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:12 am

      Yoga has always fascinated me but I’m scared to start for some reason. It’s intimidating.

  • Gretchen | Gretchruns November 3, 2015, 4:58 am

    These are such great tips on how little things we can do that will make a difference. One thing that I do when I’m really upset or need to chill is make a really complex recipe, drink wine while I cook, and listen to Christmas music. Who can stay upset with CHRISTMAS MUSIC playing!? It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:11 am

      Ahhh HA HA HA! You’re such a silly lovely girl. Everyone needs a Gretchen in their lives, seriously.

      • Gretchen November 3, 2015, 8:12 am

        Oh my gosh Suzy..that comment just made my day 🙂 You are the BEST!!! Having a crappy morning and that just flipped my switch 🙂 xoxo

  • Heather@hungryforbalance November 3, 2015, 5:34 am

    I love the squatting tip! It is a powerful ‘exercise’ and very empowering! I actually hold a squat while I brush my teeth. It helps me to feel a little more grounded.
    I am actually not so good about making time for self care, but I feel like my daily gym time is at least part of it.
    I do love to light candles at night and enjoy them while I read.
    Your dreads are amazing and you are beautiful!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:11 am

      Candles seem to make a mundane moment magical. Do you have a good child care centre in your gym? I’m wondering about how Callum would do. He’d probably love playing with all the kids and toys!

      • Heather@hungryforbalance November 3, 2015, 1:10 pm

        Yes, our childcare center is wonderful. Matilda loves it because they let her do arts and crafts. I bet Callum would love it!

        • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 6:27 pm

          Hmm… something to think about.

  • Jamie November 3, 2015, 6:55 am

    Love this post! Candles are my favorite way to unwind after a long day. Yesterday I took a bath, lit some candles, and watched TV completely undisturbed. It was lovely! Hope you have a fabulous day xo

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 8:09 am

      You watched TV while you were in the bath?!?!? THAT would be awesome. Ha ha! But seriously, candles and a bath sounds blissful. Hope you have a great day too, Jamie!

  • christina @ The Athletarian November 3, 2015, 9:24 am

    Breathing and squatting?! WHO KNEW?!

    What do I do to show myself love?! Hmmm well I honestly have a lot of time to myself because it’s really only me. But things can get hectic and busy so I’m sure to set aside time to just do things that make me happy. It’s the simple things like walking my dog or writing. Running is another big one but I haven’t really been feeling it lately. Also – cleaning and de-cluttering. There is something so therapeutic about it!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 10:00 am

      YES! I totally forgot about the cleaning and decluttering catharsis. That’s gold. In fact, I’m going to go do that right now.

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes November 3, 2015, 10:22 am

    You’re the best, do you know that? Running is most certainly my “me” time, as is cooking. I find it utterly cathartic to work with food, and Ryan can always tell when I’m stressed because that’s when I cook some elaborate meal that requires time. I’ve also be considering lately how blogging has sort of become a room of my own, in a very Virginia Woolfian women-writing manner.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 12:48 pm

      See, I can *see* how cooking can help with stress. I see that side of it. I just don’t have that same experience as it ends up causing me more stress as I don’t have the skills and experience and natural talent for it. I end up making a huge mess, wasting bucketloads of grocery money and then feeling extremely shitty about myself which just makes me want to run MORE. I’m actually getting all worked up just thinking about it. LOL

  • Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine November 3, 2015, 3:41 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how much actually breathing can help? Sometimes when I am driving I realize that I am practically holding my breath, and its a good time to just focus on taking long, slow deep breaths.
    But in general, finding some kind of a space for yourself is so important.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com November 3, 2015, 6:26 pm

      Yep, I’ll notice too that I’m clenching my jaw and that my ears are all tight and pulled up high. And my tongue is on the roof of my mouth. So when I do the breathing thing, I also take care to relax my jaw, pull my tongue down and let my ears relax. Ha ha!

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