Counselor self-care: This post took a wrong turn at Albuquerque

The white jeans of sadness.

HOKAY. This post was supposed to be about what I do when I lack motivation. It happens sometimes, especially if I’m totally worn out from a big week. Last week was so big that I’m still tired. For one thing, I got a paper accepted for publication. For another thing, my husband and I officially resigned from our jobs because he has been accepted into doctoral school in the fall. Just in case I forgot that I live in a small town, this news made our paper. Slow news day? Anyhow, I’m obviously incredibly proud of him, excited about going someplace new, and also incredibly overwhelmed by what needs to happen before August.

Because of all of this, I’m pretty tired and lacking motivation to do much other than take naps in the grass. Oh yeah, it’s been GORGEOUS here, too. Some tasks don’t require much muster, like my marriage and family paper, but the motivation for others seem insurmountable, like this blog post. Yes, I see the irony here. I thought I’d be smart and ask my lovely friends what they do in a similar funk in order to incorporate these suggestions into a blog post.  The responses included going for a car ride alone with some good music, and taking a walk. Thanks, Kelly and Kristin!! Everything else I researched underscored the same underlying message: Take some time for myself.

Here’s what actually happened.

Once I was done feeling silly (because, duh! I should have known that all along!), I realized that Louie wasn’t going to be home Thursday night AND I’d gotten a good start on my paper, meaning I could take the evening off to do something just for me. The weather had turned, so I decided to do the one thing I alone enjoy–wander around and see the sights at our local Goodwill. In hindsight, getting a pedicure would have been a much better option.

I never go into Goodwill with any expectations and so wasn’t disappointed when I didn’t find anything exciting. I did, however, realize that I appear to have gained a few pounds, and also realized that what I really needed wanted was a pair of white jeans to go with a few orphan shirts. American Eagle beckoned and I followed. Once there, I realized the following: a) yes, I have gained a few pounds, and due to the nice weather, I have no excuse not to exercise, and b) I probably won’t be able to buy any new clothes for the next three years because money is going to be really tight. That’s when the night officially went downhill.

I came home (white jeans in hand–at least that mission was accomplished) and called my dad and cried so hard. I also felt like a failure for not being rejuvenated during my evening off. In hindsight, maybe it was all supposed to happen that way–after struggling through some homework, I probably would have called him anyway and the same thing would have happened.

This morning, I woke up feeling…neutral. I remembered that every time I go into AE, I feel sort of lumpy. Every single AE store is apparently required to have chronically unflattering lighting, and also, I should get back into walking. As for next year, Louie and I have some serious stuff to figure out, and we will, little by little.

My take on self-care this time around? I guess you won’t be successful every time you try, but keep trying. Maybe it wasn’t really a failure, it just didn’t go as I had hoped. I also wouldn’t recommend going shopping all the time as a form of self-care. (I don’t, in case you’re wondering, and I certainly didn’t splurge.) Working in a little more physical activity will probably also help my general mood. As I said earlier, in hindsight, a pedicure and a trashy magazine would have been a much more rejuvenating option. Or a walk. Tonight is a second chance, though–Louie and I are having dinner and seeing The Hunger Games, we’ll get to do some talking, and it will be fantastic!

Have you ever had an attempt at self-care go awry? (Please? I hope it’s not just me.)

Image source.


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