Self-care can be looked at as building a jigsaw puzzle. Each of us has our own unique puzzle and our own unique method or style of putting it all together. However, just like a jigsaw puzzle, there are many pieces of self-care and they all fit together to create a big picture. When we look at the puzzle of self-care, we can easily dump all the pieces on the table, get overwhelmed by it all, give up, and either throw it back in the box or throw it away. Or, we can follow some steps, ask for help, and put it all together.
How to Solve the Puzzle of Self-Care
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to put together your own self-care routine, or a puzzle, or both:
- Sort it out.
When building a puzzle, the first step is usually to flip over all the pieces right-side-up and look for the edge pieces and corner pieces. During this process, we don’t usually worry about the little pieces on the inside, but rather just push those to the side for later consideration.
With self-care, we do the same thing. We start with the corners and edges to create a frame ourselves. We then sort the rest of the pieces by color and attribute and possibly where they might fit in later.
Cornerstones are one of the most important pieces to complete the puzzle. You must have a clear idea of what your cornerstones look like.
For those of us with lipedema, the cornerstones are Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. These pieces are not always easy to find. They stay hidden for a while, but with diligence, they will soon emerge.
Once we have the four corners somewhat in place, we can then focus on getting the edges of our framework put together. These don’t always go together easily, but they will eventually connect the Cornerstones and create the frame. These edges keep the focus turned inward, they give us the parameters of self-care.
The rest of the pieces fit inside. They take time and dedication to make them fit. Sometimes, we need to turn a piece several times to make it fit. We might have to set it aside and come back to it later. We also might have to fit it into another piece to see its value and to find where it belongs. We try all the pieces until they fit into our lives. One by one, step by step, we put our self-care plan puzzle pieces into action.
- Missing Pieces.
Often, we find that a piece might go missing. After searching high and low, we give up on that piece for a while, find another piece that does fit, and continue building our puzzle of self-care. We strive for a complete picture. We then come back to that missing piece and search for a new location. Maybe the cat knocked it off the table or flicked it under the fridge or couch, or just maybe, it is hiding in plain sight. Once we find that missing piece, we slide it into place with a feeling of great accomplishment.
Unlike building a jigsaw puzzle, the journey of self-care is never a completed project. It never ends. We never get to put it back in the box and donate it to a thrift shop or a senior center. It is ours to keep and ours to keep working on. But don’t despair. The journey of self-care opens up new and wonderful puzzles and adventures to enjoy.
And remember… Anything is possible with lipedema.