It is such a common misconception that self-care always feels good. Socially, self-care can start to be identified by things like retail therapy, bubble baths and Netflix-binges. In therapeutic terms, self-care simply means leaning into the things that feed our physical, emotional and mental health. Unfortunately, that’s not nearly as glamorous. True self-care requires mindful effort and at times, frankly, just isn’t all that fun.
The Easy Thing is Easy
I mean, duh, right? I know I’m stating the obvious, but I do feel it needs to be acknowledged that the things in life worth having don’t come so easily. Taking care of ourselves is hard some days, especially when we’d rather veg out in front of the TV and nap all weekend. While there is certainly a time and place for that type of relaxation, I find it to be indicative of a deeper issue when that’s the constant go-to. Knocking out a few things on the to-do list, taking a walk outside, or trying a new activity takes a bit more forethought and effort. It also has the possibility to be substantially more rewarding.
Exercise and Physical Health
As annoying as it is to hear, it’s true. I’m no nutritionist or athletic trainer, but I do know the general effects of physical health on our mental health. They go hand in hand. The endorphins released during a work-out boost mood, and obviously physical health improves with time and repetition. Staying disciplined to work up a sweat every day honestly is tough, but it’s a huge part of taking care of ourselves.
Are we allowing ourselves to genuinely feel our emotions or are we distracting ourselves? That’s a tough one. So often we as humans can get caught up in the day-to-day grind and stress; I know I am quite guilty of this. Going through the motions and staying busy can be tempting to fall into rather than slowing down and truly processing our deeper hurts. When we address these emotions, we can make our daily lives move more smoothly and with more positive intent.
Being a Friend To Yourself
Would you want to be friends with you? Sometimes I don’t like the answer to that question when I am being 100% real with myself. The times when I don’t like the answer are typically times where I know I am burnt out and overdoing it. Self-care is the best remedy for this problem! With intended focus on ourselves, we will have more energy left over to pour back into those important relationships. When we do that, we begin feeling more positively and that in-turn gives renewed energy to pour back into taking better care of ourselves.