Welcome back to a radical day of caring for yourself. If you have not read Part 1, click back and start from the beginning. We just finished lunch and we have already done more self-care than most people do in an entire year. Great food, laughs, maybe a few tears in counseling and moments of movement and quiet geared toward creating space for yourself. We will serve everyone else the other 350-plus days of the year, but for now, let’s move on to the afternoon schedule of events.
Haircut: After lunch, it is time for a haircut. I have been seeing the same person for over twenty years. Between you and me, I have cheated on her a time or two. Quite frankly, the convenience of getting a different person to style my hair almost never outweighs the anxiety I feel thinking the new person might screw it up. Not all haircuts are created equally, and not all cosmetologists have the same level of skill or familiarity with your hair that makes you feel like a better version of yourself. Your full day of self-care is not the day to experiment with a new color or try something radically different. A new person or style is simply too risky on this precious of days. We do not want anything to extinguish the vibe we are working to create. Upon request, I bet your hair professional will massage your scalp during the wash, conditioning deeply –finishing with a hot towel. Next, even (or especially) men should clean up those eyebrows before the main event –a fresh cut and style. For men, skip the straight razor shave. There is more terror and pain involved than relaxation. I wrote a blog about my experience several years ago, and I have no plans to go back. Are you a woman who needs color? Today is the day to cover up that gray, but again, opt for something tried and true. Go with pink highlights next time.
Massage: One of the experiences I have added to my frequent routine is massage therapy. After twenty-three years at a computer and lurching around courthouses and conference rooms in a litigation-centered law practice with my less than stellar posture, my back hurts. I also herniated a disk in the backyard when I temporarily forgot my age playing with the girls when they were younger. I see Tamara Harris of Living Waters Massage Therapy Clinic in Ridgeland. She is incredible. Notice the word “spa” is not in the title. You feel more like a car getting an oil change than a prince or princess being pampered. Good massage therapy can be intense and sometimes painful, but I look forward to my 60-minute session with Tamara when I see it on my calendar. She specializes in ashiatsu massage (a massage that uses the feet), hot and cold stone therapy, deep tissue and sports massage. She also incorporates stretching. She’s a beast. Actually, just forgot you read this part, because her schedule stays booked because lots of others have discovered the secret gift of frequent massage therapy. I will leave you with this –I have not been back to the chiropractor or physical therapist since I started massage therapy several months ago.
Meditation: After your massage, it is time to meditate again. This time outside if the weather permits. In Mississippi, we get about twenty amazing days of weather in October and April combined, so even if today is not one of those days, find a tree to sit under or a bench in a park, close your eyes and intentionally clear your mind. I am not a great meditator, but it helps me sometimes to envision an empty movie theatre, staring at a blank screen. If a thought comes into your mind, recognize it like a duck on a pond with a smile and a nod and let it swim by. No need to call the duck, catch the duck, or feed the duck. Don’t quack back. Just let him swim away, out of your consciousness and out of your mind. I recommend ten minutes for the beginner. Honestly, sometimes my itchy existence will only allow me five or less, and it certainly does not happen every day. Like law, I guess that is why they call it the “practice” of meditation.
Play: After a mental reset, time to play. Like laughter, play often escapes us as adults when the burdens of work, children, relationships and just life consume most of our energy, which I am finding is precious and limited each day. Play takes many forms and is specific to the individual at play. My younger kid lights up on the volleyball court. If she gets into it, her serve is unreturnable and after her team chants A-C-E, she will give you a smile and a little dance. When I was a child, play was synonymous with sports too. Any form of competition would do. While I played football and baseball in high school, my friends and I would put together whiffle ball games, three on three basketball, tennis matches, dodgeball and sometimes games we made up. When I was alone, I liked to be creative. I would paint, draw and build things in my dad’s shop. When my dog Bear plays, he wants to fight. I have a friend like that too, he’s my age but he goes to a jujitsu class to spar. Play for you may be golf, tennis, sporting clays, hiking, painting, wood working, board games, rock climbing, cards, puzzling, bowling, hunting, fishing or a cooking class, but relearning the word PLAY is essential for self-care.
Cocktail Hour: Drinking is bad for you, but I still do it. Some may debate a glass of wine on the occasional evening is healthy, and I like to believe this to be true. Obviously, if you struggle with alcoholism, drinking at all should be out of the question. The older I get, the more difficult my body has processing things I used to love like beer and margaritas. Honestly, I love all types of libations as is evidenced by my TikTok feed, because every third video is some guy or girl mixing a drink. While we probably shouldn’t drink on our full day of self-care, I am going to add one little indulgence to my agenda. While the options are endless for the cocktail portion of the full day of self-care, my choice is a glass of red wine. On a quick trip to Birmingham many years ago, Rachel and I stayed at a fabulous hotel, the Grand Bohemian. On that particular night, a Napa Valley Merlot called Emmolo was the house red. It is amazing. I have even seen it at the local Costco from time to time, and the price point is very reasonable. When a Merlot like Emmolo is good, it is rich, round, earthy and expressive, with ripe but complex fruit character. If the weather is right, I will take my Merlot near a wood burning fire, with glowing embers and a soothing heat rivaling the inner warmth of this most blessed of self-care days. I will also take mine with Rachel, in our backyard, because she is my best friend and defines “comfort” for me.
Dinner/Music: We love to cook in my house. We love eating out too. Actually, we just like food, wherever it is being served. When I am relaxed and rested, I like to do creative things. Cooking is a form of creativity that you can enjoy regardless of your level of talent. Frankly, if you can read or know how to search something on YouTube, you can cook. After a day of being on the go, sometimes it is nice to have food at home. When I am cooking, I am also playing music. My taste in food and music is quite eclectic. On a fantastic short trip Rachel and I recently took to New Orleans, after lots of food and drinks in different venues in NOLA, we closed out our time back in Jackson enjoying dinner with friends before a Jason Isbell show, and that is how I recommend this full day of self-care be closed out too. Great food, great friends, family and music. Home or away, the choice is yours.
Bed: After a fantastic day of self-care, it is time to slip into the fresh linens of the well-made bed from this morning. About an hour before lights out, I take a little magnesium and melatonin. If you want to go next level, use a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow or behind your ears. With the lights out and your head nestled in bed, think of the things for which you are grateful as you close your eyes. Goodnight. Namaste.
You did it! You dedicated a full day to taking care of yourself (or at least you took 15 minutes to read an article about it from me). Clearly, what you have just read is ambitious and maybe next to impossible to fully complete, but could you string together three or four of these concepts one morning or afternoon? Could you implement a small, regular practice to fill your cup? In a culture of busyness, wouldn’t it be nice to have conversations around how well we are taking care of ourselves as opposed to how strung out we are with work and kids and everything? I challenge you (and myself) to make self-care a regular topic of conversation and practice for our collective health, happiness, relationships and wholeness. Remember, to live a transcendent life, you cannot be fully focused on self. That’s called narcissism. But a full day of self-care, once in a while, and regular restorative practices are simply game changers for those who seek a better way to be.
Craig Robertson is the founder of Robertson + Easterling. For over 20 years, he has practiced exclusively high net worth divorce and complicated family law in Mississippi. You will want him in your corner because he believes every case is his most important, and he knows the things you care about deeply are at stake –family, safety, and security. He is strategic, collaborative, creative and really bad at self-care.