Self-care starts with (matching) socks

Here comes winter! And an 'odd' sort of a post about self-care from me this month...

Self-care starts with (matching) socks

Self-care starts with (matching) socks

I’ve not been taking the best care of myself lately. I’m pretty sure this phase hits most of us after we transition into being ‘grown ups’.


Sending voice notes to Oxford last night (because I don’t even afford myself the time-luxury of a therapeutic phone call these days), my best friend and I ascertained that we became grown-ups at the age of 34-35. Between us, we figured out this was the point where we stopped bothering with things like fake tan and full body moisturiser. I confessed (as one can only do over the safe and detached medium of one-way messaging) that I hadn’t purchased face cream for a month and had been making do with my four-year old’s Aveeno cream. Thankfully, she understood. However, her brother-in-law has solved that problem for her, as he now works for an anti-aging skin cream company and, from what I gather, she is being used as the latest test subject.


This morning, as I entered the usual week-day spin cycle of trying to get myself and my daughter and the two cats up and out of the house, the harsh reality of my self-neglect presented itself in a pair of odd socks. It’s been a long-standing joke in my family that I am seldom seen in matching socks. I always maintain that it makes no odds (ha ha), as they serve their purpose and no one can see them under my shoes.


This morning that got me thinking.


No one else can see them (until I take my shoes off) but I know they are there. The matching socks shouldn’t be for anyone else, they should be for me. After all, I’d never send my daughter off to school in odd socks.


On a fundamental level, I wear odd socks out of practicality. Putting laundry away has long since slid off the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list. In fact, it doesn’t even make the reserve list. I’ve actually dedicated the spare bed to piles of clean clothes for so long, we no longer call it the guest bedroom, it’s known as ‘the wardrobe’. In a morning there are a billionty one other things that deserve my time more than kitting myself in matching socks. So I don’t.


Perhaps it would be ok if the neglect ended there. But it doesn’t. I prioritise work over health, so I skip workouts and lunch and catch ups with friends. Because there is this notion, that if I work harder I can get on top and START taking care of myself again. But what if I’ve got it all wrong, and actually it works the other way around?


What if the key to success is simply pairing my socks, savouring a lunch break, arranging real life meet ups with family and friends? Maybe even getting my nails done.


Perhaps it simply is a case of working from ground level up. After all, the Great Pyramid of Giza didn’t start with someone lobbing a lump of limestone straight to the top. That would be silly.