I’m writing this from the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. I try to work ahead when it comes to penning things for the site, but I was hoping the rich earth of my home state would inspire me to fashion something inspired. Ensconced in the solitude of my childhood home, legs draped over the arm of my favorite overstuffed chair, I wondered if the quiet and familiarity of my beloved house would lead me somewhere else entirely.
And, boy, did it.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been inundated with emails about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There have been innumerable calls to travel hair tips and Thanksgiving fashion, what lip gloss to wear if you’re meeting your boyfriend’s parents, which pajamas to buy. Messages about how to dress your kids, what hand cream to buy the day after the holiday, and any and every possible kind of code if you want to do some after-Turkey Day shopping.
I deleted all of it.
Listen, there are a million other places who will run those codes. If you open any website, they will give you codes. You’ll see all the products. If you get in a car like we plan to do the day after Thanksgiving (I don’t know what we’re thinking; it’s going to be insane,) there will be doorbusters and coupons and all sorts of steals and deals so you can shop until you drop.
But where in that giant pile of lists is us? You, I mean. And me. And our moms. And the other women in our families. Where is some quiet time for us? Where do we fall in that pile of lists, that litany of coupon codes?
I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving for years. Mom and I made the decision a while back that if we had to travel for the holidays, we would pick one of the two major end-of-the-year holidays and make it count. For years, that’s been Christmas. This year, after Grandma passed away, I knew we had to change that rule. We’re the only family we have left now. We must take care of each other, but we’re also both determined to take care of ourselves.
In part, this flight to my beloved West Virginia is somewhat selfish. I am here to be with my mother, to soak in as many hugs and laughs and memories as I can. I’m here to help her with the long honey-do list of things that need to be fixed around the house in addition to cooking everything (I’m the one who cooks in our little family; it’s been that way since I was a teenager.) But I’m also here to soothe my soul. I will always love it here, and I just needed to get off the news sites and get on an airplane and see my beloved home.
I planned my little self-care rituals before I landed, and jumped on it first thing this morning. I got a guest pass to the local gym so I can get up and work out. I dropped by the local yoga studio to grab a few of their classes. I snagged some bubble bath at Target so I can soak some cares away. As busy as these days will be, there’s a lot of downtime planned as well. Because in all the noise and merriment, I also deserve some love and attention.
So, my plea to you is simple: don’t forget about yourself. In that pile of packing lists and grocery lists and lists of all the presents you want to buy the day after Thanksgiving (or Cyber Monday, or whenever you want to get started,) be sure there’s a list for you, too. Get some exercise. Plan a walk. Take your meds, if that’s applicable to you. Close the door and take a nap. Read a book. Call your girlfriends and make a date. But don’t forget about yourself. The reason for the season is giving thanks. That gratitude starts with you.
I’m thankful for a lot of things this season, but the fact that I still have a body that works and the means to move it is a big deal. I can’t forget about that, and neither should you.
And that’s what I want to manifest this week: gratitude. Being thankful for what I already have, and treating myself like I mean it. Join me, won’t you?
Also, I’m grateful for you. Thanks for reading, everybody.
Now, go put yourself ALL OVER your to-do lists. The shopping will get done. The turkey will make it. You’ll leave some things off the lists; that’s to be expected. Just don’t forget about yourself.
Photos: Sarah Conley of StyleIt Online.