fitness · self care

2021: a year of giving and receiving self-care

Happy end of 2021, y’all! December is almost done, and it seems fitting to offer a overview of some of the best self-care gifts I’ve given and received this year. I think that, in a small way, they reflect what 2021 has been like: in dire need of domestic industry, friendly company (both indoors and out), and experiences with others, providing novelty, occupation and distraction.

Right off the bat I can recommend this back scratcher I bought for my mom on impulse. I got it for $1.50– such a deal!

Blue miniature telescoping back scratcher. I got one for my mom for $1.50!
Blue miniature telescoping back scratcher. I got one for my mom for $1.50!

My mom lives alone, and sometimes her back itches. This is self-care at its most basic. And economical, too…

I both gave and received a fair number of items like nice-smelling soaps and scents, cozy shawls or throw blankets, and yummy homemade jams, jellies, baked goods and quiches (of which I made 21 in November for my church’s harvest fair).

And books. I gave, received and bought for myself a lot-a-lot of books in 2021. More of them than usual were nonfiction. Reading, to me, feels empowering– like I’m actively trying to get a better handle on a complicated world. Or, I’m transported to another world, maybe also complicated, but one in which I’m carried away by a captivating story.

This year I read about octopus friends, long distance swimmers, why eating well is hard, how to cook better, how to write better, how to read better, how to think better, how to sleep better, what night was like in the past, and many memoirs, to name a few topics.

Then there were the experiences– with friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers. Early in 2021, even meeting up outside with friends felt precious and also brave; hardly anyone was vaccinated, and we were all worried about risk. That made even ordinary meet-ups extra fun and meaningful.

This year I’ve been to outdoor garden exhibits (yarn bombing thing in Feb; Gnomevember thing in, yes, Nov), a masked and distanced yoga weekend retreat, two fully-vaccinated beach trips with friends and family, dog walks, outdoor book club meetings, backyard hangouts, porch brunches, social swimming, and lots of other things I’m not remembering. All of these experiences gave us a booster dose of community, fun, hope, and increased stamina to deal with the next thing 2021 had in store for us.

All of these gifts I’ve given and received have provided me with more resilience, which I desperately needed after the body blow which was 2020. At this point in 2021, I’m in better physical and emotional shape. My life feels better and bigger and more meaningful. I’m rolling into 2022 looking to see what it brings, with more support and stamina at my disposal.

What about you, dear readers? What have you given or received this year that stood you in good stead? I’d love to hear from you.