Letter #9: The Hype Over Self-Care (Also, I Made a Vision Board and It Doesn’t Look Terrible!)
And I’m here for it
Welp, it’s been a while.
“Sorry I was gone, but look, I made you some content!” -Bo Burnam, Inside
The last few weeks have been particularly busy and the letter I’d been working on turned into a bit more of a project than I initially realized. (Literally every project I’ve started this year seems to have been way bigger than I originally thought. Stellar job there, me. Big dreams!)
Today I’m covering (or rather, uncovering) another bit of what I’m passionate about. Something I’ve been hoping to get better about: self-care.
I dunno about you, but I find it incredibly difficult to be kind to myself. So trying to combat negative self-talk? Relaxing to be able to truly, actually enjoy life? Not constantly worrying about every little thing and what everyone else thinks about you? Yeah, that’d be nice!
New Year’s Resolutions have never exactly been my cuppa. I always thought (or at least, I told myself) that my problem wasn’t with the difficulty of sticking to something. It was more of the very idea of picking something to do all year seemed kind of silly to me. (But after more introspection, I’m thinking it’s probably both of those reasons.)
Now I’m changing my tune.
Separately from all this, I’d made it a goal this year to learn about more things. (I didn’t call it a resolution at the time; just made a list of things I wanted to accomplish this year. Which, I guess could be a New Year’s Resolution? Did I fundamentally misunderstand the concept of New Year’s Resolutions until this moment? Possibly. I dunno. Framing is everything.)
The important thing is this: I went and watched Robin Arzon’s “Mental Strength” class on MasterClass. And after hearing her talk about vision boards, I was motivated to create my own the next night.
Vision boards involve cutting out words, phrases, and images from magazines, or printing out images, and arranging them in a collage on paper. You pick anything you want to aim for that year or month or whatever time period you’re going for. For example, I chose a lot of phrases from magazines involving my goals for treating myself better and finding my passion this year. (Like a New Year’s Resolution, but in September!) I chose some supplementary materials like floral backgrounds, lace, and washi tape to just make it prettier because I tend to retain things better if it’s shown in a pretty form :)
According to Robin Arzon, it’s pretty imperative that you make this a physical, tangible thing you can pin up somewhere to look at every day. I totally agree! The act of physically cutting and pasting things I like and aspire to made these messages sink in better than I feel like they would’ve had I just copied and pasted into a document.
And in looking for examples of vision boards, I stumbled across A Blissful Mind, a blog rife with all kinds of self-care ideas I’m loving.
Here are some of the ones I’ve found most helpful personally:
https://theblissfulmind.com/daily-intentions/ (This is where I found the quote I use at the very end of this letter)
https://theblissfulmind.com/intentional-life-plan/ (This was the most helpful to me)
And here’s my vision board!
Close-ups in case these photos turn out grainy (which would not surprise me).
It doesn’t look amazing, but I think it’s cute and it suits its purpose. I was surprised how many actually perfect phrases I found in the magazines I skipped through!
(Also, yes, I did go walking around my home for pretty fabrics to photograph this with like Rainbow Rowell does. Because why ever not?)
This is the post I’m referencing, by the way:
Photo credit: Rainbow Rowell on Instagram
(Side Note: This is a wonderful book. Third book in the Simon Snow trilogy. The first, Carry On, is currently my third favorite book of all time, and this book is up there on my list as well. Not sure what slot it falls under, but likely somewhere in my Top Ten or Fifteen. Oh no, I might need to reread it to be sure!)
Also, if you haven’t seen Rainbow Rowell’s site, I’d give it a look:
I love the cute tweed fabric she uses as her header, and the buttons match in a similar tweed. Just being on the site always makes me happy. Also, TWEED!
I’ve identified with this statement for a while:
Photo credit: user lostchips on Tumblr
Like, yeah, I’m technically a grown-up and can take of myself, but I feel like I’m more like a couple kids in a trench coat pretending to be a functioning adult. Ya feel me?
