Self Care Day

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a child sleeping in a slipper-shaped bed to visualize away her back pain.When the pain in my back got so bad that I couldn’t sleep left-side or right, or even belly-up, I went shuffling to my doctor’s where the nurse weighed me, took my blood pressure, asked where it hurt, and finally looked at me, cocking her head, and said, “Have you been depressed lately?” At which point I broke down into a drippy, wailing mess.

Without going into the whole story of my daughter’s dying seven years ago, I wanted to let the nurse know I felt entitled to some depression. But the question left me speechless. I stood there shaking and sobbing, looking anywhere but at her eyes, wondering if I had liver cancer, and wishing I could just curl up to sleep. Hanging on the wall was a children’s book illustration of a sleeping family. They were floating in the sky, each member cozily cocooned in their own fuzzy, quilted slipper-shaped bed.

I returned home with comfort food from Wegmans, Aleve, and a prescription for physical therapy sessions, and spent the next several hours visualizing my pain away in Photoshop. I’m calling it a Self Care Day.


What do you do to take care of yourself?

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4 thoughts on “Self Care Day

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Nice, Robin. It’s powerful just to have someone see where we are. Grief is a heavy load to carry. I’m a flunky and a fan of self-care. I can only keep trying and so much of it for me is about self-love and self-acceptance. Is that your son in the photo? It’s a beauty.

    1. Robin Botie

      Yes, grief is a heavy load to carry, but not impossible. That’s what I told the Ithaca College student I sat next to at the Death Over Dinner event last week when she said she had never lost anyone and was scared of grief. I agree with you, Elaine. Self-care is mostly about self love and self acceptance. It takes some getting used to, as well as getting over the idea that indulging oneself is a bad thing. But for some of us who live alone and don’t have an other doting on us, if we don’t take really great care of ourselves, no one else will. So. Yes, that’s a picture of my son from about a decade ago. And putting his image in a safe warm cushioned slipper felt really good since two weeks ago he was right at the site in the middle of a recent shooting. He finally gets a great job here in this country, far away from the dangerous places on earth he was so drawn to, and he manages to find trouble. Good thing I can calm myself in Photoshop.

  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    Your post today was just what I needed, Robin. I’ve been pondering a decision–taking care of myself vs. fulfilling others’ expectations. Instead of doing what I “SHOULD” do, if I were a “BETTER PERSON,” I think I might just take care of myself.

    Take care of yourself, and feel better soon!

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Lynne, I definitely cast a vote for taking care of yourself. If you feel taken care of, it makes it easier to do whatever it takes to make the ones around you feel taken care of. It makes you a stronger “better person.” Not to mention happier. Maybe it even sets a good example for all those others with expectations waiting to be filled. I don’t know but it sure is a great change, taking exquisite care of oneself. Gotta at least give it a try every now and then. Cheers!


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