Self Care Like A Boss
The Original finds a new way into the world.
In July of 2012 I self published a short ebook titled, Self Care Like a Boss, Self Care for Life. I released it on Smashwords in various formats and sold just shy of 230 copies.
I was moved to write this little flawed book because too much of the self improvement/self help material available did not serve marginalized people. It didn’t speak to things like trying to eat to survive while in the midst of being too poor to eat good food or while recovering from/dealing with an eating disorder alone. It didn’t speak to how intersected marginalizations and a mix of DIY self treats to ways to learn how to budget without crying.
It wasn’t perfect.
It was the start of what will likely be my lifelong passion project.
Bringing self-care, self-help out of the “lifestyle” category and into the, let’s get this shit done category.
I wrote a second book with my dear friend Milcah and it wasn’t what I wanted. I wasn’t able to recreate things in a way I found satisfying and while self-care has launched itself into the lexicons of lifestyle bloggers and privileged woowoo would be experts. I’ve spent the last three years, writing, deleting and angsting about how I can write my heart in this regard without abandoning my original ideals.
I’ve done some blog posts and whatnot but it wasn’t satisfying to me.
So here we are. I’m going back to basics and decided that SCLAB will have a home here at Medium.
For transparency, I will be putting the rest of the SCLAB related material behind the paywall. I’m not able to afford to offer this material for free. I don’t like it but even artists have rent to pay.
That said, after more rewrites I am likely to gather up all of the material old and new, and release it in a whole new comprehensive edition.
Ready? Here is the first installment. Rewritten for your enjoyment.
This is for everyone.
This is about how to self-care as an act of absolute defiance.
This is about survival in a world that at best is unfriendly and at worst actively hostile.
This is especially for poor people, people feeling fucked up about their body image, people feeling fucked up about their rent, people worried about how they are going to make it day to do. This is for marginalized people.
This is for people who are depressed, disabled, able bodied.
This is about you, it is for you because I want you to make it. I want you to have every tool and weapon I can think of to fight through the bad times. It is for me, so I never forget how to do this.
This is about those of us who maybe have been told that self-care isn’t important. It is for those of us who always take care of everyone and never ourselves.
If you haven’t heard it before let me tell you now. Pay attention.
Self-care is vital.
Taking care of you gives you life, it helps you survive the bullshit.
Let’s talk about what I’m going to teach you.
First small things.
What counts as self-care?
How do we implement it in our everyday lives?
Then, we go a step further and I am going to give you every thrifty, broke ass trick and technique I use to keep myself feeling good and fancy. Every method I employ to eat as well as I can or just eat to live through bad days.
We’ll talk about make up, clothes, the value of small things that make you happy. We’re going to talk about gender and things. We’re going to talk about disrupting gender stereotypes because they hurt us.
I’m going to tell you how to thrift things online and off. I’ll give you a list of questions you can use verbatim if you like, to ask online sellers.
Do you want to feel pretty? I’ll give you some ideas about low cost ways to treat yourself and make yourself feel pretty. I’ll give you some cheap and easy recipes for things like facial masks and hair treatments. Pretty for whom? Everyone who wants it.
I’ll give you a quick and dirty guide to a nice manicure that doesn’t involve a lot of expense.
I’ll give you some ideas of things to grab at discount stores. Things you can keep around the house to just make yourself smile.
I’ll share some of my own coping mechanisms when I’m too stressed to do anything but sit in front of my computer.
Who am I talking to? All of us. The wonder and necessity of self-care will not be treated as gender specific here. When I say we, I mean you. If some things don’t pertain to you personally, read them anyway. I believe that self-care includes learning about other folks marginalizations and how they navigate them.
Are you ready?
The Little Things
I have a theory that has served me very well over the years. Sometimes, all you have are the little things. What little things?
First let’s start with five minutes out of your day. You can do it. For five minutes the only person who absolutely needs you is you. This is especially important for caregivers, folks who work a lot of hours in or outside of home, for those who don’t generally have privacy or access to go somewhere.
