I read a memoir once about a high-level executive who lost her job, sending her into a downward spiral. Her recovery involved a lot of therapy and soul searching from which she learned a great deal about herself. As she went through the process of putting herself back together, she developed a list of things she needed to do on a daily basis to support not just being whole that day but stronger than before going forward. One thing on the list really stood out to me:
• I will immerse myself in water every single day
While I have experienced many, many occasions in which I have gone into the shower emotionally bankrupt and emerged like I’d been handed a million dollars, I’d never seen total immersion make it on one of those standard lists of things we need to do every day to be healthy and function well. However, since I’d had the million dollar shower experience many, many times, it resonated with me enough to formalize this practice into my own daily functionality plan.
Since reading that memoir a decade ago, I have to say many has been the hectic weekend day when I have calculated what else I might do with that 15 minutes, but in this one, possibly rare, instance of wisdom, I have maintained a near absolute position on not leaving an easy million on the table unclaimed. And on the occasions I have seriously toyed with the idea of making an exception just this once because it probably won’t matter all that much…? I have always emerged from the shower once again blown away by what even 2 tiny minutes under a stream of water can do. Without fail, I towel off thinking, “Man, that was close.”
It might seem like leading up to advocating for mandatory daily showers, but plenty of clean, well-adjusted and happy people don’t take a daily shower, so that’s not it. It’s that there are probably totally individual, possibly quirky things we each could be doing every single day to support our grip on the world and that we should ardently protect these things as being non-negotiable once we figure them out.
Since I love knowing what people’s wellbeing non-negotiables are (along with many other things I really enjoy knowing) and thought it would make a good browsable resource of ideas, I included a survey when I sent this Wellness Wednesday post out to the employees in the health system I work for. It did not disappoint; finding out what keeps people afloat is so interesting. One of my favorites was the person who baby talks to her cat while combing it after work to calm down. Somebody else has to sync her earrings up with her mood so as to be in alignment with her day. Putting on mascara counted as someone else’s non-negotiable wellbeing tactic.
It’s mind blowing (in a great way) to realize we can access wellbeing through mascara and baby talk.