Self-care set point

Hello everyone! I apologize for my hiatus. Adulting invaded my writing space.  I started the decluttering method by Marie Kondo. I only keep things which “spark joy.” I’m down to my dog, chocolate, and coffee maker.. Just kidding . . . I have quite a way to go. I’m also brushing up on my Spanish. ¿Como estas?

Two months ago my boyfriend and I started renovating a badly neglected 1959 ranch. We deemed it the “rescue house.” Like a rescue dog, it suffered neglect, had goofy quirks and a ton of potential. It also reeked of cat urine! In true Californian hippy dippy fashion I named and spoke to it. I assured her that we would love her back to life. We just needed her patience and trust. I gave her a good saging and hoped to God the neighbors didn’t think we were potheads.

Holy moly was she beat up! First,I prepped walls for painting. I swear one room had over 500 nail holes. When filling hole 100 I declared, “What the F**k!” A few minutes later my lovely boyfriend yelled, “What the hell!” He informed me the previous owner attached a fan to the ceiling via caulk.

During my initial visits to the house, I left feeling tense, overwhelmed,and guilty that I did not stay longer to help. I noticed myself waking up cranky on the weekends, particularly the ones in which I committed to other social engagements. I just wanted to walk my doggie by the bay, go on dates again with my boyfriend, eat scones from my favorite cafe and curl up on my couch with a book. Instead I ran around like a crazy woman. Breakfast conversations with my boyfriend shifted from meaningful topics such as social justice to how quickly porcelain tile would become the equivalent of shag carpet. Initially a great, trendy idea but later a decorator’s disaster.

One morning I chastised the French press for not accommodating the amount of water I poured into it. My boyfriend calmly walked into the kitchen, “You ok?.” I paused, checked in with myself and realized the answer was, “no.” For weeks I had functioned outside of my setpoint, that delicate balance between doing and being needed to be a semi-sane person in this overstimulating world.

I made a conscious choice to move back to a place of homeostasis.I began saying “no” more often. I stopped feeling compelled to answer emails and texts immediately. I declined social invitations which would cause more stress than joy. I limited my  house renovation time to a few hours a week. I carved out more time to walk by the bay, read, and cuddle with Frankie, who is currently cone-bound due to a hot spot. My boyfriend and I went on a date!

I encourage you to check yourself. Are you attending to your set point? What do you need to let go? What do you need to take on? Do you need a scone?

Take care my friends.

Imperfectly,

Amelia

frankie-cone

Emotional Short-Arming: Protecting A Psychological Injury

My massage therapist commented that I twist my right arm whenever she moves it. She questioned the origin of this tendency. During the height of my swim conditioning, I short-armed my right free style stroke. My coach instructed me to pull my arm through completely before exiting the water.  This adjustment improved my speed and efficiency. For a few workouts I decelerated and concentrated on pulling through. However, I found it tedious, and it slowed me down tremendously. Additionally, as I fatigued I returned to short-arming. I shared this story with my massage therapist, and she commented, “Maybe you’re protecting something.” She asked if I had a past injury. Prior to swimming, I spent several years rock climbing and pushing my body in ways you can in your late 20’s and early 30’s. I likely sustained an injury.

My response to this physical injury mimics a psychological injury. Often times we compensate to avoid pain and keep moving forward. However, this coping style eventually short changes us when we can no longer progress with ease and efficiency. We are frequently unaware of this protective mechanism until we enter relationships, and others identify it. Once this compensatory strategy enters our awareness slowing down and addressing it proves challenging. We feel pulled into our old habit particularly during times of stress and fatigue. However, if we slow down and address the injury, we start moving with greater fluidity and ease.

Admittedly, when I dive into the pool, I’m tempted to bullet through the water like a torpedo. Then, I hear my healthy self, “you’re short-arming . . . pull through the entire stroke . . . don’t get in a hurry.” I may resemble Esther Williams. However, my right arm propels me further if I can resist exiting at the point of discomfort.

Where in your life are you emotional short-arming? How can you leave your arm in the water a bit longer when it feels uncomfortable?

Imperfectly,

Amelia

 

 

The Perfect Date . . . With Myself: A Lesson in Self-Care

Une enseigne de débit de boisson en France mon...

Une enseigne de débit de boisson en France montrant les deux orthographes acceptées du mot bistro(t) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please forgive the TMI. Yesterday, I endured the lovely experience of my annual well-woman exam. Nothing like being stretched, stuck, and smooshed to say “Happy Friday!” I rewarded myself by visiting my favorite bistro with the plan to order a delicious French pastry. Once I arrived, my stomach rumbled, and I realized a croissant would not stave off my hunger. A glass of wine and a harvest salad with shaved Brussel sprouts, pears, and almonds seemed more in order. Instantly my 17-year-old self chimed in and stated, “You will look like a loser eating alone . . . especially on a Friday night . . .get your dinner to go.” My 40-year-old self interrupted and said, “Hey, dining alone is a sign of maturity and self-care. You never know what might happen. You could meet some interesting people or just enjoy some amazing food without feeling pressured to make conversation when all you want to do is sip chardonnay.”

A magazine rack filled with beautiful magazines donned the north wall of the bistro, so I picked up San Diego Home and Martha Stewart Living. For some twisted reason I love looking at gorgeous homes I cannot afford and craft items I lack the talent to create. I thoroughly enjoyed savoring my wine while flipping through the magazines. When I looked up, I noticed three other solo diners. We held the delightful secret of solo dining bliss. My waitress approached me, smiled, and asked if I found a suitable home. I informed her of the “steeply discounted” mansion that now listed for a mere $7,995,000. We agreed, while the price was a bargain, that we would feel creeped out living alone in such a large house. Yes, our cozy apartments provided a much better sense of safety.

After relishing my delectable salad, I consumed the pumpkin tea cake which paired nicely with my wine. I relaxed in my chair, took a deep breath, and peered out the window into the clear, blue sky. Yes, a perfect date. (Ok, I wouldn’t argue if Scott Foley of Scandal asked to sit with me. However, my solo dining date was exceptional.)

Where are you taking yourself on a perfect date this week?