You can go sit in the bathroom with the door closed, go outside, do what you need to do but take five minutes. If you are pressed for time, time yourself. The important thing is these five minutes.
During these five minutes you can do whatever you want. Color, read something, watch cute videos on youtube, listen to a stupid song that makes you laugh. The main point is you take that five minutes and be absolutely selfish. I do not recommend reading the news or social media. There is a lot of trauma being spread around lately and you deserve a break.
If you are the type who likes to plan. Make a bookmark in your mobile browser that is specifically for five minute time outs. Have a game you play five minutes at a time. Protip-make a private youtube playlist with the cute/funny things you like for just these types of occasions.
This is not five minutes to be productive or helpful or nice. This is five minutes to do whatever you like. You don’t have to meditate, be mindful, be present even. Just take a time out from life.
That is how we start, with five precious minutes. If you can’t do five do two. Just do it.
The important thing is to do something that makes you feel good. It doesn’t have to serve a purpose. It doesn’t have to make sense. Scratch your ass, pick your nose, belch, fart non stop, lay on the floor and stare at the water spot on your ceiling, do whatever you want.
Yes, I’m serious.
As we go along I’d like you to take a moment after you do these things and think about it. Try making notes about what makes you feel really good, what touches something tender in you. You don’t have to do anything with those feelings whatever they are, I just want you to be aware of them. I promise we will get to it later on. Right now, let’s just focus on making ourselves a priority sometimes.
What other little things? How do we start investing a bit of cash and time in ourselves? A lot of my personal self-care is deeply intersected between the emotional and the physical.
Any of us who has been depressed knows that even the little things can feel impossible.
This part is for us.
Little things you can do that absolutely no question count as self-care. Let’s do it. One of my favorite little things stems from my terribly dry body skin. I’m talking it gets itchy and painful and uncomfortable. A large part of my self-care has evolved to help keep me comfortable physically.
Find some lotion or oil you like the smell of and can afford. Personally, here’s what I do because I am a glutton for luxurious body lotions. First you need about 6–10 dollars. Next an Etsy account. Go to Etsy and drop a smell you like in the search bar. Think something that makes you feel warm and happy.
Next, for our purposes let’s search vanilla.
On the left hand side of your screen select bath and beauty. Lots of expensive things will show up but don’t give up. Next select lotion, then at the top of your screen order your list lowest to highest price.
We have my super secret no.1.
I buy a lot of sample-sized things. On the scale of having well moisturized skin that smells nice to dry scaly skin that itches and causes me extra discomfort, I will spend 5$ and get the goodies. There is something undeniably special about having something someone made just for you.
If you don’t want to wait my other trick is to check the travel size section of your local drug store. Lots of higher priced items are tiny airplane size and that can do the trick.
Other options. At your local discount store, check their bath and beauty aisles. Yes, some of that stuff is cheap crap. However, if you really like how said cheap crap smells and it costs a dollar, go ahead and indulge yourself.
On the days when putting on pants is too much or you can’t get out of bed reach for that lotion and take some time to put it on your hands or elbows or butt. Be gentle with yourself.
When you’re done, you tell yourself yes I did do something good for myself today. It counts. It matters. I matter.
This is major. This is a moment when you may hear voices in your head telling you, you’re lazy, maybe telling you that you need to do something with yourself, people telling you to just get over it. In the act of doing that kindness to yourself, you are doing something. Even if you don’t believe you deserve it, or don’t believe it is important. I’m telling you it is. You are. You did something important. Just do it.
This is how we start caring for ourselves. Maybe when you get up, you put lip balm on your lips, make your favorite tea, put slippers on because your feet are cold, all those things a lot of people take for granted. Drink some water, go have a nice poop.
These are the things you ease into doing for yourself because you need to be cared for and you can and deserve to care for yourself. Here is where we start to develop a habit of self care and for some of us get to know how it feels.
Ready for more?
Let’s do more.