Here's the deal
Self-Care. Sometimes it means getting up early for that workout, and ignoring the urge to hit the snooze button. Sometimes it means staying in your pajamas all day long so you can rotate between the bed to the couch and fight the urge to feel productive.
Our feelings are not always a reliable guide for what we actually need. Most of the time, the thing itself isn't a bad thing, but any good thing can be used to an unhealthy extreme. If we're stressed and triggered, we will often reach for something the help us numb the pain instead of an act of self-care to help us process the pain.
Three Ways to Identify Self-Care
- Self-Care is less about DOING and more about NOTICING. When we are stressed and overwhelmed, we want quick and clear instructions for relaxation or getting out of our funk. Our bodies and deep inner Selves are always giving us information about what we need and how to solve our own problems, but most of us have forgotten how to listen and how to read the signs. Learning again to notice these inner signals can be cultivated through the practice of mindfulness and learning to accept all that is happening in us - for better or worse - in each moment. In noticing what you need and why you need it, any steps for doing will become clear and simple.
- Self-Care will ADDRESS instead of AVOID. Taking care of yourself requires you to address your own needs instead of avoiding them. Avoiding or numbing ourselves with anything in the name of self-care only becomes self-indulgent and that leaves us feeling even more sick, or hollow, or just farther from where we really want to be in the end. Addressing your real needs will sometimes require that you don't give into a craving, or place heavy boundaries around something that you really like for awhile.
- Self-Care is a NECESSITY not a REWARD. When we talk about self-care as a prize for doing hard things, we get into the habit of feeling like we have to earn the right to give ourselves what we need. True self-care is not something you earn by surviving a difficult day, it is instead the act of processing your difficult day in a restorative way. Keep in mind that it's really healthy to set goals and to celebrate with indulgent rewards, so allow room in your life for extravagance. When you are really mindful and honestly noticing what your true self is telling you that you need, you'll be able to completely enjoy the moments of indulgence without guilt or shame.