Whit’s End: Choosing self care for Valentine’s Day
Some call it Singleness Awareness Day. Some call it a day of romance.
Me? I’m ambivalent. But Valentine’s Day was as good an excuse as any to treat myself to a pedicure alongside several girl friends.
Self care is a buzz phrase these days, and it’s the subject of more blog posts than you may care to count. But it’s also a valuable practice. And that may look different for each of us.
A lot of the things we see promoted as self care are driven by consumerism — massages, essential oils and, yes, pedicures — immediately come to mind. Those may be part of your individual routine. But self care is, or should be, more than that.
It’s not a practice limited to people with financial means, as those popular activities might suggest. It’s about knowing yourself, your limits, and respecting them. It’s about slowing down and taking time for the things that matter to you.
Reading is essential to me. I begin most days with my nose in a book, and end them similarly. (I recently read in Real Simple — OK, while getting that pedicure — that studies prove reading can reduce stress. I knew I was onto something!)
I visit the library more days than not, and my conversations with friends often revolve around what’s taking up space on our nightstands. A couple of them refer to this shared dedication as “shelf care.”
People sometimes comment on how much I read and express embarrassment that their yearly totals aren’t as high. That’s not the point. Reading influences how I view the world and how I learn, yes, but it’s also how I unwind. It’s important to me, and so I prioritize it. I believe everyone should similarly prioritize whatever helps him or her become his or her best self.
I choose to use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to slow down and celebrate these things.
After our pedicures, my friends and I relocated to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. And my real joy was what followed: Curling up in bed with a novel, and then a memoir, and then, yes, essential oils diffusing as I prepared for sleep. It was an evening of rest, and I’m grateful I’m able to make that a priority.
Carla Jean Whitley is the PI’s features editor, and she recognizes that she’s able to prioritize reading in part because she lives alone. Share your favorite methods of self care by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.