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  • Writer's pictureDr. Stacey Chimimba Ault

How To Take Care of Yourself When Life Comes At You Foul

Unsplash image by Aaron Burden of a fluffy white dandelion with green background.

A couple of weeks ago a friend and colleague reminded me of this article I first published on Medium in 2019. She had been recently going through some shit and recalled a short essay of mine that she had shared during a training she facilitated in Oakland, CA some years ago. She found a printed copy among her consultation materials and shared with me how the essay provided some hands-on tips and tools she used to navigate her most recent healing journey. It still blows my mind that words I have written are helpful for someone other than me. Read the introduction below or go to Medium for the whole thing!

Life came at me foul this year. Like foul foul. She did me all the way dirty. Like she took off her earrings, tied up her hair, put Vaseline on her face (so she didn’t get scratched) and swang on my ass over and over. She thought she was going to win .. but she didn’t realize I knew how to fight back. Following specific steps to take care of myself was necessary for survival. Not in a hashtag self-care type of way. In a way that declared — I’m going to figure out how to create harmony between life, and my physical and mental health.

In June 2018, I was in the midst of transitioning out of my career in educational administration. I was preparing my $13 million budget for a new administrator. I was creating a plan to support long term project partners. I was deciding how I was going to continue to advocate for young people in my new position. When I got that phone call. Yes that one! The one you pray about nightly. The one you “knock on wood” to avoid. That one! My 19 year old daughter, and her dad, had been in a motorcycle accident. They were being transported to a local trauma hospital.

A year later, after multiple surgeries, months off work, a brain surgery, Yes! My baby girl had damn brain surgery. Coupled with my own health complications, a major work transition, and a partridge in a pear tree. Of course this took a toll on our relationships, health, and well-being. But one day, I looked up and realized, not only did I survive this year … I, along with my family members, including baby girl, thrived!

I learned a lot about the steps necessary to take care of yourself, when life tries to kick your ass. I think of these areas as sort of a self-care pie. As in, pie chart. Not the pie you eat (although some would argue a good slice of apple pie and ice cream *in moderation, is self-care all by itself). Think of this pie as a holistic way to approach wellness. If one of the pieces pie is empty you will be out of balance. If the areas of the pie are too rigid you may cause yourself stress and anxiety. Like in a pie chart, these areas may change depending on how much of a whupping life is putting on you at the time.

To finish this article on Medium and incorporate rest, refusal, respite, rituals, relationships, requirements and resistance into your self-care, click here.

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