A few weeks ago, I hurriedly took a shower and got dressed to go to the movies with my husband. I decided to “dress up.” I planned a sequin tank with a summer skirt and heels. I thought I was ahead of the game by shaving my legs, until my seven-year-old son Sebastian got a look at me in the kitchen. “Are you a boy?” he asked. I looked at him, confused.
Apparently, I had forgotten to shave my armpits. For a week.
I figured that’s a good place to begin an article about self-care. Today I will share my “self-care equals self-respect” theory, complete with bra and underwear metaphor. But first, let’s define the trendy term “self-care.” Posts abound on social media depicting “Self-Care Sunday” with pics of women doing at-home pedis and others toasting with margarita glasses. Self-care literally means “care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.” So, technically, pedicures and margaritas count. I can support that.
I’m convinced that self-care has become so popular because of the frenzied state of being we find ourselves in on any given day. We wake up, rush to get out of the house on time, deal with the kids’ lunches, our lunches, dinner, their showers, our showers, their homework, our own jobs, plus chauffeur said kids around to any after-school activities like swimming, gymnastics, or soccer. And, exhale.
It’s no wonder why you wear the same two bras and holey underwear. I know you do it because I do it, too. But we must stop. There is more to life than a utility pack of lavender underwear and beige bras. Our undergarments are a metaphor for how we treat ourselves. Hear me out.
Say for a moment that you do rotate the same two bras and wear granny panties with holes. Why are we allowing this? We don’t let our children wear holey underwear. If I notice my son’s underwear has holes, I immediately buy a new pack. And his underwear has the latest superheroes on them. If my husband needs underwear, hello, he buys it. And his underwear has the latest technology or whatever that men’s expensive underwear has. I’m pretty sure we can agree that many teenage girls are wearing sexier bras than we are.
What gives? Bras and underwear are the most intimate things we wear, but we simultaneously feel like we can disregard them. We might think, What’s the point? Who’s going to see them? (Our partners would be thrilled to hear that.) We might think, I don’t want to spend 45 minutes in a dressing room trying on eight bras to find the right cup size and measurements. So, then we wear bras with our breasts spilling over, back fat on display through our shirts, or we give the world a show when we bend over.
And don’t get me started on the underwear. Really? We can’t go to Target and get some cute underwear? I know no one wants to spend $12 on a utility pack of plain colored underwear, but isn’t yellow better than holey panties that have been stained from exercise and menstrual cycles? You know who you are.
The madness must stop here, friend. This is ridiculous. Wearing properly fitting, whole undergarments isn’t merely in the self-care category: It is a sign of self-respect. Again, we don’t let our family members wear intimates like this. Our bras and underwear are a symbol for how we prioritize ourselves. We constantly put ourselves last in the list of 87,000 things, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. As much as our loved ones, well, love us, they aren’t checking if we have taken time for ourselves today, and they surely aren’t checking your underwear for holes.
Review the line from above: “frenzied state of being we find ourselves in on any given day.” That implies a passive state of living, and that’s the point. We’ve allowed ourselves to become passive participants in our own lives while others around us get to flourish.
Um, I call bullsh#t. Can we please agree to take care of ourselves? Can we commit to the following?
Ten Self-Care Tips
- Sleep – As in, you must get enough. There is a reason this is the first tenet in my “3 Point-Plan for Wellness.” You know intellectually that you need a certain amount of sleep, yet you play around with the hours as if you can shirk what you need and still perform at the level you desire. Not gonna happen. What was that? Not gonna happen. Get your seven or eight hours or suffer. Okay, I know that sounds dramatic, but “suffer” means your body will feel achy and lethargic, you will be crabby, and less productive.
- Eat well – I know this sounds obvious, but again, we push our stomachs to their limits, perhaps binge, or overeat past fullness until we feel bloated or sick. That’s not living life to its fullest. Even if you don’t eat to that extent, you know how you feel when you fill your body with foods for fuel. You feel like, well, like you have the fuel to perform. As a former binger, I never thought I would say this, but my fave calorie allotment every day is my morning smoothie. LOVE IT! (You can find the recipe here) It’s based on Kelly LeVeque’s FabFour formula which incorporates fat, protein, fiber, and greens in each meal. This general guideline allows for nutrition without counting calories.
- Movement – You can try to fight this, but you will not be your best self unless you move for 30 minutes a day. Again, there is a reason why these top three tips make up my 3 Point-Plan for Wellness – because they are required for wellness! Sure, you can do well without exercising, but imagine how you could thrive with it. I’m not saying you must run 5ks every day of your life. Pick some form of movement you like and stick with it. For me, that means spin classes.
- Morning Routine – How you start your day is indicative of how you live your life. If you hit the snooze button and rush out of the house, well, that’s how your day will go. If the day starts off frantic, how will your body be able to return to a calm state when you are constantly going, going, going? It can’t. You need to wake up at least a half hour earlier and determine a new routine.
- Nighttime Routine – A morning routine is only as good as a nighttime routine. If you commit to waking up an hour earlier in the morning to exercise, prepare your lunch, have coffee, or whatever you choose, you must then also commit to going to bed earlier. Don’t believe me? See tip number one again. You will not be able to perform your morning routine without enough sleep, which means you must determine your bedtime and a nightly flow to prepare your body for peaceful slumber. This might involve tea, reading, or chatting with your partner, but know when you need to make the transition to the bathroom for washing up and then hitting the sheets. You might be thinking, This is ridiculous, that is unrealistic. You know what I’m thinking? Your choice. It is what it is. You must choose whether you want to live your best life because no one else can make it happen for you.
- Growth – Self-care demands growth. The thought of life changing invokes anxiety in many, but we aren’t meant to the be the same as we were in high school or our 20s. You must grow. I’m not saying you must embark on a career change (unless you want to), but you need to have something that excites you that has nothing to do with your kids or your partner. When was the last time you were super excited about something? Now let me ask you this – When was the last time you were super excited about something unrelated to your family? Exactly.
- Something for your peace of mind – You need to incorporate something into your daily life that brings you peace. This could be prayer, journaling, sitting on the porch with a cup of tea, meditation, whatever you choose.
- Expression – To thrive, you need to live in a culture that encourages communication, and it starts with you. Consistently reflect on how your life is, what you can improve, and what you enjoy. Cultivate a relationship with your partner that allows for honest conversation. If you don’t have it, you have nothing. I really mean that. If you can’t communicate with your partner, I promise you it will prevent you from growing.
- Maintenance – Okay, this is where we agree to take care of basic maintenance. This means consistent haircuts, new PROPERLY FITTING bras when needed, adorable underwear, etc. You don’t have to buy $75 lingerie, but the least you can do is buy two pairs of cute underwear from Target from time to time. And please, exfoliate the dead skin on your feet every week. Don’t wait until it sounds like your calluses are going to light a match on the sheets in bed. I’m talking to you.
- Gratitude – I admit, every time I heard this from others, I always rolled my eyes. The idea is to start each day in state of thankfulness so that you then look for positives throughout the day. This one is easy to blow off, but like everything else on this list, it works if you work it. Within the first half hour of waking up every day, think of five things you are grateful for. You can write them on a piece of paper, think about them in the shower, recite them in front of the mirror, however you want to do it. But you need to do it because regardless of what you’ve gone through, you are reading this, which means you are alive.
Guess what I’m going to do today? Throw away old undies! You?
To help you on your self-care journey, I made a FREE guide for you to create your own 3 Point-Plan for Wellness! Fill out the form below to get it now:
Did today’s topic resonate? Which tips do you struggle with? Do you wear the same two bras or holey underwear? Comment below!