4 Questions To Jumpstart Your Self-Care

Last updated: February 2023

You couldn’t pay me to relive 2021. It was the year that just wouldn’t quit. The worst parts were losing a dear friend by suicide, while my family and I dealt with 2 life-threatening health crises, all as the world continued to burn.

The one bright spot was when my GP and I agreed that seeking out happiness and contentment should take a more important place in my self-care plan.

Are you cultivating your own happiness?

We are often taught that our happiness will happen in the future, perhaps through intimate relationships, career success, and acquiring things.

It’s easy to get fixated on the horizon, working toward or waiting for the right things to fall into place to make happiness happen. But what if that magical day never comes?

What do you like to do?

I love to knit and crochet! I grew up around lots of talented creative folks doing art, crafts, and woodworking. A late bloomer, my powers arrived in the third and fourth decades of life. I taught myself to crochet in 2007 and started knitting in 2022.

What’s one thing you could change today?

In 2021 my doctor asked me to lose weight. When my initial attempts were unsuccessful we agreed that low-carb was worth a try. Giving up sugar and refined carbs has reduced my weight and improved my health.

How well do you know your family’s history?

Families are complicated, mostly because they’re full of people. All kidding aside, understanding a family’s social and health history can provide essential insights into how we think, feel, and behave in the present day. Depending upon what’s happening now, we might seek to carry on or interrupt certain legacies or cycles.

Brick walls

African Americans like me face specific barriers to exploring our genealogy. Many of our ancestors don’t have a papertrail and others might be hiding in plain sight.

Free people of color were on the Census, but slavery kept most of our ancestors on a separate population instrument called the Slave Schedule. Slave Schedules counted the number of enslaved by owner, age and sex, but without names. After emancipation, many Freedman experienced name changes and relocated multiple times.

Example: One set of my second great grandparents went by Burwell at their legal marriage in 1864 and on the 1870 Census, only to become Pettway sometime in the 1890s.

My cousins and I didn’t know anything about the abandoned Burwell surname until we stumbled upon it in 2022! We’d been searching for variations of Pettway since we were kids.

A word about genetic genealogy

Direct to consumer ancestry sites are helpful, but they don’t solve the whole problem. Unfortunately, we will never know the names and details of most of our enslaved ancestors because too much information is missing, lost to time.

Why am I telling you this?

Everybody has some unfinished business in life. I always wanted to know my second great grandparents' names, and when and where they were freed. It feels great knowing more about them. Is some unfinished business hurting your happiness or self-care?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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