I think I'm well-qualified to discuss the topic of martyrdom. First off, I was a bloody St Perpetua for Halloween a couple of years ago. But then, my qualifications racked up during the 2012 Tour of Light, whereon I did two or three jobs at once plus parenting 3 girls at night, adding up to duties about 25/7. I accomplished this by depriving myself of sleep, of course, as well as eliminating any other thing you might call personal time, such as bathroom breaks or reading magazines or looking in the mirror. I carried around 3 copies of the New Yorker (my favorite) for weeks and read about a page. And I had a dream one night that I was trying to breast-feed 9 babies at once. SO, sometime near the end of the tour it was Ash Wednesday and I didn't have time to go to church of course, but I decided to give up martyrdom for Lent.
Instructions for this spiritual practice:
1) Eat chocolate every day. And you have to like it. This means no semi-chocolate like Reeses or KitKat, but pure yummy chocolate. You can't eat it on the run, or while doing other things. Sit down for a whole thirty seconds and let a piece of chocolate melt on your tongue. (This practice would also apply to good strawberries, or ice cream, or anything else that physiologically cues your body "all is well" and gets you out of fight-or-flight mode).
2) Moisturizer every day. YES it takes a darn long time to take care of one's body. No excuses. Love your scratchy old elbows. Appreciate them. Long baths and washing your hair and taking time to actually cut your toenails also fit in this category.
3) Makeup every day. It feels like penitential ashes as I smudge it on. I hate it, it takes SO long, and besides who cares? Even if I'm not going out that day, though, I have to make myself look good. By skipping the saggy sweatshirts and the self-deprecatingly ripped jeans, I'm doing something against that sinful habit of self-neglect.
4) In true Lenten fasting tradition, you get to skip all these rules on Sunday and do whatever the heck you want to do, even if that means wearing PJs to church. Or not going to church, if that's what your soul really needs.