First let me start by saying, I genuinely believe we all deserve to treat ourselves with kindness and respect. For those of us who are so hard on ourselves, carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, and are often caught in the cycle of making the lives of everyone around us work- it’s especially hard to not fall into the traps of self care that I’m going to share (and help you break) today! Let me share my thoughts on REAL self care.
Recently self care has gotten confused with just doing whatever makes us “feel better”. Which then means, sometimes “self care” becomes excuses, and avoidances, reasons to keep up with bad habits that we genuinely desire to break. This is especially true when you have nothing left inside of yourself, so it truly does feel like the kindest thing you can do for yourself when your empty is pick that fastest path to getting food in your body and getting your mind off of things.
But my question becomes…. is that actually caring for yourself? Do you feel better?
In my experience, the answer there is often no. I don’t feel better when I quickly scarf down something I threw in the microwave and spend the next hour snuggled up on the coach blindly scrolling through TikTok while also having the TV on.
Again- I’m not judging. Clearly- I’ve been here before, and sometimes I choose this for myself – and that is perfectly okay! However- I don’t do this under the guise of ‘self care.’
So How Do You Practice Self Care
When I set out to find self care I try to consider two central questions:
1) What is something simple I can do now to take care of future me?
2) Which area of my basic needs need improvement: energy, hygiene, hunger, fun, or social? (If you’e ever played the sims these categories may feel familiar!)
I like starting with these two things because these are the areas that often get forgotten when it comes to genuine self care, and yet they’re the ones that matter most.
When you begin with these two questions a clear plan can fall into place, and you can action it with the most loving kindness that you can give to yourself.
For example: If future you could really use some clean clothes for the week ahead and your social cup is empty, then try reaching out to a friend to schedule a phone date, and tackling laundry while your chat the evening away. It gets your mind off the mundane house work, fills up your social. meter, and sets you up for success the rest of the week.
Putting Real Self Care Into Practice
The hard truth is that real self care isn’t always going to be things that you “want” to do! I say this to my boyfriend all the time when we’re discussing household tasks and he’s like “I don’t want to do that.” I get it. I don’t always WANT to do the dishes, or make dinner, or make sure we have enough money in our bank account. Adulting is not really that fun!
BUT- I do know that when I do things that actually take care of myself and my life that I feel SO much better.
There’s a HUGE difference in a morning that begins in a clean kitchen where I can brew a cup of tea, morning light coming through the window, and space to plan out my day- or walking into the shambles of the night before, dog toys everywhere, last night’s dinner dishes that now need to fit in to today’s To-Do list, and the immediate way I already feel behind. Most days I want to give myself that first option! Especially if I have a big day ahead of me, or if I’m under a lot of stress.
It Doesn’t Take As Long As You Think
My last piece of encouragement here is the reminder that most things that we’re dreading don’t actually take as long as we think they do. And you don’t need to be perfect- just do enough to make it functional for you!
Tips I’ve used to make self care tasks more enjoyable and motivating:
- Put on a podcast/show I’m interested in when doing boring tasks like laundry, dusting, dishes, cleaning bathrooms, etc.
- Remind myself of how I’ll enjoy this and give myself appreciation and gratitude
- Time myself (either total time it takes, OR only work for a predetermined time)
- Go slow and with purpose- set your scene with ambience you enjoy! Even small tweaks like playing music you love, burning a candle, or opening the windows up can bring more inspiration in and change the vibe of what you’re up to.
I genuinely believe that self care is a process of taking care of yourself honestly- and sometimes coaching yourself through the actions you don’t *want* to do, but that if you did do would lead to your being more well than you are right now.
Listen to me expand on this on this episode of the A Bit From Within podcast below. Each week I dive more into a variety of topics, sharing a bit from within, and hopefully reminding us all that we’re doing the best we can- and that it’s more than enough! You can listen here or wherever you get your podcasts!
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