In but i digress/ journaling/writing/ life is good/ thank you/more please/ try this at home

when self-care looks like a kvetch-fest

This post was part of the 2013 “Blog Lovin’ Tour” for the launch of Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift’s book The Declaration of You. It was an 8 week celebration where tons-o-bloggers wrote in support and celebration of this fab book – and on some of the themes within. I wrote on “Self Care.”
I’m exhausted.
First, there’s the day-job – which is intense and demanding and can take a lot out of me.

Then there’s the side-biz that I’m working on (with an eye on making it my only biz next year).

Then, last week (after weeks and weeks of house-hunting), my partner and I put bid out on an awesome house, and we’re set to close in early August … so now we’re scheduling inspections, an appraisals, and a move (oh my).

And when I say that “we” are doing this, I actually mean mostly me. He’s a therapist, and he’s with patients all day so I’m the main errand runner, lawyer caller, and all that fun stuff. Arg.

Did I also mention that said partner and I got hitched last weekend? With a backyard wedding that we orchestrated entirely by ourselves?

Yeah: Oy.

Sometimes it feels like I’m competing for the gold medal in the Crazy-Busy Olympics.

To add to the excitement of these Olympics, I went and made a commitment
to write for Jessica and Michelle’s Blog-Tour.

On the topic of self-care.



Self-care? What the fargin farg is THAT? Who has TIME for self-care?
I’m in training for the Crazy-Busy Olympics, right? Hello?

So, yeah, it’s true that I’m feeling kind of overloaded, stretched, and stressed. Aaaand, all that blahblahblah is just me having a vent-fest.

And that vent-fest IS my self-care.

Cause the truth is: self-care is so ingrained in my life that I sometimes forget that I do it all the time. But it’s not bubble baths and spa treatments or a bi-weekly yoga date that keep me from going completely wacknoid when I’m in the midst of stress and change and to-do lists a mile long.

Sometimes my self-care looks like a grade-A bitching and moaning kvetch-fest.

Cause my self-care practice is writing.

Self-care happens every time I pick up a pen and a notebook and write out my feelings; the crankiness, the frustrations, the challenges and the oh-my-god-how-am-I-going-to-get-through-this-week weeks.

Self care happens when I bitch about my schedule and how I had a crappy night sleep cause the hubster was snoring, and damnit-I-need-sleep. (kvetch, kvetch, kvetch.)

Not to say that self care doesn’t also happen beyond crankiness and kvetching. It happens when I’m slowing down and paying attention; noticing the way the birds are swooping and diving on the bird feeder; how good the coffee smells; how I’m looking forward to dinner with friends on Saturday.

Self-care can be reporting on the events of the day or just turning down the noise in mind. (Yeah, I just quoted Carly Simon …)

Sometimes self-care is a stream-of-consciousness rant about things that I know don’t really matter in the big picture, but they’re pulling my attention just the same. Some it’s a pep-talk to myself about sticking with my fitness goals when I really want to stay in bed. Sometimes self-care is about getting down my latest thank you/more please, or honing in on those things that my friend Michelle Ward (and her co-author jessica) call The Big Likes in their book The Declaration of You.

Y’know how – during safety announcements – flight attendants always say that: “…in the event of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first.” …?

Well, writing is my oxygen mask. It’s self-care in the form of a chronicle, a vent-fest, and a celebration. It’s the thing that keeps me from losing my shit when I’m feeling like I’m losing my shit.

It’s my self-care spa-date, a walk on the beach, and candles when I take a bath. It’s the aromatic tea, the Pinto Grigo, the rich, dark chocolate. Writing is the way I clear out the clutter and make space for myself among the to-dos, the shoulds, the oughttas, the obligations, challenges, celebrations, the stresses, and the stretching.

Writing is the sanity in my whackanetta … that sometimes (and lately, all the time …) looks like a kvetch-fest.

I know that it can be hard for a lot of women to let themselves kvetch and bitch on the page. We’re used to prettying things up and not rocking the boat. We’re nervous about verbalizing it and making it real.

But this kind of writing is just for you, and writing it down doesn’t make it true always, just true in the moment you wrote it.

If you’re stuck letting yourself go with the kvetch-fest, try starting small. You can start with: “I’m so tired of ___.” Or give yourself a minute to list all the things that annoy you, frustrate you, or piss you off. They can be big or little things, or stuff in between. The neighbor’s dog barking; the latest political craziness; your friend cancelling your lunch date (again!); another inconvenient hot flash (are there ever convenient ones?). Don’t judge, just make the list.

When you’re done, look it over and see if any one thing is sticking out more than the others then let ‘er rip and kvetch your heart out. It might not make it better, but you’ll FEEL better. It’s kinda magic like that. 

Need more help than this? Sign up here to get scoops from me on the semi-regular … and get my free ebook on how to improve/jump-start a writing practice that will feel like a bit of oxygen in your life. 

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  • JTM
    June 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Nice job, Coop! Love this turn ‘o phrasing: “Well, writing is my oxygen mask. It’s self-care in the form of a chronicle, a vent-fest and a celebration. It’s the thing that keeps me from losing my shit when I’m feeling like I’m losing my shit.” Your writing is always real, from the heart/gut, and true to yourself. I love that.

    It’s my self-care spa-date, a walk on the beach and candles in my bath. It’s the aromatic tea, the Pinot Grigo, the rich dark chocolate. Writing is the way I clear out the clutter and make space for myself among the to-dos, the shoulds, the oughttas, the challenges, the celebrations, the stresses and the stretching.

    • JTM
      June 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      oops, didn’t realize I copied and pasted, and then inserted my comment… But I love the paragraph at the bottom, too.

      • Deb Cooperman
        June 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        Thanks dahlink.
        I know that you get how writing is a self-care tool … (so glad you do). xo

  • sarahs - redlinedesign®
    June 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Deb:

    I love how much you make me laugh and how much I identify with everything you wrote about. thanks for stopping over to my space to say hi!
    Right back attacha…

  • Claire O'Connor
    June 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    As ever, I am in awe in your awesomeness… and WTF, how the &%#$ did I miss the fact that you got married!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!! Holy *&%$!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way cool, mamacita!!! BEYOND thrilled for you, sweetness! YES, we moved back from France 2 weeks ago, and I’m sooooooo happy to be back in the Sonoran Desert!!!!!!!! (How many exclamation points CAN I use?!?) We move in on Monday to a mega-sweet long-term rental out by Saguaro Park East. It’s a tidy and hip mid-century modern on an acre (populated with monster saguaros) that I’m gonna go all bohemian on! AND run a few women’s retreats ( and local meditation groups and women’s circles at. (Dangling participle JUST for your benefit, dah-lingk!) Ennywhoo — really thrilled for you that you’re part of this blog-lovin’ fest, (er, not to mention the, uh… MARRIAGE!!!) as I’m also a big fan of Jessica Swift!!! (I don’t know HOW on gawd’s green earth she has time to sleep, that gurl!) Good on yooo!! Would LURVE to connect 1-on-1 at some point in the near future just for a catch-up gab-fest, if nuthin’ else!! Smooches!!

    • Deb Cooperman
      July 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      Yes, a one-on-one chat … soon. Or after the move. 🙂

      Hugs and smooches to you bubbie.

  • Natasha
    July 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Deb! I got your comment over on my blog and had to drop everything to come read this. Wow. Good stuff.

    Not only that, I was TICKLED to see you reference oxygen masks falling! I deleted that very comment from my post, actually. A friend said to me, “There’s a reason they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first, you know” and that quote seemed so appropriate for the post, but it didn’t work out.

    Anyway, thanks for coming over there and directing me over here. This was good to read.