What happens if you don’t get self-care in a healthy way? You will get it in an unhealthy way! Don’t believe me? Read on to learn the difference between the two and then see which one describes you!
Healthy self-care is drinking in the sights, sounds, and tranquility of the little moments of your day. It is a relaxing lunch with friends or a quick power nap to re-energize you. It is getting up early enough to actually enjoy your coffee (instead of guzzling it for its caffeine content) or reading a devotional or something inspirational. It is soaking in a good song on the radio or having a spiritual moment with God. It is getting a good night’s sleep so you’ll be ready to go the next morning. It is doing unpleasant tasks so that your day and week will go more smoothly.
Unhealthy self-care is staying up into the wee hours of the morning watching TV, trolling the internet, Facebooking, or playing video games because you are exhausted from your day. It is over-indulging in food, alcohol, sex, spending, or other things thinking it will re-energize you. It is irritability which culminates in you being short or snippy with people or you want to run away from everybody. Unhealthy self-care might provide immediate relief, but it doesn’t last long and has negative consequences.
Want an easy way to tell the difference between healthy self-care and unhealthy? Does it re-energize and refresh you and make life go more smoothly? Or does it fill you up just enough to get you through the next few hours? And for those of you who think a vacation is all you need for self-care, think again. Healthy self-care is knowing that you need small consistent doses of relaxation throughout your week. Unhealthy self-care is taking yourself to the brink of exhaustion and naively expecting to get recharged enough in one week to last til the next vacation. It might ‘get you by’, but is not very effective!
When you are getting good, healthy self-care you handle the challenges of life more calmly, rationally, and with greater clarity. When you are only getting the bare-minimum self-care (unhealthy), you are more irritable, life is more chaotic and you may often be thinking of ways to escape your life. With healthy self-care, you are living life with purpose and direction, with only unhealthy self-care you are just jumping from lilly pad to lilly pad to survive. Unhealthy self-care works, but your life is anxious, chaotic, and you feel exhausted and drained most of the time.
Which are you getting more of? Steady healthy self-care or last minute, ‘just-barely-enough-to-get-you-by’ self-care?
Want to make a shift? First and foremost, you have to know what recharges your battery! Most people don’t even know! You will have to do some research – no, not on the internet – with yourself! Begin by paying attention to what recharges your battery and lasts vs. what just fills you up in the moment. Start rating the different experiences of your day on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 = barely registering refreshment, 10 = relaxed, refreshed, and ready to tackle the world). Then try to give yourself regular small doses of the good stuff for a week or so and see how you feel.
You can shift from feeling hunkered down, exhausted from life and just wanting to escape to feeling energized and ready to face life’s challenges. This one shift could make all the difference!