What do you think of when you think of self care?
Drinking a glass of wine? Hitting snooze on the alarm clock? Eating a cupcake?
Self care could be any of these things depending on how you feel afterwards: Physically, mentally, and/or spiritually.
Are you trying to lose weight? When you think of eating that cupcake yesterday, how do you feel? Disappointed in yourself? Frustrated? Deflated? This is not self care but self sabotage. Eating a cupcake is a temporary and artificial pleasure. It gives us an immediate sugar high but we don’t lose weight, we feel horrible coming off our sugar high, and since we didn’t honor our commitment to ourselves, we let ourselves down. Does this feel like taking care of yourself?
How about when we choose to not eat the cupcake? We feel in control. We honor our commitment. Our body has not had a spike or dip of sugar. We feel empowered. Which choice is truly self care?
When I speak of the importance of self care, many think they “don’t have time” but true self care takes no time out of our days. Self care isn’t about taking a whole day to go to the spa. It’s about our daily choices and how little things we do are helping or hurting us. We treat ourselves worse than we treat anyone else. We say mean things to ourselves, wear old, uncomfortable clothes, and put extra, unnecessary food in our bodies. Self care is as easy as buying a new outfit in the next size up, choosing one nice thing to say to yourself in the morning, or choosing not to watch TV at night and going to bed.
Self care is realizing that there’s something that’s going on in your life that you’re trying to avoid with alcohol, food, shopping, TV, or even exercise. Self care is about being your own best friend. Best friends sometimes tell us a truth we might not want to hear. We get to choose what we do with what they told us.
We think of self care as fun and easy but taking time. True self care is not easy, nor necessarily fun but you can make time for it. Start today. In fact, you’ll save time.
No wine to buy.
No ice cream bowl to wash.
No outfits to try on to see which fit.
Take out a pad of paper instead of the bottle of wine and ask yourself what’s going on in your mind. Write for the amount of time that it would take you to eat that bowl of ice cream. How do you feel after writing as opposed to how you feel after eating that cupcake? Choose self care over self sabotage.
Where are you fooling yourself into believing that you’re doing something to make yourself feel good that, in reality, leaves you feeling anything but?