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How do I start self-care?

That was my big question for me.
What is self-care anyway?

Here is what it is to me, taking time each day to do good things for me.
Does that sound simple? It can be but sometimes it just isn’t. I have had days when the best I could do was eat fruit and veggies. That to me is self-care. It all adds up. A quick walk with my dog, even just feeling grateful for a beautiful day. That feeling of gratitude can actually open new pathways in your brain.
Now don’t get me wrong I have tried lots of things to get rid of stress and anxiety. I still take an anti-anxiety drug every day. After my TIA I realized that feeling completely stressed at the grocery store for no reason or in the car or at home doing the dishes wasn’t normal. I thought it was just life and everyone felt like that all the time.
I do believe the meds help but I also think I do a lot of other things that have really made the big difference for me.
I started with my usual change in diet and started exercising regularly.
Let me back up a moment so you can get a clear picture of my health up to this point. At 42 I weighed 269lbs. This was not my heaviest by any means. On my 40th Birthday, I weighed a whopping 295lbs. I have struggled with my weight since High School. I have always thought I had a weight problem. Even when I didn’t. Any idea how I could have come up with such an outlook on my body image?
So, back to the gym, I went. Now I don’t hate the gym or exercise, but I don’t get all excited to go either. I started asking myself what activity I could try that might actually bring me some joy and happiness.
This took me to a whole new place. What do I like to do? What makes me happy? Do I even know? It dawned on me that I hadn’t really taken any time to get to know myself. I couldn’t even answer those 2 simple questions. Here are a few things I came up with
Being a Mom makes me happy, being a Massage Therapist makes me happy.
I was defining my identity with my career choice and the fact that I have children.
I really had to take some time and dig deep for the answers.
I remembered when I was about 9 my mom and a big group of people hiked into Red Rock canyon just outside of Las Vegas, NV. When you get about 2 miles in you end up in what I can only describe as paradise. back in that canyon are these beautiful, crystal clear pools of water and ferns growing out of the mountain. It was in that memory of myself playing in the water and jumping from rock to rock pretending it was my home that I realized I love the outdoors. I love nature and being near water. Had I always known this? Did I just forget?
I honestly believe we do forget. We get caught up in what society dictates as important like work, paying bills, having a family. Not that it isn’t but it sure isn’t everything.
What brings you joy and happiness are really way up there on my self-care list?
Make a list of the things that make you happy and start doing them!
That is your self-care homework for this week.