This post is part of the series Lessons from My First Tattoo
Other posts in this series:
- What My First Tattoo Taught Me About Self-Care, Part 0: A Self-Care Primer
- What My First Tattoo Taught Me About Self-Care, Part 1: Have A Plan (Current)
- What My First Tattoo Taught Me About Self-Care, Part 2: Take It Slow
Getting a tattoo on a whim is never a good idea. Tattoos, while not 100% permanent, are incredibly costly to remove. The aftereffects of regretting a tattoo are far worse than the regret of not getting one. That probably goes without saying, but there’s more to it, especially as it goes with self-care.
If you have a regular plan for self-care and stick with it, you’ll find that you reach a kind of zen state where you just know things will be okay, even when they don’t seem that way on the surface. Bad things happen. We all go through rough moments, but when you have a planned moment of self-care to look forward to, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Be Flexible With The Plan
For my first tattoo, the plan was simple. Pick an area that would minimize the pain, and take it slow. Don’t try to do too much in one sitting. Still, when the artist brought out the final design, I was a bit surprised. It was way bigger than expected, but beautiful. Still in a relatively pain-free area, I decided to go through with it. Had I not planned and prepared myself in advance, I would have backed out. But I stuck to the plan, and as the artist worked, I found myself getting more and more happy with the result.
As self-care goes, make sure your plan is somewhat flexible too. Treat it more like a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule to follow. After a particular difficult experience, move up your scheduled care moment if you need to. But don’t overdo it. Adjust your next scheduled care moment so that you maintain your intervals. If your Wednesday visit to Chipotle is something that you look forward to, but you have a rough Monday, get that burrito on Monday. But don’t go back Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You risk becoming too reliant on those moments, and you won’t have the strength to push through without them. That and too many burritos in a week will have you stressing about your waistline on top of everything else.
As my therapist loves to say, “life is always better with a plan.” Take the time to come up with your own plan, stick to it, and you’ll be surprised at what you can survive with minimal pain. A few hours in a chair getting poked with needles will seem like nothing. You can do it.
Continue reading this series:
What My First Tattoo Taught Me About Self-Care, Part 2: Take It Slow