10 Things I did to love myself

10 things i did to love myself so i could get back to creating!

I’ve learned the hard way that to care for and love myself is critical in the creative life!  Particularly, when life throws a few spanners in the works.

In more sane times I’ve managed to create art around a full-on life by planning my time with an annual calendar planning regime. This month-long exercise has helped me manage my family and creative life well.  Up until last year. 

I abandoned my precious 2022 calendar plan last March when our builder showed up six months earlier than planned for our project. After the pandemic lockdowns, builders were extremely difficult to find, so we said, yes!!!

the big spanner in our life

The gruelling 10 month task involved replacing borer-ridden Rimu floors in the original part of our home. Before ripping up floors, we shifted the contents of each room to another to make way for the new floor. We crammed a makeshift kitchen into our dining room because it had a good floor.  Then we could demolish the kitchen cabinets and floor. In total we replaced the floor in eight rooms. It was crowded, dusty and cold!!!!  You can read more about the project by clicking here.

However, we persevered and all the old floors and substructures of the original house were replaced with safe, new floors. Then vinyl went in, followed by a new kitchen, bath and laundry. Soon, we donned safety masks and paint clothes to finish the kitchen, living room and dining room in time for the holidays.

time for relaxing

I was determined to enjoy our newly remodelled home and the Kiwi Christmas and summer with my husband, Bill. 

Drained by the tumultuous previous four years with closing my business, my mother’s passing, the lockdowns, and the remodel, we craved simplicity and a relaxing summer.

All tools were put down in early December when Bill completed his teacher duties for the school year to focus on preparing our home for Christmas. 

It was delightful hosting Christmas dinner with friends, and having family to stay over the summer holidays.

I abandoned my usual planning and routines.  Instead, I appreciated simply doing life with Bill, our two Bichons, Bella and Polly(who, sadly, passed away at 20 years on 14 February), Goatie, the goat, and Orange, our part time cat that actually belonged to the neighbour (sadly, he passed away in August 2024).

We dined and enjoyed our cups of coffee and tea while watching the Tui and lovely Bellbirds visiting our feeder in the Kowhai right next to our verandah. It was heavenly.

New year and new self-care

With Bill reporting back to work at the end of January, I implemented my FlyLady routine once again. However, I imposed no other self-disciplines. Making my home beautiful, cozy and liveable for the rest of the school year was my principal motivation.

The spectacular floral show and bountiful veggie garden harvest is waning as the autumnal days of March progress.

I’m on the 6th week of a new meal and exercise regime as I’m writing this, and loving it!

self-love first. then the master plan

Then, finally I crafted my master plan for this year. Plotting my days, months, and quarters for the remainder of 2023 felt good. I loved being in a place where I could once again create meaningful art, finish my home, and care for my family as well as myself.

I’m grateful that I gave myself the gift of rest and self-care so I could carry on.

I remember hearing, “Love others as you love yourself” in my youth. It is nearly impossible to give much of yourself and truly love others without replenishing and loving yourself first.  I think it is also the called, “sharpen the saw” principal. 

Let the creating begin.

I invite you read the list below, “10 Things I Did to Love Myself”

Creating art around life
I get to do life with Bill, my Kiwi husband.
I get to do life with Bill, my Kiwi husband.
Polly, left, and Bella ready for a ride.
Polly, left, and Bella ready for a ride.
Orange, the part-time cat.
Orange, the part-time cat.
Goaty, the goat!
Goatie the goat!
Solved the first Wasjig puzzle. The Griffs gave moral support!
Solved the first Wasjig puzzle. The Griffs gave moral support!
Love myself
Christmas Day 2022
I read the digital version of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
I read the digital version of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Tomatoes grown on the verandah
Tomatoes grown on the verandah
Our Tui-viewing bistro on the verandah.
Tui in the Kowhai
Tui in the Kowhai
Bill's new bathroom with Freestanding tub
Bill's new bathroom with Freestanding tub
New eating regime.
New eating regime.
Accentuate the positive...

10 Things I did to love myself

1. threw out christmas expectations

Exhausted from the rebuild, we stayed in town rather than travel.  We released our adult children from holiday expectations, too. Family turned up throughout the week before New Years. It was a relaxed atmosphere of family and friends working together to solve our new Wasjig puzzle in our remodelled home.

2. Finished tolstoy's War and peace

One 2022 goal was to read more classics. Tolstoy’s philosophical depiction of the politics, society, and inhumanity of the 1812 Napoleonic War against 19th century Russians was more worthily considered once I finished battling the drudgery of the remodel. I’ve harboured a life long desire to read this epic tome.  I’m now reading The Count of Monte Carlo. What classic do you love?

3. stopped and smelled the roses...

and pruned the overgrown ones in our gardens! We festooned our front porch with  lots flowers, especially orange ones, in big pots and hung baskets full of orange flowers on the verandah.  (Orange is a prominent accent colour in our remodelled main interior living space.)

4. planted a garden

Thanks to Bill planting a garden, the first one in over a decade, we had plenty of fresh produce. We gave overflow to friends and put a bunch in the freezer. Yum.

5. watched birds

Tui and Bellbirds visit our feeder in the Kowhai tree throughout the year.  

This summer, with the new verandah right next to it, cheeky Tui landed on the tree and sang out when the feeder was empty.  They waited by the feeder whilst we refilled it with lovely, warm sugar water.  

We’ve befriended a mother Thrush, training her to come eat scraps we throw on the lawn for her when we ring the porch bell. 

Our evening cuppa on the verandah gave us a daring show of Fantails darting and swoopinng under the verandah covering to catch tiny flying insects.

6. rediscovered bathing

As a woman of action, I chose the shower we installed 8 years ago for my ablutions.  Bill, always a tub man, loved the new free-standing bathtub I chose for his bathroom.

He urged me to give it a try. I was hooked. Daily. Until rare drought conditions arrived in Southland this summer. Thankfully, the drought ended a few weeks ago, so now I treat myself weekly.

7. Got plenty of sleep

We still stay up late.  Last summer we topped up our rest with morning sleep-ins till nine.  

8. Began a healthy eating and exercise regime

The inactivity and stress of the past four years caught up with me. As summer ended, I took action, knowing the discipline would make life better.

9. Dressed properly first thing

Sloppy dressing and no makeup made sense back in 2018 as I began the remodelled our rental.  I continued the habit after I closed the business and began working on our home. This summer, I bought new clothes, shoes and makeup and put them on first thing everyday.  I actually like to look at myself in the mirror again.

10. Limited negative input, especially online

I suspect the pandemic and the lockdowns conditioned many of us to check often for the latest news online. The headlines mostly conflagrated situations and events in New Zealand and world wide over which I have no control.  The gloom and despair was stressful.  So, I drastically curtailed my consumption of news and opinion.

YouTube was my only social channel (in 2023. I added X and Pinterest in 2024).  Even there, I’ve curtailed watching YouTube shorts to three in the morning and three in the evening. Plus, I view only a few minutes on the longer videos on that platform.

Even though I was kicked out of the Metaverse last year,(click here to read about that) I logged on Bill’s FB page nearly every day. The negativity and dross found on that platform is pervasive. So, now I go on about once a week.  My thought life is much more serene.

You may also be interested in these

Scroll to Top