I bet you know what heals your kids. I bet you know their favorite songs, their favorite books, their favorite toys, their favorite kind of soup. I bet you know exactly what they need when they’re feeling sick or sad or anxious. And I bet you give it to them. Without hesitation. Without judging them for needing rest, compassion, a hug, or to cry.
I bet you know what heals your hubby and your best friend and your brother and your mom and your dad. And I bet you help them, too. I also bet you don’t judge them.
Do you know what heals you? What heals you when your head or heart aches? What heals you when you have a cold? A stomach bug? When the world becomes too loud? When grief finds a place inside your heart and stays for a while? What heals you when you’re distressed or overwhelmed?
Do you give yourself these things? Or do you judge yourself? Do you judge yourself for needing a day off because, you know, you’re weak? Too sensitive? Lazy? Childish? A loser? Never good enough?
Do you feel guilty for caring for yourself? For napping during the day? For sleeping in? For taking too many breaks? Or do you feel guilty for trying to care for yourself? Exhausted yet awake, laying on the couch feeling sharp sensations of anxiety, from the guilt?
Take some time in the week ahead to better understand what heals and soothes you in different situations, at different times, during different seasons. Write these things down in a notebook. Refer to your notes when you inevitably forget what restores and revives you.
Maybe you even write a letter reminding yourself that turning to these things is perfectly OK. It’s OK that you need to take a long, hot shower and watch a bunch of your favorite shows after a bad day at work. It’s OK that you need to be alone, alone with your thoughts, feelings and tears, and write in your journal.
It’s OK that you need 10 to 12 hours of sleep to recover from a difficult presentation or the end of a project. It’s OK that you need to stare at the stars, the wall, the TV, or the rain. It’s OK that you need to bury your entire body, including your head, under the covers. It’s OK that you need to watch reality shows. It’s OK that you need to write yourself a love letter and read it regularly. Like a few times a day.
It’s OK that you need to listen to the Cranberries and cry. It’s OK that you need to completely disconnect from social media for days. Or weeks. Or forever. It’s OK that you need to sit in the bathroom because that’s the quietest place in your home. To simply think. And feel. And be.
It’s perfectly OK.
Heal yourself. Soothe yourself. Give yourself what you need. Let it be OK. It will be OK.