I arrived home this morning from what I called my “Self-Care Music Weekend”.  I haven’t even unpacked yet but I knew I wanted to share a little bit of what I learned about the importance of self-care, in the sense of ongoing but also taking some extended down time when the opportunity presents itself.

I fully admit that I’m someone who isn’t great at self-care. I mean I do it as often as I can in the form of playing my bass, going for walks outside, or just kicking back and doing some reading. Even with the reading though I’m usually on a self-help book so I’m not sure how much self-care that really is, but oh well.  That type of self care doesn’t last long each time, but I’ll take whatever relief I can get. Before I get into a bit about the weekend I just wanted to share something that my therapist, J, told me last Wednesday.

I mentioned to her that I was going to the M3 Rock Festival in Columbia, Maryland. My yearly trek for 2 days of great 80’s hair band awesomeness. Here is the lineup of bands if you’re interested. She said she thought that was a great idea and then paused for a second and told me that she’ll be interested to see how my mood is when I come back for my next session on Wednesday.  I asked her why, other than the obvious normal reasons of her just being my therapist.

She said that since I’ve been coming there, she’s noticed that every few months I try and find something that I can really look forward too, something that doesn’t happen regularly. I focus on that and try to get excited about it; which then seems to carry over for several weeks afterwards until I settle down into my more usual feeling of stress and anxiety.  The last time something big happened was this past February when for whatever reason, 6 of the bands I love all put out new music within the same week. When I came in for a session right after that my mood was higher than normal, I was upbeat, and feeling pretty good. I remember her saying, well you seem more perky than usual. I wasn’t sure quite sure how to take that honestly.

So now she wants to see how I’ll be after this long weekend and honestly I’m kind of interested to see how I will be too now that I’m fully aware of it. Will I force myself back into the usual anxiety filled life that I have or will the amazing weekend carry over as it has in the past and offer some temporary relief?  After all I am a thinker and an over analyzer, so being fully aware of this now; we shall see what my mind does.

Back to this festival of Self Care…This weekend, and a few extra days off work before was mainly about me justMy Self-Care Music Weekend - M3 Rock Festiival trying to get away, chill out, rock out, and relax around 20,000 other music fans who just want to enjoy the music we grew up with. It’s a laid back atmosphere, everybody is cool, no problems with fights or people stealing your stuff. We’re all there for the same reason, to forget about real life for a couple days and rock out to the bands we love.

I should point out that while this weekend was great, it still had it’s moments. I dissociated several times during the day on Saturday, and I had a few thoughts of my past pop into my head that I had to fight off. Anxiety never takes a vacation no matter how much we wish it would.

Anyways, aside from the ridiculously priced food, beverages, and merchandise, M3 never lets us down. The largest crowd to date was in attendance, but it still just feels like you’re around friends who come from all over the country to be at this festival every spring. Almost like a rocker family reunion :). You make a lot of friends and many keep in touch via Facebook groups throughout the year. This is my 7th year straight of attending and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

On a personal note, Tom Keifer, lead singer of Cinderella is worth the price of admission alone, that’s my all time favorite band. Heavens Edge, Stephen Pearcy from RATT, Firehouse, Queensryche, Quiet Riot, Britny Fox, and Lynch Mob also had amazing sets! Overall it was just fantastic and reaffirms why I love the music that I do.

Anyways, I just wanted to share a bit of this weekend and that I was reminded how important ongoing self-care really is. Living with the abuse that we survivors do, every day can and usually does feel like a struggle. We never know quite what to expect, other than to expect the unexpected. The triggers, mood swings, depression, dissociation, anything and everything that haunts us in our daily life can be mentally and physically draining.

Take time to do the things you enjoy no matter whether it’s something little you can do often or something big that you look forward too each year. Our minds deserve some down time too, after all they are working hard every day to protect us and help us heal.