Coffee Date #13: Self-Care is a Practice

On releasing the need for perfection

Happy new year, my friends.

I’m so happy to be back with you again, writing the first Coffee Date of 2021. Getting to write to you all is a consistent highlight in the weird times we’re still living in.

I celebrated the fourth anniversary of my blog on December 31st. Four years, 401 published posts (such a pleasing number!), countless words, and all the great experiences that have come from being a sex blogger. I’m grateful for all of it - and for all of you.

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Self-Care is a Practice

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care recently. Here in the UK, we’ve been plunged back into the inevitable post-Christmas lockdown. It doesn’t make a huge difference to my day to day life (I barely went anywhere anyway) but it’s still scary and psychologically taxing. For many of us, this means stepping up our self-care regimes to get through the next few weeks and months.

When I was writing about new years resolutions or lack thereof (see below,) I started thinking more about the things that I want to do this year. When it comes to looking after myself, I’m challenging myself to do three things: say no more often and less apologetically, prioritise my own goals and needs instead of always trying to please other people, and include both fun and rest into every day.

My version of self-care isn’t always glamorous or Instagram-worthy - in fact it usually isn’t. Pushing your alarm back by half an hour because you really need the extra sleep, ticking a scary task off your to-do list, or having a cry because everything is overwhelming right now don’t make for pretty pictures or snappy inspirational quotes. But they’re still tremendously important.

I’ve been doing Yoga With Adriene’s 30 day “Breath” challenge (which is running throughout January). One of the things I enjoy about yoga is the way it’s referred to as “practice” - for me, this word allows me to remove the expectations of perfection that I tend to put on myself. To focus on the process, rather than the end result. I propose that we think of self-care in the same way.

You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, you inevitably won’t be perfect, because none of us are. Sometimes you’ll fall back into people-pleasing and say yes when you really want to say no (did that this morning!) Sometimes you won’t do the thing that will make your day easier, even though you know you should (done that this week, too!)

But perfectionism is the opposite of self-care. Beating yourself up and expecting 100% adherence to whatever you’re trying to do is a recipe for frustration and failure. So forgive yourself - and remember that self-care is something we need to strive to practice every day.

Perfection isn’t realistic or required. Focus on the process. That’s what I’m trying to do this year.

This week on the blog

I took a break over Christmas so only two posts to share this time.

Sexy deals of the week

  • Get 10% off absolutely everything in store at Self and More when you use the code “CoffeeAndKink” at checkout.

  • Lovehoney have new, deeper discounts on their New Year sale. You’ll find offers on toys, bondage gear, safer sex supplies, and more.

  • I’ve recently teamed up with The Butters Hygienics Co, a fabulous Black-and-queer-owned company selling lube, bath bombs, fragrances, and more. Use my code “coffeeandkink” to get 5% off your order.

Please be aware that shopping with my affiliates sends a small commission my way at no extra cost to you!

Reads, watches, listens

Reading… During the break, I delved into My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, which has been sitting on my to-be-read list for a while. To say it was a difficult read would be an understatement - it deals with an abusive relationship between a 15 year old student and her 40-something teacher. So go in with that in mind if you choose to read it. But Russell does an amazing job of examining the impact of trauma, particularly when the victim doesn’t want to acknowledge or admit that they were abused.

Watching… My partner and I finally finished our marathon Deep Space Nine watch. I loved it, but I’m still mad about (tiny spoiler) the character they killed off in season 6! We’ve now started watching Trigonometry, a refreshing take on TV polyamory. It’s still about an MFF triad, but features people of colour and working class folks as lead characters. It’s sweet, funny, and worth a watch.

Listening… I’ve just started listening to the Maintenance Phase podcast by Aubrey Gordon (creator of Your Fat Friend) and Michael Hobbes. They debunk fad diets, ridiculous “wellnes” claims, and “junk science behind health fads.” I’ve found it healing and validating as I continue healing my relationship with food and my body.

Last word

It’s 2021 (thank goodness) but we’re not out of the woods of this pandemic yet, unfortunately. There are going to be difficult moments, difficult days, difficult weeks ahead. Unlike many people who push positivity at all costs, I think acknowledging that sometimes everything just sucks is healthy.

Please reach out to your loved ones and community if you need support, and remember to be good to each other. We need kindness and patience - with ourselves and each other - to get through this.

Listen / I love you / joy is coming

Amy x