My current goal is to make 2019 the year I finally find my oxygen mask. You know, “make sure your own mask is on first before helping others”?
In October 2016 I was having a very stressful time and then election day hit. It did not go well for feminists. Fortunately I had recently started therapy again and was still on one psychiatric medication, but I got an additional one at the suggestion of an excellent psychiatrist who is unfortunately hard to get hold of and who doesn’t take my insurance. At the time I was working with a group that researched (among other things) health in Latinx communities, and I am White. I was chicken and called in sick to work the day after election day. Then I pulled myself together. You know how politics has gone since then.
A week later, my beloved father-in-law died unexpectedly. Most of 2017 was spent in mourning. In 2017, our cat almost died several times and then did die (we have new ones now!), and my beloved grandmother died just before Christmas (she was very old, and the heart of the family), and my other grandmother’s dementia got the best of her. Her body is still walking around, but she’s away with the fairies. There were a few months where our apartment seemed to have contagious depression. My sister’s husband was laid off in a really dickish way in mid-December of 2017. Friends were sad and anxious. Far-away family struggled with finances, finding my grandmother a nursing home that would take her (achieved in 2018!), and my beloved aunt got very very sick in early to mid-2018 and perforated her bowel from the stress of it (surgery, months with an ostomy bag, weight down to less than 90 lbs.). My cousin almost died and had to have emergency brain surgery the night of Christmas Eve 2017, causing his father my uncle to miss his own mother’s funeral. In 2017 and 2018, my father got diagnosed with something potentially scary (he’s fine now, but has an occasional midnight panic attack), my sister struggled with infertility, my mother-in-law and her whole family grieved and mourned, I quit my job and got another (where I have a good boss), and so did my partner.
Going into 2019, I have just recently, like in the past few months, started to feel like I can even take a breath. 2018 was something of a dumpster fire, but it was also the year of the gradual, eventual turnaround for people I care about. We might be ok now; I just need like another 6 months of nobody dying and I’ll be able to brain again. Come on, just make it six more months!
It’s been a struggle, folks.
Finally Finding the Oxygen Mask in 2019:
I’m against New Year’s resolutions. I suck at them. I decided to try doing small but good things for myself each month in 2019. (I got the idea for the first one from Lifehacker.) Doing a big thing, or even a couple medium things, is totally outside my capacity for now. I hope that by doing these small things, I will be substantially less cranky by the end of 2019. I will also stay on my meds and in therapy.
January: Don’t spend money except on food (or toilet paper). I thought this was going to be easy but it turns out I already messed up in the second week of Jan., and barely noticed! The point of this challenge is mainly to *notice*. I’ll keep working on it.
February: Go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.
March: Eat down the pantry and freezer. Defrost those noms.
April: Clean up my damn room. Put stuff away and keep it clean-ish.
May: Information/news break. Absolutely no clicking on twitter links or links that look like they might be irritating; use facebook only for the one (closed) group I’m in. [#2 will keep you all in links :)]
June: Moar blogging! [#2 WOOOOO!!!!]
July: Eat more delicious fruit & local veg.
August: Eat more delicious fruit & local veg.
September: Deeply Rest. Still figuring out what this will mean, but I came up with this phrase that sounds appealing.
October: Focus on reading for enjoyment.
November: Absolutely no news exposure from any source. [#2 will keep you all in links :)]
December: Focus on reading for enjoyment. Don’t go anywhere.
#2 notes: Those of us with oxygen masks can help carry the load for those who are finding theirs. There will be important actions to do in 2019!
Do you plan to improve self-care in 2019? How? Or do you have a routine that’s working for you?