Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Self Care

If you've been paying attention to blogs, YouTube, Twitter or pretty much any other conversation in the last year, most of the conversation, following anything bad (and sometimes good) is the necessity for self care. I'm glad we're constantly reminded of it, because with a heightened awareness of mental illnesses and disorders, it can be daunting to take on the world triumphantly when things get rough. We're more aware of the toll our bodies take day after day.

Stay hydrated. Get sleep. Remember to eat. Go outside.

It's the formula for personal success that might have been scribbled on pages of self help books before, but it's a conversation that truly matters and applies now. I've been trying to remember this.

Recently, I made the decision to commit to a lacto-ovo-pescatarian diet. I'm trying to use the official, or rather accepted, terminology for my diet change. It's basically - from what I understand - a way of saying that you're vegetarian, but you still eat fish, eggs and dairy. Which is true! I've also committed to cutting out most if not all junk food. These decision didn't come lightly for a foodie like me. I will still occasionally eat meat, but you won't likely see it happen for weeks at a time. My stomach and my metabolism just couldn't take it anymore. And it's about damn time I listen to them.

I've been taking more time for myself, for the things I enjoy, and not worrying about "goals" or "resolutions" this year. I have aspirations, but those take legwork, and they are much more easily attainable without the pressure. Today I walked 12,277 steps, according to Google Fit. Seems I'm taking the idea of legwork literally, but it was a reminder that we make time for what we want. Other than walking, I'd like to hit a stretch goal, in the next 90 days, of an additional 20,000 words on my novel that I started in November. At work and in life, it's about growth in whatever form that may be. It might be immeasurable sometimes, but it's certainly valuable.

Since 2017 began, on Instagram I have been focused on weekly reflections and prospective positivity.

Week Two. #2017positivity

I've been thinking about what I can take away from last year and move forward with this year. Where do I see myself professionally? What am I doing personally? Who did I think I was going to be at 26 when I was 16?

The most I can say is what I learned from a TED Talk from @coollike: I don't owe my past self anything.

Who knows if my 16 year old, anxious and depressed (but didn't know it), incredibly insecure, fumbling over herself, teenage catastrophe would have cared at all about who I am and what I'm doing now? I don't have the same ideals. I am not published in the New Yorker (yet?). I am not even still in Georgia.

But there are a lot of things that have happened in my life that are so much better. I work at Microsoft doing something that - even on my most frustrating days - I really love, with people I love. I am married to my best friend, a guy who I don't have to constantly work at getting along with or being with. We're just together and it's natural. I may not be published where I "dreamed" of being, but I have a running Xbox blog with a best friend and co-worker, and I am 35,000 words deep in a fiction novel, and constantly working on my New Journalism nonfiction pieces. I am healthy. I am happy. And on days like today, when I have to wake up at 7:45 a.m. for a dentist appointment, it gives me an excuse to go get coffee and a sandwich at my favorite places afterward, and I am reminded about how much I love this little town/city/thing that I live in. The roads and sidewalks are often very clean, pedestrians are everywhere with friends, kids or dogs, and I can safely go walking from the dentist to those downtown shops I love in the morning and have a trip like this one. It's a disgusting little postcard waiting to happen.

I am where I'm supposed to be, and I love where I am. And if my 16 year old self wouldn't be okay with that, maybe there's a reason she and I don't talk anymore. I've learned so much about myself and coexisting in this world, and the other day I realized I'm really close to 30, and that was a new, weird and cool feeling to have. I'm not that teenage catastrophe anymore.
A photo posted by Jennifer Sheffield (@dearjenna) on

I am just happy for what I have. I am happy that I am here. And I am reminding myself of that every day, and I am doing what makes me be at my happiest and healthiest.


  1. It seems you have a wonderful mindset, I'm happy that you're happy :) I often wonder what my younger self would think if she knew me - would she admire me, or think I'm boring, or be disappointed? But then I remember that it really doesn't matter; that we're in the present and only the future, not the past, needs my time and energy. Keep pushing forward!

    1. Exactly! :D Thanks for commenting, Abigail.

  2. Thanks for sharing and it's really great to be happy for what you have! All the best on your lacto-ovo-pescatarian diet. Happy New Year! :)

  3. I love, love this post! Self care is super important and I often forget to take care of myself. I really love your selfie in that little mirror, such a unique photo!

    1. <3 thanks! i saw it as i was at a crosswalk and thought that it would be fun haha

  4. "the other day I realized I'm really close to 30, and that was a new, weird and cool feeling to have. I'm not that teenage catastrophe anymore." -- YES. I feel this way. I know some people who dread getting to that thirty-year mark, but for me... it's passing up the uncertain teen and young twenties days and I feel like I'm settling into myself.

    So glad you're taking time for self care! Everyone needs to do this!

    1. exactly! and i hope that you're having a lovely, self-loving, self-caring 2017.


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