Today we’re going to focus on starting to document how self-care works for us and look at some of the many methodologies to do it.
First, let’s talk about why this can be helpful. Documentation as we’re working with it can help a lot of folks. Especially:
- Folks with memory problems.
- Folks who for any reason, are unable or have difficulty maintaining schedules.
- Folks who need to track things like but not limited to: medications, diet changes, health changes, periods, hormone changes, etc etc.
- Folks who sometimes need help remembering how self-care impacts their lived lives on the daily.
- Probably not your cat.
For our purposes when I say documentation it is a wide open field. There are no requirements here. There are no absolutes, no ONE TWOO WAY. It might take fiddling, it might take telling your inner Asshole to stfu. It is worth it in the end to me.
To get started we need to ask ourselves a few basic questions. Feel free to bust out your phone memo, blog, notebook, passion planner, bullet journal-whatever feels most natural to you and you have access to get it.
Question number one- What do I need in a basic way to live day to day. When I say basic I mean it. We not getting fancy yet. And when I say live, I don’t just mean not die. I mean what are the basic things you need to help have a decent day.
Here are my answers:
- My meds and vitamins.
- On work days, I need at least one serving of my preferred food types, some available protein, my immunity drinks, tea.
- My OH SHIT alarms/reminders on my phone. The OH SHIT eat now, the OH SHIT NO REALLY IF YOU HAVEN’T EATEN PLS DO ALARM
- My I’m a gross human supplies.
As you can see, this is very basic. This is lowest level, I just need to function for the day type self-care check in with myself.
Strictly speaking, logically we all know how to be alive. For me, the use of this most basic list can help on bad days. The way my brain works, sometimes I get too focused on just maintaining that I forget to care for myself. I can dive straight into some intense shame spirals and anxiety attacks and wind up deciding I don’t deserve anything.
Part of my basic list means that I have a concrete thing to look at to remind myself not to be an asshole in that way.
This is also why, I say we have to be honest with ourselves. I know how I can be. There are reasons and I know them and I KNOW that I can be a hugely abusive asshole to myself and I know that I need concrete tools to help combat that.
How do I level up?
Now this list can be the things that you find soothing if you need to stim, are in a panic attack/the aftermath, are having a high pain day etc. The things that can tank your day. These are things that can make a decent day, a better day.
For me, I break this out into seperate things. My lists are labeled, soothing, don’t cry, feelin good, ain’t shit. My more general list is as follows and usually is for dealing with my general high anxiety. I have discovered that for me, collecting and organizing data is very soothing by itself.
Now, y’all. I want to say again, this does not have to be fancy. You don’t have to use complicated planner systems, you don’t have to use symbols and special pens and bullshit.
You can make a note on a sticky pad that just says, YO TAKE YO MEDS.
This is not for show or instagram or whatever. There is zero pressure to do it like I do it. All we’re doing here is starting up with some ideas. A few things to get you started.
The other part of documentation of what I need is for me to mark doing the things I need. Sometimes for me that is quite literally just an all caps in my planner to say I moisturized my hair or did a face mask or took care of a bill.
For some of us, this will be really hard. Some people with eating disorders, OCD, ADD, who have anxiety surrounding accomplishing tasks might need to not do this for their own good. For me, I have a history with eating disorders and a habit of being a mega asshole to myself if I don’t do what my inner asshole says I’m supposed to do.
To mitigate that, I make the effort to identify what has triggered my problem. Let’s use food tracking.
When I get too specific, start calorie counting etc I stop. It is often a big battle, but an absolutely necessary one.
I make an effort to stop the verbiage and stop any moralizing or shaming I do to myself. A lot of the time I have to roll things back to just make notes like:
- FUCK YEAH YOU ATE!
- EAT THAT FOOD!
A large part of documentation as part of our foundation of self-care is involved in also managing ourselves during problem moments. Nobody needs a self hate bender and part of self-care means, sometimes you gotta shut yourself down and say, NOPE.
To wrap up here is your homework if you want it.
Ask yourself a few questions:
What do I need to make it through a day?
What do I need to make it through a hard day?
What do I want to make either of those type of days, better?
That’s all. From there, if you are ready you can start figuring out the best way for you to document. We have so many tools and you can do anything from using a dollar store notepad to a super fancy journal. It is up to you.
As always, if you need help, want to talk about what you’re doing feel free to comment. Let’s teamwork it out.