i was talking with some friends recently about how when there are big changes in your life, and things feel like they’re crumbling — it’s important to know what you can hold onto, what can you grip, what’s unbreakable – what’s yours? changes, and the uncertainty that comes with them, bring big questions about your identity.
when life changes for me – that’s the question: what’s mine? what won’t go away? what have i been working on, to make me happy, that sustains me even when everything else goes sideways? in essence, how do i take care of myself so that in good times, and bad, i’ll be ok…
thinking through my answers with you here, and i’d love to hear yours as well.
i spend time with friends. i threw my net wide, particularly over raleigh in the last few years, as i searched for my place here, and my people. i’m very lucky i landed some big catches – jessica, jeff, and asher could feed a village with their friendships (loaves and fishes metaphor here). between the three, always on tap, i have a dinner companion, a dancing partner, and a movie date. they are there to celebrate and commiserate, to listen and love on me when i need it, plus they’re judgey AF and they make me laugh. i spend 25 hours a day with jessica for work, but i make it a point to spend some real time with each of them every week i’m in town. they are augmented by a larger core group of friends that i can count on for amazing dinner parties, the best brunches, workout pals, and coffee breaks.
i exercise – if i’m in raleigh i try for 5 out of 7 days. i have a membership at barre3, so that’s the go-to, but i also work in two yogasculpt classes at corepower, and some pilates each week. i have never once left a class and regretted going. i like barre because it makes you move for an hour – there’s a ton of energy, great music and it’s a full body workout with weights and cardio. yogasculpt is insane – you literally can’t think about anything else because you’re focused on surviving. it’s hot yoga flow with weights and super-high intensity cardio bursts. if you need an attitude adjustment, you can count on that hour changing the rest of your day. i don’t do as much pilates as i used to, but there’s nothing like it to lengthen out your body, correct your posture and tone up your core quick-fast.
i walk a lot – the dogs love long walks, and we have a great park right across the street with an easy 1.5 mile loop (and lots of free wildflowers). my new neighborhood is great because you can take a new route each walk and discover alleyways and easements i had no idea existed. i don’t listen to music or take my phone. i chat with the pups, use the time to think and, pick free wildflowers. it’s important to take these breaks in my day to unplug, be present, actually look around and be outdoors and feel like part of my community – either by walking to grab coffee, to the park to toss a tennis ball and chat with neighbors, or to the store to pickup dinner. raleigh isn’t necessarily a walk-able city, but right here, where i live, walking works for me.
i love the internet. santa claus brought me a macintosh II computer when i was 10 (what’s up carmen sandiego!), and my fifth grade class was the first to use the ‘computer lab’ for intellectual pursuits like playing the oregon trail and odell lake. i was 15 when the modern internet as we know it essentially began – with AOL offering a flat-rate for dial up access, and i spent hours on end in chat rooms flirting with punk rawk boys, teaching myself code so i could create hello kitty websites and making handwriting fonts with my friends’ handwriting. now, i self-soothe with my computer. i google, i pin, i write, i photoshop, i blog, i organize, i chat – most importantly, i discover. i get inspired, and when i’m lucky, i execute. it’s a huge part of my life.
i practice telling the truth, not running from the uncomfortable, being vulnerable to love, and learning to value myself – it allows me to show up in my relationships and my work as a whole person, not someone pretending. every day presents a challenge, an opportunity for me to practice this, and try to do things differently.
big picture, those are the things i need on the daily to sustain the part of me that i know can’t crumble.
i buy candles.
i make a gratitude list.
i go to therapy.
i love on my pups.
i have sex.
i eat, a lot.
i do the nytimes crossword puzzle.
a whole lot this, plus a little of that, and i’m doing my best to take care of me. do tell, what are the things you do to stay sane. to help with happiness and to make sure you take care of yourself?