Be Your Wild Authentic Self,  Sunday Summary

10 Ways I’m Practicing Self-Care in 2019

If 2018 was the year of The Tower, of a personal transformation, then 2019 is the year of the Temperance card from the tarot. Temperance is all about balance, moderation, and patience. Or, as Biddy Tarot puts it,

There is alchemy within Temperance. This Tarot card is about blending, mixing, and combining diverse elements in a way that creates something new and even more valuable than its separate parts. ‘Blending’ can take on many forms; for example, a blended family, an artist who blends different materials or techniques, a bartender who mixes new and exciting cocktails, or a chef who combines different cuisines and cooking styles.

In 2018, I realized not only how it was I wanted to live and what it was that I wanted to create, but that I was capable of living the life I dreamed and creating the work I wanted to create—telling stories of magic and romance, creating magic and beauty and inspiration and sharing those things with others, whether in a blog post, an article, a poem, or a novel.

I began 2019 charging ahead, but I realized that creating that lifestyle, breathing life into that vision, wasn’t about slashing through briars with a sword. I’d done that in 2018—clearing away the old ideas, the false beliefs, the misguided assumptions that held me back.

No, the path was clear.

But I needed to enjoy that path.

Slated for this year is a series of four novellas, each one centered around one of the four elements. In TANGLED ROOTS we explore the element of earth. TANGLED CURRENTS explored water magic, while TANGLED FLAMES is all about the duality of fire. Lastly, TANGLED FEATHERS is about air (there may be ravens).

I realized I wanted to create these stories from deep within, from center, from spirit. They are very much heart stories, and I want each of them to shine with that light.

In order to do that, to balance creating stories from that well within with refilling it, self-care is essential. No matter what we do, whether it’s writing, making art, crunching numbers, writing code, nursing patients, parenting children, doing volunteer work, or whatever fills our days, self-care is necessary.

I decided to create a list of self-care practices to weave into my life this year. I like this imagery of weaving, of creating our lives as a living tapestry, always changing, shifting, transforming.

So, I sat down, and with heart and intention, created my list.

  1. Listen to music.
  2. Drink a cup of green tea.
  3. Spend a few minutes in nature, weather permitting.
  4. 4. In the spring, grow a few shade-loving herbs on my patio, and find a frugal way to turn that space into a sanctuary for slowness and reflection.
  5. Read a little every day of something I love, even if it’s just a short scene or chapter.
  6. Aim for one day a week where there’s nothing “scheduled” on my day planner. I might still need to throw a load of laundry in the wash or put dinner in the slow-cooker. Having an open day isn’t so much about doing nothing as it is about making space for life to happen, organically, in its own way. That’s the magic.
  7. Eat breakfast. I’m not always hungry in the mornings, but even a small bowl of overnight oats would get the day off to a better start.
  8. Experiment with Epsom salt bath blends to find one that works best for me.
  9. Paint my fingernails.
  10. Take a daily multivitamin.

What about you? What’s on your self-care list? And remember, it’s not a to-do list where you’re checking things off. It’s not another chore. It’s just something we can turn to when we’re overwhelmed.

Fantasy-romance author. Witch. Tarot reader. Possibly a woodland sprite. Debut release TANGLED ROOTS coming May 2019.

16 Comments

  • Rui Chan

    Love the idea of the list, but can’t say I have one. I do try to give myself a break and there is always one day in my week when nothing is planned.

  • Jennette Marie Powell

    I love your list, especially #6! My self-care includes drinking two glasses of water right after I get up in the morning, plus more throughout the day. +1 to read something I love every day, even if it’s just a chapter or scene! The other big one (and tough one) is to let myself leave things on my to-do list undone if I’m tired.

    • denisedyoungbooks

      This is a great list, Jennette. I’m trying not to get frustrated or disappointed with myself when I leave things undone on my to-do list–but I’m also trying to learn to create to-do lists that are more manageable. I just learned about Spoon Theory (post on that probably coming soon), and I think that will be very beneficial. 🙂

  • Shannon Yseult

    I love your imagery. “breathing life into that vision” is the perfect way to think about goals. I personally have to put my self-care goals on my list, or they don’t get done. Sometimes that can add to the stress of the day, but when I finally get to reading it’s worth it.

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Very well said! I think we so often put self-care last, and that leads to burnout. I’ve been there and seen others get to that point of exhaustion and frustration, and I’d definitely like to avoid it. Making self-care a priority is definitely key. And yes, reading is a great way to fill the well!

