i’m a huge advocate of self-care. call it what you want, but any excuse to pamper myself i’ll take.

in my last physio appointment i was cleared to get back to exercise, but was cautious to proceed. what could i do that wouldn’t put my back back into spasm? if i move my trunk in the wrong way, waves of pain would still take over.

barre? maybe. but the studio within walking distance was waitlist only.

yoga? since i left my job at the studio, i haven’t hit my mat regularly. maybe it was time for a comeback. there was only one class left of the day: strong & slow with erin. it sounded reasonable and i was friend with the instructor. perfect. but just to make sure, i sent her a text. “EL! tell me more about your class, will i survive?” minutes later she responded, “you’ll survive. i promise!”

guess i was going to yoga.

while we were all getting settled on our mats, Erin encouraged the class to set an intention. “love,” my mind called.

“it could be as simple as one word, like love,” Erin continued.

i smiled to myself. hi, universe. nice of you to join me. guess i decided on my intention.

the class ended up being a take on yin yoga. long and slow holds with a few sun salutations in between. it was just what my body needed: a good stretch that was only painful in a good way. my poor body was so stiff, and the rotation and flexibility limitations of my right thoracic spine were obvious. but it felt good to move. it felt good to flow.

if you ever see Erin Leather on an instructor list, be sure to take her class. and then strike up a conversation because she’s such a smart and interesting human. i sadly had to cut our chat short because i had scheduled a float.

it’d been six months since i took a sensory deprivation bath, but when your body is aching a thousand pounds of epsom salt can’t be bad.

i selected the yoga nidra audio, and settled in to my hour-long float. the beginning of the recording directed me to state a sankalpa aka an intention formed by the heart and mind. traditionally a sankalpa is an “i will” statement. is that you again, universe? fine. i’m doubling up on love. ” i will open myself to love.”

as is common for me, the first 45 minutes of my float were blissful. my back felt great to be weightless, and the water baby in me loved slashing around in the tank. that is until i began to literally splash around. even though the audio was leading me through a meditation, my mind had shut off and my body became restless. better luck next time, laura.

a little unease wasn’t going to ruin the benefits for me. i showered knowing i still had plenty of relaxation ahead. i grabbed a cup of tea and settled into one of the beanbag chairs in the back “zen room.” a quick peruse of the library, and i selected “life plain and simple” a book of sayings/quotes, one on each page. i began to flip through before deciding i needed a strategy to get through this book. when numbers are involved, i regularly think of my birthday – i love birthdays.

flip to page 24.

i can’t even make this stuff up. i actually laughed out loud. a real lol. three times the love.

while my back still hurts today, my heart is a little lighter. if i’ve learned anything from the role models in my life (my two “grandmas”) it’s that you can never love enough. as much as i needed the self-care for my body, the universe was also telling me i needed to embrace a little more love. who am i to ignore it?


what do you do for self-care? 

no. i’m not going to give you a lecture on how eating doughnuts is a poor nutrition choice, or give you a recipe for everything-free doughnuts. that would be silly. doughnuts are delicious and should never be health washed.

instead, i’m going to tell you a story about how doughnuts left me in urgent care.

june 2 is national doughnut day. on the morning of friday, june 2, i decided to be a great coworker and stop at tim horton’s to pick up an assorted pack of doughnuts to surprise my team. a nice friday treat, i thought. surely it would go over well and earn me some doughnut brownie points.

on the walk from my place to the train there is one tims. always very busy, i made my way to the queue and waited for my turn to order. listening to the My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast and trying not to actually LOL in public, i inched closer to the front of the line. when it was my turn i decided on timbits instead of full sized doughnuts as the assortment looked better, and threw in an iced coffee for myself. onto the next queue.

a few giggles later my timbits were ready. i reached for them across the counter.

OUCH!

oh my god. why couldn’t i move? an overwhelming pain washed over my back. what was happening? breathing hurt. moving hurt. the only thing that didn’t hurt was being hunched over on the sales display. i tried to move again.

OUCH.

“are you okay?” a deep voice asked.

“no!”

