The ugly side of self-care

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Self-care isn’t always bubble baths, spa days and expensive chocolate. It isn’t always something Instagram-able or costly. When self-care started to be a thing, this is actually why I shied away from it. I didn’t have money to order food in and I was cuddling up in bed early to watch Netflix because the feeling that a giant was standing on my chest and the heart palpitations made anything else impossible.

What I’ve realized is that this makes self-care even more important for me.

Self-care is dragging my ass to the doctor to let her know I’m feeling worse on the new dose of meds. It’s telling my partner I’ve been feeling suicidal and need to change something major in my life. Carrying a water bottle around so I remember to drink water, cornering myself into answering texts from friends so I don’t isolate myself and eating breakfast even when I still feel too nauseous to actively want food at 11 a.m. are all forms of self-care in my life.

It’s important for me to remember this. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I’ll buy myself a vegan cheesecake and eat it for dinner in the name of self-care, when really I should be saving that money and eating a big salad instead. Especially when I’m so down it’s hard to get myself out of bed and dressed to go to the store for said cake. That sugar isn’t going to do shit to get me feeling better.

It’s when I’ve got the basic self-care down–getting all the nutrients I need, staying hydrated, keeping active, finding time for connection and play–that the fun, pretty self-care can come into my life in a way that adds something beneficial.

What’s your relationship with the self-care trend like?

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Struggling with kindness towards me

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The first five days of my challenge to do one kind act for someone else and one kind act towards myself each day has been interesting.

I made my partner breakfast, baked my neurobiofeedback counsellor cookies, wrote my mom a letter of thanks and gave my mother-in-law a book. I’m still deciding what to do today, but I think I’m going to mail a book to a friend.

Where I’m struggling is doing nice things for myself. On January 1, I let myself read for hours without feeling guilty about not doing anything productive. That was awesome.

Next day, I went to bed early to read. Okay. Not a great act of kindness, but something.

Wednesday, I decided to go to bed to sleep at 9:30 p.m. But then my partner had some car troubles. I got out of bed and didn’t get back in until after midnight. Last night, I’d planned on popping my pjs in the dryer for a few before tucking in, but by the time it was close to bed I was just too exhausted to go downstairs, come back up to wait, then go back down to get them; I just wanted to go straight to bed.

My lesson from this week is that I need to find kind things to do for myself earlier in the day. I need to make them a priority so I don’t bump them. However, I’m struggling a bit in finding kind things to do for myself that don’t involve spending money.

Any suggestions?