  • Eden Mabee

    Ravens…. Oh, I do so hope there will be ravens. And crows, even if they sometimes are tricksters. Tricksters get a raw deal in mythology, but often they teach us some of the greatest lessons in life.

    You make an excellent point, Denise, about not needing to clear a path forward. Too many times we tear down the structures of our past needs without thinking about the resources that they hold, doubling and trebling our efforts for little extra gain. Enjoy the journey, look about you…. find the magic.

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Ravens are wonderful–and so are crows! I actually love the trickster energy of crows. You’re right. They do teach us great lessons–and to me, they represent the mystery of the unknown.

      I am indeed in that place where I am embracing the journey, and finding magic everywhere I look. Thanks, Eden! 🙂

  • Chris Loehmer Kincaid

    I’ve been doing the same exercise routine for years and can’t tell if it’s really gotten me anywhere. Three days ago, I started a 30-day yoga challenge. I’m going to stick with it for 30 days and see if this gives me the energy, strength and healthy-vibe that all that exercising was supposed to do. Yes, it is so important to do something for ourselves on a regular basis. Best wishes with your list.

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Thanks, Chris! I’ve come to the point where my exercise routine is long walks, occasional gentle yoga/stretching, and ridiculous dancing. I actually think it works quite well for me. I know it’s an area of life in which many people have strong opinions, but I have found walking, etc. to be a great form of exercise for me. I hope your 30-day yoga challenge is going well! Best of luck! 🙂

  • Widdershins

    Just popped over here from your other blog … very nice. 😀 … couple of things – does the receiving email alerts thingy work here or do I have to sign up again?… and the ‘script’ font your list is in, is hard to read … going to go forth and browse now.:D

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Hi! Thanks for coming to my new site. You will have to sign up to receive emails from the new site, unfortunately, because that feature didn’t carry over. There’s a pretty little box on the right sidebar that says “Never miss a post.” You should get blog posts direct to your inbox that way. A newsletter with additional goodies is coming soon. I changed the script and will keep this in mind for future posts. Thank you! 🙂

  • Shan Jeniah Burton

    Okay, you had me at “there may be ravens.” Oh, please, let there be ravens… evermore! I lived among them at the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, and they are magnificent.

    Every time I read one of your posts, I feel uplifted and a sense of possibility and widened scope. So perhaps you are part of my self-care?

    Other things:

    Walking and snuggling my dog (she loves to cuddle).
    Focusing on drinking water throughout the day.
    Remembering to eat (I’m not especially motivated by food, so sometimes I forget if I don’t put it on my to-do list every few hours).
    Preparing food – somehow, making a simple meal pleases me – often more than eating it does.
    Spending time every day in connection with my kids, At 17 and 14, they’re growing up fast, and I don’t want to miss chances to laugh with them, listen to their deeper thoughts, help them figure the world out – and soak up the last of their living here with me before they move on (physically, or just in spirit) to the independent portions of their lives.
    Making the time to watch Enterprise (and Voyager, if I can), and live-tweeting it with other folks whose eyes don’t glaze over when I talk about Star Trek.
    Buying good coffee beans and grinding them at home.
    I’m sure there are many others, but these are the ones most likely to be in my everyday….

    May you enjoy the process of this year of enjoyment and creation of your heart stories!

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Thank you so much for these kinds words: “Every time I read one of your posts, I feel uplifted and a sense of possibility and widened scope. So perhaps you are part of my self-care?” That made my heart sing with joy. Thank you!

      I share your forgetfulness about food. I’m not especially food-motivated either, and often I’d rather write/read/create than stop to prepare lunch or a snack. So I relate. You have a good list here.

      Thanks, Shan, as always, for your kindness and warm spirit!

  • Heather R. Holden

    So true about the importance of self-care. 2017 and 2018 were both difficult years for me, in different ways, which has made me more mindful of what I can handle, and that it’s okay to put myself first. Listening to music is something on my list of self-care practices, too. Also really love the idea of having a day where nothing is scheduled–will have to implement that into my life!

    And oh, I’m so excited for your new novella series. It sounds so wonderfully whimsical, and having each story focus on a different element is such a fun idea! (Also…yes to ravens. Never enough ravens!)

    • denisedyoungbooks

      I struggled in 2017/2018 as well. Those were definitely years where I felt something wasn’t right, and it took me a while and a number of missteps to find my way. Maybe it was something in the stars?

      Thank you! I am excited too. I love these characters and this world and can’t wait to share their love, their magic, their struggles, their triumphs, and their happy endings with others. And yes…never enough ravens. I think we’re all in agreement there! 🙂