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Let’s Talk Self-Care
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 2-9-22

Let’s face it, January was a long year.

Generally speaking, I’m an optimistic person but 2022 started off rocky for most. We’re still in a global pandemic, people are fighting with each other over perceived slights, and it seems everyone has a hair trigger over the smallest thing.

Okay, so we all need a time-out, some personal care, and a reminder we are all flawed humans and needing a little extra grace at times.

I don’t see how we can go wrong if our go-to response to any given situation is kindness.

Let’s play it out and see.

Someone cut you off? Maybe they didn’t see you because they’re going through something that momentarily distracted them. Maybe they’re a new driver and still learning. Maybe they’re simply human and made a mistake and screaming at them isn’t going to improve the situation or make anyone feel better.

Try kindness and see how it feels.

Frustrated within a customer service situation? Take a breath, remember that your frustration may be valid but treating the other person poorly isn’t going to help. What I try to do is voice my frustration (i.e., I’m sorry if I sound curt. I know it’s not your fault but I’m very frustrated and I need help) so the other person knows I’m not placing blame and maybe they can help me find a solution without making them feel like they’re the reason I’m upset.

When I was younger, I didn’t have these kinds of communication tools at my disposal. I snapped when I was angry, yelled at other drivers, and generally made a situation worse with my short temper.

I’d like to think with age comes wisdom and the ability to apply the tools in my toolbox when needed.

But I see a lot of people regressing to short-tempered children when they should have better coping skills, which makes me wonder what’s being taught at home.

Are we teaching our children to be kind? To offer grace? To think of others? Or are we teaching them, ‘Screw your feelings; I’m the only person who matters’ because personally, I find those kinds of people wretched and awful to be around for any length of time. Is that the legacy we wish to leave behind?

And that leads me back to my original statement.

Maybe we all need some more self-care, more joy, more smiles in our life.

Self-care can be as simple as taking a minute to enjoy a bubble bath, grabbing some pens and your favorite color book, or enjoying a hobby. “Filling the well” is a popular phrase among artists because our creative muse cannot thrive without emotional sustenance but the sentiment is applicable across the human experience.

We cannot simply live to work. We need other experiences to round out our lives and provide balance.

Love nature? Find the time to go for a hike.

Love adventure? Take a day trip and discover some place new.

Love science? Go to the Arts and Science Museum in San Francisco.

Love helping others? Find a new service organization in need of fresh volunteers and throw your hat in the ring.

There are so many ways to become better versions of ourselves. All it takes is the decision to make our self-care a priority.

Because self-loathing is so cliché.

Self-improvement is where it’s at.

And kindness is a look that never goes out of style.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.