A couple of years into my legal career, I started working at a law firm practicing civil litigation. I had heard the stories about law firm life being miserable which was why I never wanted to be at a firm. I wanted to work at a public defender’s office or a non profit. But when I came out of law school, the country was just coming out of a recession and there were hiring freezes. So my student loans decided that law firm life it was.
Very quickly, I realized that I would not be happy there. The work was not fulfilling to me. The stories were for the most part true…awful clients, billable hour requirements, an expectation to be “devoted” to the Firm, and worst of all for me, an oppressively isolating environment as a non-white male.
One Sunday, I was sitting in my living room on the verge of tears because every minute that passed was one minute closer to work on Monday. In an effort to distract myself, I put on some music and painted my nails. Unsurprisingly, it made me feel so much better. I love painting my nails!
So the next Sunday, when the feeling of impending doom started up again, I pulled out my polish and turned on my favorite album at that time, Formation (Queen B obviously).
Eventually, my weekly polish party became a full blown self care ritual. Every Sunday at about 5pm, I would run a bath, put on some music and give myself a mani/pedi. It quickly became the most peaceful hour of my week.
As my career progressed and my stress levels increased, this time to myself on Sundays was one of the few things helping me keep it together.
Thankfully, I eventually got a place where I had enough courage to free myself from being in a space that made me unhappy. But until I got there, my weekly nail care routine was one of the only acts of self care I could squeeze in.
How do you practice self care throughout your week? Reply to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you do to show yourself that you are a priority.