I’m becoming a coffee shop person.

I started stopping by a coffee shop a few days a week on my way to work. I’ve never been big on this type of ritual. There’s free coffee in the office, and I’ve always preferred starting my day near as few people as possible. My quiet little office where I am ignored versus a busy coffee shop seemed like a no brainer. I ride my bike past ReAnimator Coffee every day. I have been here before, but buying coffee has never been in my routine.

If I wake up in time, I usually brew myself a single cup of coffee using my aeropress. Do you use an aeropress? It is the best single cup of coffee making device I have ever encountered. I love it so much. Lately, I have been buying my coffee from Just Coffee. I used to buy from Philadelphia based Old City Roasters, but I have not found a coffee I did not like from Just Coffee.

Ok, this is not a post about the importance of coffee in my life. This is a post about changing my routine. I am the type of guy who sometimes thinks a little too far ahead. Buying coffee always felt like I was throwing money away. $2.50 a cup, $.50 in the tip jar, 3 days a week, almost every week, and then throw in the occasional croissant is almost $500 a year! Think of things I could spend my money on for $500. That’s half an airfare to some exotic location. I could donate that to one of the many groups that deserve it, but look at me, wasting it on coffee. Something I can get for free at my office.

The change in routine was an unintentional approach to self-care. I have been feeling a bit fatigued with my work. Not in a “I’m going to quit” way, but there is pronounced “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” feeling right now at work. The attacks from the right wing have been big and do not seem to be subsiding any time soon. I love my work and I really believe that self-care is critical to me continuing to do that work.

There is a rise in the interest of “self-care” for working people. Self-care is a strategy to prevent burn out in the workplace or just in life. There is a famous Audre Lorde quote that goes something like this, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” I agree with this a lot. At times, self-care feels like self-indulgence.

I do think that self-care and self-control should go hand and hand. I read an article the other day about the #1 reason given on the reason we snack is self-care. If that is the case, than maybe we should shore up what self-care means. I think Self-care is taking care for your mental and physical wellbeings and it should be 100% positive. If your self-care harms you or others it is no longer self-care, merely, indulgence. That’s my definition. If that is the case, does my new morning routine count as self-care?

I do find that it helps me focus at work, the coffee is infinitely better, and it breaks up my morning. Maybe this is just an excuse to enjoy a coffee shop and be out of the office. It doesn’t seem to hurt me, my work, or my health. The financial cost could be worth it.

I have some self-care options already, but new things I’ve started dabbling with include: exercise (which I hate), meditation (which I don’t do), and $500 worth of coffee every year. I think I will continue with my morning coffee routine, and work to explore these other self-care options that I am less enthusiastic about right now.

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