Diary: Why Self-Care is the Port in the Storm
Most days of the week, I wake up at four am. I love the quiet. It started with yoga before I wrote, then once I added physical therapy exercises, that extra hour in the morning made sense.
Being a writer requires a lot of sitting. Which, in some health & wellness circles, is considered “the new smoking,” and I get it. (So does my shoulder, back, and hips.) And let me tell you, physical therapy works. “Motion is lotion,” as my physical therapist says. Not only for my physical body but for my mental health, too, and I had a reminder of that recently.
I was excited (still am!) about the future of our community of Partners of Commercial Fishermen after the connections I made and what I learned at the Pacific Marine Expo in November. Yet I was also confused, almost fearful of what to do next because I want(ed) to get it right so badly. I flew back to California to collect my thoughts and slept in the next day to catch up on rest.
Then, I slept in again, and the next until I realized almost a week had passed since I’d performed my early AF morning routine. (Grated, sleeping in is, like, 6 am or 7 am, but still. The same effect of feeling behind.) It’s taken me years to figure out that when I start to feel depressed, it’s because I am not putting myself first.
It took running into the mountains for a few days to make sense of what I learned at the Expo, and the real-life sh*t people are going through in different fisheries across the country that, I’m sure, reverberates across the globe.
What came up for me most was that it comes down to the women.
Us. We carry the load, equal if not more.
Yet, we are built to handle challenges because we are women. We are wise, creative, strong, emotionally intelligent, loving, resilient, beautiful, and fun as hell.
But the collective female energy that I’m witnessing now (and I’m sure you see it), that you’re either supercharged, totally freakin’ drained or frozen on what to do next. I am continually challenged by these in my own way (because that’s life, right?), so if any of this sounds familiar, then it’s time to tend to fluff your feather bed.
What the hell do I mean by that?
I mean that each time we skip over something that would benefit our health or mental health or put others in front of our needs, a feather gets plucked from our cozy nest until we’re left shivering in the cold.
For me, I’ve had to work on personal boundaries, like overcommitting, people-pleasing, and learning to say “No.” But it can be as simple as spreading balm on chapped hands or lips, downing a glass of water you’ve been meaning to drink, or setting a twenty-minute timer on your phone to just lay the F down without any obligation to move within that sacred time for YOU.
So how are we going to collect those feathers until we’re in our cozy nest again?
Maybe it’s a quick walk or hike.
Picking up your passion project you’ve wanted to finish.
Extra snuggles with the kids (or having a family or neighbor watch them for an hour so you can lay the F down).
Or, my personal favorite, blasting your favorite tunes and dancing like a mad woman if you only have a few minutes to yourself. It took me a long time to “dance like nobody is watching” when, quite literally, nobody is watching. And sometimes, I still hold back. But, man, when you let go, your fire will start to roar back.
This advice either speaks to you or triggers an eye-roll, but hear me out:
We can’t control the unknown, but we can control ourselves.
Our biggest pain point is fear of the unknown. But what if we built an amazingly soft place to settle when the seasons (and life) get unpredictable?
We are not only powerful women; we are *Partners of Commercial Fishermen!* We are called to take on more than the average partner, and just like the women before us, we do so much out of love. We give all or nothing.
But imagine how less anxious we will be if we turn that nurturing love back to ourselves.
I’m posting an incredible story of love and loss by POCF Jenny Gore Dwyer, mother-in-law of our girl Bri Dwyer and mom of Sean. (You may remember Jenny from her guest post or her Crabby Mama blog or through their family connection to Deadliest Catch.) Jenny’s story will pull at your heart through a shared sisterhood to her experience and with gratitude for the love we have for commercial fishermen. Jenny illustrates the perspective of a partner, mother, family business owner, and a lasting relationship with her partner and herself, and I can’t wait for you to read it.
Until then, below is a cozy (read: easy!) yoga practice through Yoga with Adrienne. She’s one of my favorite teachers, with loads of free all-level classes to dive into. Sending lots of love to you out there, and hoping you turn powerful love back to YOU. 💙
What does self-care look like to you right now? What’s one thing you can do today to bring ease into your life?
If you liked this, you’d love Confessions of a Captain’s Wife Trying Not To Lose It.