“let’s get you in a chair.” a 30-something man helped me move, and placed my purse, timbits and coffee in front of me. “maybe it will go away on its own,” he coaxed.

it didn’t.

i sat in that chair, wincing in pain, for 30 minutes. that’s when anxiety set in and my mind flashed to the worst: was i having a heart attack? i tried to stand up; my knees buckled from the pain. i was one block away from the urgent care centre but knew i would never make it by foot. cab? uber? they wouldn’t be able to assist me out of this chair and into the emergency.

my coworker came to the rescue. she made the 30-minute drive in traffic, gathered up my things and shuffled alongside me to her car. one wheelchair and two ibuprofen later, i was left in the waiting room with the promise of muscle relaxants.

it was about an hour before i got to see a doctor. she found me hunched over the sink instead of laying comfortable in the hospital bed.

“i’m going to get you an injection of pain medication and muscle relaxers before we start.”

i liked her already.

fifteen minutes after my meds, she returned to move me through a range of motion and breathing tests. with my back facing her, she placed her hand along the right side of my spine.

“your entire back is in spasm.”

next, she took out her stethoscope and told me to breathe as deep as i could. not happy with what she heard, she sent me for a chest x-ray to make sure my lungs were okay. thankfully, they were.

with an official diagnosis of “spasm”, i was sent on my way with a prescription for muscle relaxants and the suggestion i go to physio.

“don’t lay around all day,” she lectured. “it will only make you stiffen up.”

it’s like the doctor was reading my mind. the only position i thought would be comfortable was in the fetal position laying in bed.

slowly, with s-shaped posture and holding my ribs in place, i made my way to the pharmacy while calling every physiotherapist nearby. on my third attempt, i was able to get an appointment.

more poking, electrodes, and heat pads at physio, i received another “spasm” diagnosis. sadly, there was no way to snap me back into working order, i just had to take it easy. this meant a weekend full of cancelled plans, and swearing in pain as i moved positions, or tried to get out of bed.

three full days later, i’m still in a good amount of pain. i’m walking quite slowly, but am more upright, and less s-shaped. the spasms have a mind of their own, and attack without a moment’s notice.

this will teach me to make kind gestures. no more doughnuts…unless you bring me a sympathy one.

i love nicknames. my best friend and i had one for every guy we dated. looking back at it, i can barely remember their real names, but i know every nickname associated with each gem.

Chrissy loves them, too. i don’t know about her dating life, but her friends all get a delicious alias – it only makes sense for a food blogger. along with drool-worthy recipes, Chrissy details her travels on her blog the hungary buddha eats the world.

from healthy to decadent, europe to alaska, Chrissy writes about it all. not surprisingly, her purse has a very similar theme. let’s take a peek.

for a long time i didn’t even carry a purse. i was a tomboy to the nth degree, and a purse just seemed so…girly. it took me until after college, really, to get over it. maybe after law school? anyway, i was a late bloomer when it comes to purses, but now that i’m old i’ve made up for lost time, and they’re one of my favourite things to buy.

what’s in mine? well, not too many exciting things, but here we go:

a little thing of vaseline
i’m a mouth breather (tmi?) and so have the driest lips on the planet. chapstick just doesn’t cut it.

tissues
why does my nose always drip? and not just in the winter!

wallet
for a long time, i just had a wristlet that i used as a wallet and my friends mocked me endlessly, particularly when the “leather” on it started to crack. finally, i got myself a big girl wallet and i’m particularly fond of mine from stella & dot.

a pen
more specifically, a fun pen that i won’t forget and that no one will want to steal. since i just got back from Disney, the one i currently carry has Mickey ears.

an umbrella
i used to live in Chicago (until 2 months ago!) and always had an umbrella because…you never know. also, it was a hard core, two layer windproof umbrella because….Chicago. anyway, old habits die hard and i still carry it around.

chocolate
gotta have chocolate, usually one of a little fancier variety that i want to eat square by square rather than all at once. whatever chocolate bar i have tends to actually last quite a while because, if i’m honest, i’m an excellent ration-er of treats. currently: vosges blood orange caramel (a stowaway from Chicago).

mini-lotion
usually of the hotel stowaway variety. currently, i’m using this lovely grapefruit scent from H20.

a gazillion receipts (not pictured)
why do i hoard receipts? i don’t know, but there are always at least three loose ones messing up the works.

international currency
i’m not so good at cleaning out my purse or my wallet. i usually have leftover currency from wherever i traveled last. currently: $5CAD and a few loonies.

stamps
because you never know when there will be a postcard emergency.


what are your purse essentials?