Today I found a magnesium supplement that was clearenced and hell yes I bought it. I bought one for me, and another for my bestie because American women are almost always magnesium deficient and it can drastically lower our stress levels. And as I swirled it into my water, I began thinking of how much better I feel, and look, and how the general aura of my life trends upward when I have a rather lengthly self care ritual in place.
And I began to wonder, is it because of the things that are done during those rituals, or is it the act itself? Hear me out. Because yes, hydrating and a solid facial and a warm cardemom and rose hip almond milk before bed all have proven benefits. But my question is, are they enhanced simply by the doing?
We have all heard that talking kindly to plants has actual effects on their growth and health, especially when compared with talking to them harshly, even if watering schedules and habitats are identical. And we know that to some extent, this is true for humans. Well, actually, especially true for humans.
But I’m not talking about negative self talk here – I have depression and anxiety, thanks, and sometimes my thoughts are indeed out of my control and I’m not talking about self care as a way to wrangle in my less than flattering self commentary.
Plants can’t really choose much. They are planted and that’s about it. They grow, hopefully. Create offspring. Survive. They cannot move nor decide the temperature, nor the rainfall. And while I do believe there is a definite type of information system embedded within them, I don’t think that any plant can have a bad day mentally.
But we can choose, and indeed have to choose, constantly, every day. Our entire life is made up of choices. From the minute we hit snooze in the morning to the minute we roll our eyes at our partners who seem to have no problem sleeping in an unmade bed.
And as a mother, a partner, and the homebody, I spend a whole lot of my day choosing to do things for others. And don’t get me wrong, I choose to do so joyfully. I enjoy cooking (most of the time). Laundry has its perks. Dishes are the devil but they mean that we have eaten that day, so I can get over it. I homeschool the kids and its insanely gratifying to watch them learn and play. I could definitely be a better housekeeper but let’s stay on track – most of my day is spent focused on others. In fact, the few things I do for myself are often tacked onto others. I do get my morning cup of coffee, but I get it immediately because my partner needs it before he goes to work. I do make myself a lunch, but I do it because I’m making the kids one anyway. I do sit and play Animal Crossing for a half hour to try and regain my sanity after school. I do allow myself to go to bed stupidly early because I am a human anomaly who genuinely just needs that much sleep. Haters gon’ hate – sleepers gon’ sleep.
So the rememberance of feeling and looking better while practicing nuanced self care isn’t a radical change of increased hydration and rubbing my face, but consistently choosing myself throughout the day. Constantly showing through my actions that I. Am. Important.
And it is THAT choice, not my lovely smelling moisturizer, not my magic infused tea, not stretching or deep breathing, that hastens the positive outcomes.
So perhaps the more nuanced self care leads to better self for the simple reason that it requires us to choose ourselves more. Every additional step is an additional declaration that we matter enough for this. How many times in a day can I tell myself that I matter? How many times a day can I do something to communicate my worth to myself?
I have some things I’m going to start doing again and most of them revolve around my nightly routine now that the kids are going to sleep easier and I actually have a solid half hour between when they go down and when I do – but I want to invite you – everyone – to choose themselves more.
How can I support you in that? How can we help each other choose ourselves? Because we’re worth it. We’re worth the effort. This is not about expensive creams and supplements – this is about washing our face and making the hot water for a tea packet.
Tonight I am going to moisturize my face and do the rub thing that has a fancy name that is apparently very good at preventing wrinkles. And in the morning, I will think of other ways to specifically communicate to myself, through tangible action, that I matter. That I am important. Not because of what I give to others, or contribute to society, but because I exist.
Tell me – what is your favorite way to say ‘I matter’ to yourself?