for my co-workers at the Catherine McAuley Center

(first draft)

Self-care is making time for yoga in the morning.
It’s meditation, of course. Just lighting a candle.
Self-care is often letting the work wait another minute,
although sometimes it is showing up when you don’t want to,
shocking yourself out of procrastination,
resisting the temptation to push boundaries
and see just how much you can get away with.
It’s feeling good about getting s%&t done.

First, let the work be what you love.
Slow down.
Use all of your senses.

Have a cup of tea. Sing along to your favorite songs.

Self-care can be a matter of not looking in the mirror,
or trying to trick Zoom dysmorphia with lipstick.
Self-care is choosing sneakers even though the heels look better.
Sometimes, it’s choosing the heels because they make you feel powerful and confident.
It’s choosing to smile even when things hurt.
Self-care is accepting the compliment without depreciation.

Self-care is listening to poetry;
writing poetry,
buying yourself presents – like new art supplies,
a ring that reminds you to breathe,
clothes that fit loose and don’t itch,
real wool socks to keep your feet warm.

It’s making healthy choices for yourself and the planet (when possible).
It’s getting vaccines and annual exams.
Sometimes it’s as simple as chocolate,
a new pair of glasses,
or going for a walk in the middle of the day.

On vacation, May 2021. Photo by Miranda Pikul.

Self-care is believing in your worth, skill, knowledge and talent even when others don’t seem to get it,
or don’t seem to care at all (the worst!).

It’s forgiving the people who didn’t love you as much as you wanted them to and forgiving yourself for the desire.

Self-care is letting your grown-up daughter get the check
and feeling proud you made a good person.
It’s trying not to spend every cent you save.
It’s asking for help when you need it and
not judging yourself when you make a mistake.
It’s talking to yourself like you’d talk to your sister,
your daughters,
dear friends,
or a struggling student who wants to improve.

Self-care is satisfaction that you’ve done enough.
It’s not giving up on hope, on joy.
It’s learning to love your own company,
and make the place where you are
the place you want to be.
It’s beginning again every day
with an open heart
and an open mind,
always being kind
without wanting anything in return
because it feels good to give.

-ag