"How do I stay on top of a hectic year without sacrificing self-care?" I asked myself over and over during the summer, as I calmly prepared for senior year.
It'll be hectic, alright.
I'm taking more challenging classes this year, ones that I never thought I would qualify for. Two intense history classes, and two intense art classes. No math. No science. (Relax, I'll graduate). There's also college apps, gap year planning, and taking on responsibilities in band. This year in band, I am the flute section leader and the librarian. Meaning, I have an army of flutes to watch over and guide, and I sort and hand out sheet music to everyone in the band.
My solution had two phases.
Phase one: reevaluate and prioritize the things I do out of school. Considering the classes I'm taking this year, I mapped out time for me to stay in the school library, and molded my schedule around that time, with plenty of wiggle room.
I cut down on my work hours to just the weekends, I canceled an activity, and spread everything out so I had room to breathe. Room to take care of myself.
Phase two: spread self-care everywhere I possibly could.
So I did a bit of redecorating this summer, especially surrounding my desk, at both mom's and dad's houses.
This is one of my workspaces. The flowering lungs print and the "Beware of what you put inside" print are both off of this Etsy shop, very nice prices.
The sticky notes help, too, regardless of how cheesy they sound:
- "Set yourself free." Can't remember where this is from.
- "Breathe in strength, breathe out bullshit." (Taken from this foul language guided meditation).
- "Do what impassions you." One of my favorite teachers told me that, more than once.
- "Think about how far you've come, and how far you'll go." From tumblr, probably.
Not included in the picture are several print-outs of emails that mean a lot to me, from several different people, and decorated with pretty tape.
In the top right corner, you'll see some bricks. That's part of my colored pencil symbolic self-portrait, an assignment from my art class last year.
This is my other workspace. I'm extremely sentimental, so I put up several theatre programs and posters that give me nice memories. The "micca" ones are from previous marching band competitions. MICCA Finals are always one of the best days of the year.
For Christmas this past year, most likely with the same self-care goal in mind, my mom gave me that big red "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster. I recently turned it into something much better: "No thanks. I'd rather raise hell and change the world."
I also have song lyrics to a beautiful and terribly emotional song called "One Tin Soldier" pinned on the wall, a Red Sox ticket, and a few snail mail letters down below.
We'll go bottom to top.
Again, this is cheesy, but the poster with the sunset has been in my possession for as long as I can remember, and it says: "We can only see with open eyes, we can only listen with open ears, we can only think with open minds."
Directly above that is an image taken from an old wall calendar, that says: "'Any given moment can change your life,' she said, 'you just have to be there.'"
Next to that is from the same wall calendar. This one is my favorite. "She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things."
Above that is something out of some sports catalogue, that says "be more human." The one above that is from the same catalogue, and it says "fight the beautiful fight." I know, these all sound so cheesy and ridiculous. Trust me, I know. But they help, especially since I'm very into martial arts.
That big painting of the bone and the teapot and the flower? Yeah, I painted that last year. I also set up the still life for it. Pretty proud of it!
Above that in the upper right corner is a photo print from Iceland. There's an old woman with a long jacket on, and a crutch under her arm, and she's looking at this big wall with the words "Pussies beware!" sprayed onto it. It's a gorgeous photo, really.
And at the very top of this display is another cheesy thing from that wall calendar, that says, "'I just don't like to see you waste your time on silly things,' he said. 'Well then,' she said, 'close your eyes.'"
There's also a small orange bottle sitting on my desk with flowers that are two years old, and they were given to me by a woman who is one of the kindest people I've ever met. She gave those to me the day we met. Back then, I wasn't in a good place at all, so I was always very surprised and emotional whenever someone gave a gift to me.
So that's that.
In a separate post, I'll write about my mini bag that I tuck away in my school bag. It's full of wonderful sensory things that can be surprisingly helpful when I'm not feeling too great.
I've also found a way to read for pleasure just a little bit every day. Right now I'm reading "It's a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini. I know I wrote about buying this book around two years ago, but now I'm ready to read it, and it's wonderful so far. Very honest and straightforward, not much "fluff."