The Difference Between Self Care and Self Care-less

Hi Internet. I like that outfit. Is it new? Vintage? Whatever it is, you look ravishing.

You know what I’m really good at? Being an absolute D-bag to myself.

You know what else I’m really good at? Being really easy… … Like, too easy… on myself.

When I cancel plans on a friend, let something fall through the cracks at work or didn’t feel like answering a phone call or text message from friends or family members,  my auto pilot reaction is to beat myself up internally with a ton of negative self talk.

On the flip side, after a long work day, it’s very easy to tell myself that it’s okay to go right to bed at 7:30 PM because “what a long day you’ve had!”.  Or, instead of making a quick 30 minute healthy dinner, I opt to heat up mac and cheese for the 3rd night in a row because who feels like cooking after working all day? (It’s Such a Hard Life — and Other Lies I Tell Myself — coming to a bookstore near YOU!)

I’d call these little “gifts” to myself “self-care” but really, they’re self sabotage. Throwing tons of carbs into your face isn’t self care. Skimping out on working out and taking care of your hot rockin’ bod isn’t self care.

Just because you call it self-care doesn’t mean that you’re taking care of yourself. Often times, you’re practicing self-care-LESS-ness without even realizing. 

I. Am. So. Guilty.

There’s a time and a place for everything. Sometimes you really do need to kick your own ass and other times you really do need to let yourself off the freakin’ hook. The key is to know the difference and which approach really is best.

As a “fun” little exercise, I’ve been practicing doing the opposite of what I want to do. It’s been a challenge to be so damn radical and trying to have the response that’s best for me… but it seems to be working.

Even  though my gut instinct is to take on all of the blame for something that goes wrong and tell myself what an idiot I am, I don’t. I acknowledge what happened, accept that everyone makes mistakes, own my part of what happened if I have one, and then forgive myself and move on. Just because I’m having an off day doesn’t mean I’m any less of a person. (This has been a hard one!)

Even though after finishing up work, I want to stuff my face with carbs or order pizza, I don’t. I cook something that’s (mostly) healthy.

Even though my brain is fried by the end of the day and all I want to do is to crawl into bed, I don’t. Just because my brain has taken all it can at the end of the day, doesn’t mean my body has had a chance to get its groove on. I do my 30 minutes of activity, and then I get ready for bed.

Even though part of me wants to do special favors for others who aren’t the most trustworthy or reciprocating despite my gut feeling urging me not to, I don’t. I’ll do anything for anyone, but only if it means that my own beliefs and values aren’t compromised.

And even though I haven’t written on this blog, or really anywhere, doesn’t mean that I’m a failure or that I’ve given up. I’m still a writer even when I’m not writing.

Love you, Internet. Miss you. Let’s hang out. Smooches.