Ah, summer. Being near the coast, we’ve been in the mid-90s for a few weeks now. With June also comes Hurricane Season—my least favorite season of all. Despite the oppressive humidity, I love summer and everything it brings with it. My poor outdoor plants, however, don’t feel the same as the sun and heat are relentless. Yet, the summer nights have always been some of my favorite. There is something about the season that takes me back to my younger years. Summer equaled freedom and fun. No school, no early mornings, no homework.
We can’t recreate that exact feel as adults, because, well, adulting and all that. But when I take Sisko out at night, we do linger. Mostly because it isn’t so hot. We search for fireflies, bats, moths, and owls. We look skyward and gaze at the moon during all of its phases and desperately try to see the stars thanks to the light pollution.
The night can hold all kinds of scariness within it. I was never afraid of the dark—just what monsters might be in it. Not many people go out at night, so it’s peaceful. Though, I’m uber vigilant. I’ve watched too many Forensic Files, Criminal Minds, and the like not to be.
Yet, part of my self-care is going outside at night. Living in an apartment complex, I do have my own patio, but it’s lighted. So, I walk Sisko, moving in and out of the lights. I really didn’t comprehend how much being under the stars soothed me until I began paying attention to how much Sisko and I both lingered outside once the sun went down. Most people are indoors, so there are times it feels like we’re the only ones on the planet. The calming, peace of it was just another piece to the complicated puzzle of what my soul had been trying to tell me I needed for so long.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of life. We have work, families, and personal lifes we’re trying to juggle. I also realized that if I’m with someone, I don’t tend to take as much time to myself as I should. I don’t listen to what my soul is trying to tell me I need. It’s crazy that I do that, and I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes, the act of realizing you need some alone time is the biggest realization in any self-care. When you have a significant other and/or children, you’re used to being needed and having to spread your time thin. We have to dedicate time to each of our children and our SO, and by the time it comes to us, we’re just too exhausted to do anything about it.
That was me when I started this journey. My kids were grown and gone, so it made it a little easier, but not much. I used my writing/business as an excuse. I work from home, so I’m always working. And I do mean always. I have to make myself take time off. Even then (like today), I’m on the computer gathering numbers from the day before, checking and answering emails, looking ahead to the next release/next deadline/next set of edits. I have to schedule weeks off in between my deadlines to give my brain a rest. However, most of the time I use those weeks to do edits, to catch up on admin work, and occasionally to just sit and read. My weekends are my lazy days. Saturdays, I do laundry and clean. Sundays, you’ll be lucky to see me do anything other than take Sisko for a walk.
My go-go-go life, which was never very hectic to begin with (did I mention I work from home?) has slowed down even more. And it’s been such a blessing in so many ways. The writing process has eased some (there will always be books that are like giving birth to each word and books that seem to just write themselves (there are VERY few of these!)), and I stay on top of this better. There are still things that fall through the cracks, because, let’s be honest, my team and I are juggling too many things at once. But it’s gotten easier. I made my life easier, because I started my self-care.
Remember the triangle?
Self-care — Self-respect — Self-love
I do these steps every day. It’s changed my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well being. If you haven’t started your self-care, or you started, but stopped, consider beginning again. Because when you’re at your best, life is even better!
This month’s song is Here I go again by Whitesnake!
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
~ Arthur Ashe