However, I do think I’ve grown up some. And in doing so, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits (or at least to see and hope for them) of helping yourself grow as a person. (If you’re envisioning the Self-Actualization Pyramid from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, same. Also, if you didn’t know where that was from, I had to look it up too. The Internet is magical.)
Here’s an easily digestible image of the pyramid I was thinking of!
Photo credit: Joshua Seong, verywellmind
I don’t know if I’ll actually do New Year’s Resolutions for real, but I’m thinking Monthly Resolutions. Weekly Resolutions. I would think breaking my goals into manageable chunks would make these goals more… er, manageable.
This week, I wanted to start with doing good things for me in the morning. Yoga. A nice breakfast. Journaling. Going for a walk. Actually drinking my tea at the house instead of trying to chug the whole thing in the car right before work like a heathen. (Tea is meant to be savored and Morning Me rarely makes time to do that because sleep.)
At least I’ve been doing one of those things (yoga) since February, so that’s a plus. (Again, something else I’d always been a little wary of but now appreciate so darn much. It really helps with my young-but-bad joints.) Now, to implement the rest.
My husband started running three days a week (for the Couch to 5K program) about a month (whoo, halfway mark!) ago and asked if I’d want to go with him. Last Friday, I went for a quick walk while he did his morning run. And yeah, that was a nice wake-up activity for the body and, really, the mind.
Walking with some music and just the sounds of the nature trail around me wasn’t meditation, but I got to just think and be in nature. This is a literal example of what I’d just read the other day: the Home Scandi Bible.
It’s fortuitous that I happened to read the Home Scandi Bible bookazine in the same week. This thick magazine all about living like Scandinavians do discussed how beneficial being outdoors is to happiness, “improv[ing] mental wellbeing, with reduced stress and increased positive emotions… a quick walk in the local park or countryside does wonders to clear our heads and relax our bodies” (Ideal Home staff 19). Walk in the local park to chill out, huh? I felt it!
This quote hit me hard and I now regret not adding it to my vision board, but I’m sort of out of space on the poster (read: paper bag because I didn’t have poster board or paper big enough): “Hygge is about the opposite of denying and punishing oneself… focus on being kind to [yourself] and relish [your] free time” (66).
Some other poignant bits gleaned from this magazine/bookazine:
The word “biophilic” in terms of design! It’s the use of nature in a home.
How to actually pronounce “hygge.” It sounds like “hoo-gah” or “hyoo-guh.”
There’s a specific word in the Danish language for a cozy corner: “hyggekrog!”
Apparently eating too much sugar is so prevalent in Sweden that the custom of “lordagsgodis” (literally “Saturday sweets” or “Saturday candy”) was introduced so that people would only eat sweets on Saturdays. Honestly, given my insatiable sweet tooth, this might be something to try doing. This, this will be the ultimate challenge.
Okay, so this letter was a bit more soul-bearing than I’m used to, but this was helpful to write for myself and maybe brought you something positive, hopefully. Thanks for sticking with me and reading!
I’ll leave you with a few related links for further reading:
Check here for more info on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (because I needed a refresher after not having taken Psych for a number of years): https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-4136760
I can’t tell if this is the original post for the “adult cats” thing, but here are my sources anyway: https://www.buzzfeed.com/katangus/best-tumblr-of-the-week-may-6-2019?epik=dj0yJnU9SEkyVVRiRmd6WjZBd3VfNExhSEpIdURSS2hrdHBBdnYmcD0wJm49SjZBUmttQVloMElMVjdJNkszNERHZyZ0PUFBQUFBR0ZENnhJ and https://disjunct.tumblr.com/post/72452147304/were-adults-but-likeadult-cats-someone-should
Also (because yes, I can’t stop), I’m thinking I might start incorporating a relevant quote at the end of each letter now. (Quotes are my lifeblood.)
Quote of the Week:
“When you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.”
– Fabienne Fredrickson
Happy reading and best wishes for the week ahead!
Works Cited (MLA 8th Ed.):
Finch, Ellen. “The Joy of Scandi Living.” The Home Scandi Bible. 1, 2021, 14-19.
Ginger, Bee. “Getting Hygge with It.” The Home Scandi Bible. 1, 2021, 64-67.