When I was a little girl, my grandma used to put a pot on the old gas stove that sat in the living room. In the pot she put slices of orange, cloves and water. The aroma from this mixture filled the “Old homeplace” as we called it, which consisted of six bedrooms and one bathroom. This was my safe haven, my peaceful place, and I was happy there. I spent most of my childhood and early adulthood with my grandma. I loved her so much--I was her Shannie Cake, and she was my happy place.
After my grandma passed away in 2015, I was devastated. I felt as though life as I knew it was no more. Where was I going to go when I needed to be heard? Who was going to be my motivation now, my cheerleader? This brought on feelings I wasn’t used to having. Day after day, I was like a zombie on auto pilot. I would go to work and come home with the kids, that was it. What I wasn’t doing was taking care of Shannon. Everyone else’s needs were put before my own; the kids, my job, my other family members. My needs weren’t being met or even thought about. No manicures, pedicures, massages, girl’s day out, not even 15 minutes of quiet me time. What I didn’t realize was that I needed to take care of me before I could be anything for anyone else. Before I could be a mom, a partner, a daughter, anything. I needed to make my self-care a priority. I needed to take care of me for me.
I know I’ve touched on how very important it is to practice self-care, now more than ever. I think I need to reiterate that once again. What is self-care? It’s the taking time away from your daily responsibilities to care for your mind, body, and soul. It’s essentially having what you need as a human to accomplish another day.
As I sit here writing to you, I feel stress, pressure, and anxiety taunting me all at once. I’m physically and emotionally drained. I think it’s hard for me personally because I’m the “strong” one; the one that holds it all together and continuously adds to others' emotional bank account. With all that being said, I’m finally coming to terms that it’s ok and normal to feel this way. I think everyone is having some sort of anxiety or uncertainty with it being the holidays, not to mention an extremely nasty pandemic. After dealing with eight months of crazy, even the strongest individuals are feeling uneasy.
We tend to forget about ourselves, especially at a time of chaos. Yes, I know I may be preaching to the choir, but I’m reminding you that self-care is vital. We’re all going through things we never imagined having to deal with. Maybe your spouse or partner is laid off and it’s right here at Christmas time. Maybe you’re worried about your children being back at school. Some are missing loved ones they haven’t seen since the pandemic started. I get it, and I think we all get it.
My plan for the first December blog was to talk about new books I like (and I still will) but I felt really strongly about touching on this subject again, especially with the added stress from the holidays. It doesn’t have to always take money to make self-care a priority, but it does take some of your time and effort.
We have a plethora of books here at the library you may find helpful. I’m also including a couple of website links on self-care ideas and tips. Some great nonfiction books you may want to check out are:
• Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
• Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
• Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Self Care Ideas
If we don't take care of ourselves, who will? Check out the links below for some great ideas on how to treat yourself right.
13 Self Care Ideas That Actually Heal Your Mind and Soul
51 Self Care Ideas To Kickstart Your Self Care Routine
Book Recommendations For Kids
Some great picture books for the month of December are:
• Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper
• The Unicorns Who Saved Christmas by Mary Winn Heider
• Snow Days by Deborah Kerbel
• Once Upon a Winter Day by Liza Woodruff
• The All-Together Quilt by Lizzy Rockwell
You can find some really cute Christmas songs, finger plays and activities at:
You guys know my all-time favorite Christmas dance is The Reindeer Pokey. Learn how to do this fun dance with your children by clicking below!
Please also remember to take advantage of our Express Books service here at the library. It only takes a few minutes and you can be as specific or vague as you would like. It just gives me some type of idea as to the books that would work best for you and your class.
Express Books Form | Express Books for Institutions Form*
As educators we have learned how to plan and prepare like never before, all while trying to implement important subjects such as anti-bias, anti-racism and social justice into our everyday practices. Somedays it feels as if it’s more than we can bear. I’m just here to tell you, we got this! I think this was the best time to reflect and transition into the new year with a fresh mind, body and soul.
Thanks for sticking with me this month,