Wednesday, May 25, 2011


It all started with what I knew would be a crazy week at work. See, we're moving offices on Saturday, and as last week drew to a close, I felt my chest tighten, ever so slightly, in anxious anticipation. Turns out, things have actually been going quite smoothly, much more so than I had thought they would. A hiccup here and there, sure, but overall, we're making our deadlines and everything is going according to spreadsheet schedule. And I do believe some of that can be credited to my new philosophy of self-care.

See, I'm starting to think that when I take care of myself first, I'll be a better partner, a better friend, a better employee, a better person. I've also recently been introduced to the Enneagram. While I'm not usually one for all the self-helpy, spiritual guidance, enlightenment side of things, I do love a good personality test. And I found the Enneagram to be incredibly insightful (for the record, I'm a 2 with some 6 tendencies). Sometimes (as with my housekeeping revelations), it helps to see myself in someone else's writing. To read a sentence and think, "Yes. That is exactly what is going on in my head." To put a label on it, quantify it a bit, to know, as I say, that it's "a thing." Because once you've identified the source of your frustration, anxiety, preoccupations...well, it's easier to make peace and move forward and be happier.

Not that I was particularly unhappy. But now I have this renewed sense of "Hey, I can take care of myself AND also take care of others, and by taking care of myself first, I'll be better-equipped to care for others!"And it feels good.

So how am I putting this into practice?

  • This weekend, a friend and I treated each other to belated birthday mani-pedis. I don't usually go for the manicure in addition to the pedicure, so it felt especially luxurious. We even splurged the extra $5 for French tips. Every time I look at my prettily painted fingernails, I remember that I can treat myself every so often, and that gives me a little feeling not unlike a feeling of power. It's a silly little thing, getting your nails done, but I notice that I treat myself a little more like a grown up with these French tips. The trick is to keep that confidence up even after the polish chips.  :)
  • I'm making a concerted effort to get into work earlier. We have pretty flexible hours at work, and lately, I've been quite tired, and have allowed myself to sleep in. Late. Late like I'm not leaving the house until 9:45am. Now, this is technically fine. I'm in to work by 10:30, which is when the majority of my coworkers arrive anyway. But the nature of my job is such that it is nicer for me to get in before the herd. Arriving at 10:30 also means it takes until 6:30 or 7 to get a good day's work done (I usually don't take a real lunch break), which makes it hard to get to certain ballet and pilates classes that I enjoy (see next bullet point). Anyway, this week I decided to start by leaving the house at 9am. I get into work around 9:40, and I'm generally finishing up my day by around 5:45 or 6. Lovely! I've realized that I actually like this earlier schedule (and yes, I know it's still a late schedule by comparison to most); I feel better about myself by getting up and going in the morning, and I really like getting into the office while it's still quiet. This also means going to bed earlier, because I do love me some shut eye! The goal is to start getting ready for bed at 11 and be in bed, falling asleep, by 11:30.
  • I want am going to do some form of exercise every day, in addition to my ~2 miles roundtrip to/from work. On Monday, I played Kinect Adventures for 30 minutes (really gets your heart racing!), and tonight I took a private pilates class (thanks, Groupon!). Tomorrow I have ballet, and Thursday I'll do Kinect again. Friday night I have to stay in the city (spending the night to avoid a super early morning commute for our move Saturday morning), so I'm not sure if I'll get in additional exercise, but I'll try. Or maybe it will be my day off. I would just like my clothes to fit a little looser, and I would like to get myself into a little better shape, so I don't huff and puff as much on hikes and fast walks.
  • I'm going to eat smaller portions. I'm no fool: I know I can't go on a diet. I'm sorry, but I love cheese and salami and bread and cake and all that delicious stuff. And I'm not giving it up, or eating diet versions or convincing myself that "it doesn't feel like I'm dieting!" But I can eat smaller portions. I can take a smaller plate of food and wait until I've digested and had a glass of water before going back for seconds. I can swap out whole wheat flour for white and choose to eat one dessert a day instead of two. Little things.
Anyway, this is just the beginning. I may just be on a high from the last two days, but so far, I'm liking this new attitude, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes me.


  1. WAHOOOO! This is wonderful! I am so happy to hear this! Read this? Whatevs. Good for you, Woman. I can hear you roaring. I wish I could jump through my computer and land on your desk for a big old hug. 

  2. Thanks, girlfriend! (said in a totally sassy voice)

  3. You know what's really lovely?  Summer time.  And that space is intentional--the way time works in the summer.  E.g. the sun comes up by 5am and is glaring into your windows by 6.  We have these blackout curtains in the bedroom windows that are amazing (well, hideous, but they work) but I've found that if I leave them cracked (about 4" at the bottom) the room is ultra-dark at night but the sun creeps in and wakes me up around 7. I find this interesting, as I've never considered myself an early riser, but then again I've also never really had that much distinction in my room between day and night.  Either the streetlights are always glowing or it's just so dark in there at all times (say, in the belly of a battleship) that the sun doesn't have a chance.  And if it's dark, I sleep.  Without some form of interruption (and if I set an alarm but know I don't have to be anywhere I'll turn it off in my sleep) I'll stay out cold for days on end.  I'm like a parrot.  So.  Point being, a good way I've found of regulating my sleep is regulating my light.  But Really regulating--no lamp, no monitor, just good solid dark at night (block the windows if you have to) and then bright obnoxious sunshine during the day.  Works a treat, and keeps me happier.  I get all "O life, why hast thou..." in the winter and when I'm in the dark.  I probably shouldn't work in theatre, now that I think about it.  Bah-de-bah, sorry, this is way too long.  Sunshine!

  4. I think you're right, and that Summer Time has a BIG something to do with this new attitude. I definitely feel rejuvenated, and it's easier to both wake up earlier and enjoy the evening when it's light and warmer outside. Our bedroom doesn't get nearly as much natural light as did our room at the old place (sadly for me, as I really liked that early morning light), and there's no good way to get bright sunlight in the mornings. We could have the blinds fully open, but Will doesn't sleep as well without having them shut against the building's exterior lights at night. As long as I get in the habit of forcing myself out of bed, no matter how dark the room is, it's brilliant once I get outside! :)  Getting dressed in near-darkness, however, is another story (he's been sleeping in later than I have recently)... 

    I'm totally the same way in the darkness of winter though. If only we could all stay home and nest all winter...oh yeah, it's called hibernation. The bears have it right.

  5. So inspired by your exercise schedule! Must must start doing the same.

  6. So far so good...after 3 days anyway. It feels like I'm doing something good
    for myself :)