Happy New Year! I wish you all the happiness you can hold in 2017. But wishing isn't really helpful for those who are like, "'Da fuq, Nikki? That's all you gonna do for me?" My husband says, "You can wish in one hand and shit in the other, which one fills up faster?" That's right...shit. You can keep your wishes! But I'm not going to shit in your clappers so you have something tangible to show people, like, "Hey, LOOK WHAT NIKKI GAVE ME! A STEAMING PILE OF SCAT!" First of all, people won't be jealous and second, I think you'd prefer my wish over my turds, so know that the wish is sincere despite the fact that you are technically walking away empty handed.
I AM sincerely wishing happiness for you. But I really WANT to GIVE you something! So I'm giving you my soundtrack for self care for the purpose of increasing your chances for finding happiness in 2017.
Self care. What is it? There are several definitions, but for the purpose of this blog, I'm using Wikipedia...
In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.(1)
When I talk with clients about self care, I'm not talking about basic human functions that you need to stay alive and healthy like pooping or bathing or eating or drinking. I'm talking about SOUL care. I'm talking about doing things that make you feel like YOU. I'm talking about things that remind you of your identity and values. I'm talking about what is TRUE for YOU.
In 2016, I set a goal for myself and that goal was to prioritize self care. 2015 was a soul sucker for me. There were so many things that truly required my attention and action that by the time I was done for the day, the only self care activities I could intentionally and purposefully prioritize were the basics - eat, sleep, poop, repeat.
( I promise I'm going to get away from the poop talk. Bear with me...)
On my 46th birthday on February 20th of 2016, I signed my mother into hospice care. It was a bittersweet day. Sadness for my mom and joy for me to have reached another birthday and be celebrating it with my mother, extended family and best friends. The very next day, I decided that nothing would stand between me and ME, so I ran myself a warm bath and settled in with bubbles and tunes. The first song on shuffle was a song that reminds me of my momma called, "Feeling Alive," by the Jonas Brothers. Why does that song remind me of my mother? Because I was listening to it the day her feeding tube was removed. The lyrics...UGH.
Have you ever felt like your living in the shadows? Have you ever felt kept down? I know sometimes it can feel like a battle, but it can turn around.
And then the chorus kicks in...
Heeeeeeeey! This is the night, this is the night. Heeeeeeey, I'm feeling Alive, I'm feeling Alive.
I had been isolated and disconnected from the things that made me feel like ME during the time my mother was in crisis. The crisis was over. There was hope. It was a new beginning. I was grateful. And it was perfect. My mom used music as a coping skill and a mood lifter after my father died. Michael W. Smith's Worship Album was musical Prozac. Over and over and over she listened to the songs, "Breathe," and "Let it Rain," and slowly she came back to life. I have always loved music, but watching her heal through music was, hands down, one of the most important life lessons I learned from her.
Music is one of the primary ways I connect with my soul, my identity, my values, and MY TRUTH. I create soundtracks - or playlists as kids today call 'em - of all sorts that provide the background to my thoughts. My soul tribe soundtrack connects me to the people who have made a difference in my life, the people who have made my life, the people who have made me.
So there you go! You have something real, some non-poop to hold on to. I realize that I shared my soundtrack, but that doesn't mean you have to copy it. What I'm giving you is the idea! Make your own self care soundtrack! Music is self care. Music connects you to the people, places, and things that matter. It can bring you back to YOU. Create your own! Make it part of your self care, something you prioritize for the simple purpose of bringing yourself to happy in 2017.
You are welcome.
If you want to hear me talk more about mental health and self care, here's a link to an interview I did on WGN Radio with Amy Guth. We talk about New Year's Resolutions and how to turn them in to self care. Click on the link below to listen!
(1) Reference via Wikipedia
Alexander Segall and Jay Goldstein (1998). "Exploring the Correlates of Self Provided Health Care Behaviour". In Coburn, David; D'Arcy, Alex; Torrance, George Murray. Health and Canadian Society: Sociological Perspectives. University of Toronto Press. pp. 279–280. ISBN 0802080529. Retrieved 29 August 2013.