Last weekend I went to the mall to buy a pair of jeans. I had a goal and I knew what color and what style I only wanted. I went straight to the jeans section and only fixed my eyes on those that were within my preference. For the first time, I was able to buy a pair of jeans in less than an hour, and with less assistance. It was, by far, the best shopping experience I can remember. Honestly, I hate shopping and I especially dread having to shop for clothes, so for me to have a good time while shopping, now that’s a story.
This year has been incredibly hard for me. Each day is a constant struggle. Each day I have to put on my better self so I can survive the day. One day at a time. My heart and my spirit are too overwhelmed and sad to even make the smallest decisions. There have been so many changes within me that I had been too exhausted to even keep track. One thing, though that I am fully aware of is how early this year, I lost an appetite for color. I found that colorful things made me sadder, and black and dark stuff have never been more beautiful to me than they do now. So I practised a bit of self-care by doing away with things of color. I got rid of all my colored shirts and restocked my wardrobe with plain shirts of the same colors. Now, I only wear dark colors, specifically black, dark blue, gray, and sometimes, dark green. That’s it!
When I shopped for a pair of jeans last weekend, I only wanted black. That simple choice made all the difference in the world. It cut my shopping time. It narrowed down my choices. It allowed me to focus. And it made all the difference in the world. It was one thing that I never had to invest so much energy or so much brain power on. I have never been freer.
It amazed me how a simple change in wardrobe style or color preference made a huge difference in my life. Of course, this strategy is not entirely original. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have both shared why they only wear one color or one style of clothing. About the same time, I also read about the concept of Decision Fatigue and the Science of Simplicity to further support the idea. I thought the point made really great sense, but it was just boring, and yes, I am no genius anywhere near their caliber. Little did I know, those ideas were already embedded in my brain, and my subconscious probably tapped those ideas to help me preserve my sanity at a time when I am so down low. Thank God for that!
I realized that I am a responsible person. My mother raised, taught, influenced, and trained me well. Although I am one who has depressive tendencies, there is this tougher part of me that is saved and thus continues to save me. I am an advocate of self-care and self-preservation. At a time when I really can care less about so many things, I just want to focus on the things that matter to me. When I first experienced my first great failure, I took care of myself by going through a period I called a personal rehabilitation. I think I am wired this way, someone who is not afraid to introspect and someone who does what she can to manage her self and then bounce back.
Sharing with you the contents of my Self-care Starter Kit:
Have a specific goal in mind.
I’ve been asked by my manager once about what I wanted to be. I said it has been my dream to become a visionary. I want to have a vision, an eye that can see beyond. I know it would take many years and experience before I get to this stage, so for now, I’ll do what I can do. I can start with making goals. I find that having a fixed and clear idea about something makes a whole lot of difference. It also helps you make appropriate backup plans should option A fail.
Know what you want.
When you know what you want, chances are, you would have a great idea of how to get it. And if you don’t get it, two things can happen: you can either be so disappointed, or it will be easier for you to move on. As for me, it is the latter. I find that when I know what I want and I don’t get it, it is easier for me to let go and move on. When I know what I want I spend very less time and little energy dwelling on whether I can compromise because honestly, I seldom do. When I do not get what I want, I sit back instead of sulking. I wait until I get another inspiration for something I would want and then when that time comes, I create new plans.
Narrow down your choices.
For me, the simple choice of sticking to certain styles and colors helped me narrow down my choices. I no longer lingered on other selections, so I saved time, energy, and effort. It helped me simplify the act of choosing. When you have a goal and you know what you want, it becomes easier to narrow down your choices. Then when you narrow down your choices, it becomes easier to choose. Things become simplified. More accurately, things become simplifed to what really matters most to you, what you value.
It does not matter whether they are just for the mean time, whatever works for you is, well, generally a good thing. Life is so damn complicated and our minds and emotions further complicate things. We can’t do everything but we can always start with something, even through small things, even with just one thing. I’m not saying life is easy to me right now because it is not, but I guess, by using the Self-care Starter Kit, I have helped unburden myself off some things so that I can assist my self and make it easier for me to do the one thing I need to do, which is to grieve, to mourn, and to someday, rebuild.