Bra straps. Self-care. What?!
A few months ago, in the name of the self-care movement, I traded in my usual, comfy, ratty old bunch of bras for two brand new, high quality, lacy, sexy, expensive European bras.
The nice lady in the bra shop fitted me for each one, adjusted the straps & sent me on my merry way.
A few months passed and the feeling that wearing these bras had originally brought me began to fade. In the early days I was strutting around like a professionally supported peacock! But as the days went by, they didn’t feel the same. Things once held snuggly in place started to jiggle & threaten to fall out if I bent over.
I blamed the bras & went so far as to dig out one of my old, ratty stand by bras from the bottom of the donation box that never made it all the way out of the house. Ahhhhh….my familiar, ugly but oh so comfortable old friend. Who needs to feel supported and pretty? Worthy, excited and sexy? And this was SO much cheaper; so much more conducive to slugging around on the couch in a full-on potato chip & Netflix coma.
Surely that counted towards self-care?!
And then came the day that I needed to wear a certain dress that would only accept a certain expensive bra and as I struggled into and against it, I was SO uncomfortable that I started fiddling with everything possible – pulling it up, pulling it down, adjusting the back hooks and then finally the straps & WOW!
Bada-bing-bada-boom – what once was old became brand spankin’ new again; just like that!
Now, I realize that to many women (who must exist!) who adjust their bra straps on a regular basis this story might sound ridiculous.
But, for reasons beyond me, I had harbored some unconscious assumption that the original professional fit was a lifetime adjustment and I it never dawned on me that the wear and use and washing of the bra since that moment in time may have altered the fit in some way!!! Especially in a way that may require my attention!
And so, as I am enjoying the re-fit, as it were, in the certain dress at a fancy pants party no less, I had a thought that had me giggling like an extremely undignified and unlikely to be invited back in the future party guest:
THIS IS THE SAME WAY I HANDLE MY SO CALLED SELF-CARE!
I make some big extravagant gesture – think expensive bra, deluxe massage, day at the spa, day off from work pretending to be sick or enjoying the rest actually making myself sick affords me – whenever I reach my limit and just cannot take anymore stress, pressure, demands on my time, attention, energy or even just ugly, old bras.
And it’s great! I feel wonderful, for a few days or sometimes even weeks! But then inevitably, just like those new bras, the fit starts to fade and I find myself whirling back to the devils I know so well – stress, pressure, demands on my time, attention, energy or even just ugly, old bras.
TRUE SELF-CARE IS REALLY ABOUT THE DAILY BRA STRAP ADJUSTMENT!
It is about providing yourself a DAILY CONTAINER OF SUPPORT from which to live your life! And since life happens on a daily basis, each day different from the last, SELF-CARE MUST BE A DAILY PRACTICE not only on its own but also in response to whatever each particular day brings.
Women most especially need to understand that they are only as rich as the daily container of support they have built for themselves because without it they will inevitably at some point be giving from an empty tank, an empty soul space, an empty container.
And what does that look like?
It looks like illness, mood swings, fatigue, headaches, backaches, PMS, depression, lowered sex drive, irritability, snapping at our loved ones uncontrollably and feeling bad about ourselves a lot of the time.
It looks like resentment, guilty or shameful feelings and wishing our lives, our partners, our kids or our bodies could be different as the solution to our problems.
It feels heavy, constricting, like you cannot catch your breath.
Sound fun? And yet how many of us tolerate these things in our lives while relegating self-care to the bottom of our must do lists?
So, adjusting your actual bra straps on a daily basis is pretty self-explanatory! But we also need to adjust our metaphorical self-care straps. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
One idea is to make yourself a list of self-care options that you can easily choose from on a daily basis. Have a wide variety of no cost and low time options like journaling, mediation, dancing to favorite music or some non-outcome based artistic expression mixed in with higher cost and higher time options that you may choose weekly or monthly such as a massage, yoga or mediation class, a personal trainer, a support group, a trip to the spa or a call with your coach.
It doesn’t matter so much WHAT it is that you choose on a daily basis.
What matters is that whatever it is FILLS YOU UP, restores you, nurtures you, feeds you & provides you a CONTAINER of support from which you can than truly, madly, deeply, richly & freely GIVE – to your life, to your people, to your world & to your soul…