I was running out of space but a retired therapist friend (who had to take care of an ailing spouse who later died when she was a young mother) sent along these self-care tips she would share with her patients, which has some other good ideas for basic "taking care of yourself" (like staying off the news.) http://www.karenrowinsky.com/self-care-tips.html
I tried and failed to write a cogent comment in the subscriber thread and after thinking about it for a while, I think it’s because self-care or whatever you call it is so much easier for me in a crisis. When I was balancing cancer mom with toddler and husband with a leg broken in four places, I was militant about my excercise, and meal planning and my decompression and talking to my therapist and my need for sleep etc. Because I felt I could justifiably say “no” to work and women centric mental load stuff like “weekend enrichment activities.”
But now? Without the crisis? All of the ridiculous work that is structurally built into my life makes it SO HARD to add things that are time consuming for me (like yoga classes) to my day, even if they’re a net psychic gain.
For a friend with cancer who lived alone:
--Checking in via text every day, with no expectation of a return text. Just saying "I'm thinking about you and what, if anything, can I do to help?"
--When she mentioned needing something like mints or lotion, jumping on Amazon (not the time to rail against Bezos. Amazon could get her stuff OVERNIGHT and I had rewards points to use) and sending that shit to her immediately.
--Sometimes sending something she DIDN'T ask for specifically, just for fun:
A jazz CD.
A Zen sandbox that she could pull a small rake through (I was on the fence with that one but it was a surprising hit).
--Only offering assistance that I could commit to. If I couldn't commit, then I would ask someone else to jump in. Not dropping the ball for her was my only goal.
--Sending care packages of gourmet frozen soup.
YES! I sent a text to my co-parent / person I live with saying: just want to let you know that I'm struggling today. He responded: I'm sorry to hear that. How can I help. I WENT BANANAS IN MY BRAIN. I was like THIS ACTUALLY is the problem. Just fucking do something. Do something without being asked to do something. Look around there are a MILLION things, through my eyes, that need to be done. Just put on my eyes for one second, and look through them.
I love every single thing in here. Also, when I think of self-care I think “crying and moaning on the floor and journaling about how effed up everything is” 🏽
My SIL had two kids under two and a husband on military deployment, with her parents (my amazing in-laws) a whole continent away. Her MIL (thankfully not mine), turned up and booked a massage for her without asking if she wanted it or when would suit. When my SIL finished the massage it turned out her MIL hadn’t prepaid or anything - she had to pay. Same trip her MIL told her she had arranged for the man mowing the lawns across the road to do her lawns too. No mention of price, or when, and my SIL actually likes mowing the lawn. Thankfully he never showed.
My best friend is having baby number 2 soon so I’ve got your list in a tab ready. My baby number 2 coincided with COVID lockdown so noone was able to visit and a neighbourhood friend was going through the sourdough phase - perfect.