We are 27 days into the New Year and I’ve seen so many “_____ days of self care” posts on Instagram, that I encouraged myself to participate—I haven’t even made it to Day 1 yet. (Hehe)
I can honestly say, a major concern of mine regarding this 21 day challenge is how many people will it piss off in the process, crazy right ?
I guess the phrase “self care” has been subjective to me, when I hear self care , I hear taking care of me. Unfortunately often times taking care of me can be seen as selfish.
Psychology Today published an article that provided :
ten ways to exercise self care and take better care of you.
1- Self care means knowing who you are and your limits. Self care means recognizing when you are doing more than you are used to handling and trying to figure out what can be done to slow down.
2- Self care means getting the sleep you need and knowing how to rest. Are you getting enough sleep for you? Do you know how much sleep you require everyday and are you sleeping at least that much? Making a serious effort to make that happen as well as knowing how to rest your body and your mind are essential.
3- Self care means making sure that you’re well fed. Do you eat well—does what you eat provide the energy you need to function? Do you take time to eat meals at work and do you take time to have snacks when your body requires intermittent food during the work day? Self care means integrating favorite healthy foods into your everyday eating routines and planning ahead to make sure you have adequate nutritional foods throughout your day.
4 –Self care means finding a way to decompress throughout your day, not just when you leave work. What is it you do to rest your mind during and after a work day? What helps you tune out the noise? Most people tell me they don’t have the luxury of taking breaks during their work day but trying to integrate mini breaks throughout the day helps refresh your mind and body. For example, try stretching or taking a brief walk even if it’s only a few feet away, getting yourself a drink of water, talking to a friend, getting in touch with a loved one even if it’s just a text, or purposely looking at photos that have special meaning. The brain needs those pauses
5- Self care means giving some thought to changing a difficult work situation. We know best what we need and what we can deal with. Is there anything that can be done to make your work somewhat less stressful? Think about whether changes can be made to your work environment. Are you okay with where you sit and do your work? Are you working unsustainable hours and is their some end in sight? It might be a matter of approaching a supervisor with things that you think may make your work more pleasant such as changing where you sit or changing whether you take an earlier lunch or later start time.
Sometimes supervisors are not even aware of the reality of what the worker experiences in a work day. A frank conversation delineating the things that are most stressful might precipitate the process of improving your working conditions. People see the world through their own lenses and supervisors have their own problems and a sometimes a simple conversation can provide the insight they needed to rethink how things are done.
6- Self care means taking time to get to know you better. Self care means learningto recognize your own temperament and trying to prepare for your personal limits. For example, do you have the trait of “high sensitivity? (Aron 1996) and if so, learning to recognize when you are experiencing sensory overload. “Highly Sensitives,” “hsp’s, ” are particularly bothered and effected by over-stimulation and things like being hungry or tired or wearing uncomfortable shoes precipitate marked discomfort. Identifying your temperament and your triggers and planning accordingly might help lessen inevitable stress. That might be as simple as grabbing some almonds before a meeting that usually cuts into your lunch hour so you’re not ridiculously hungry or rethinking fabulous but uncomfortable shoes.
7- Self care means identifying what you enjoy doing and what’s fun for you and make a serious effort to integrate it into your day or, at the very least, your week. Make it a habit to plan something to look forward to everyday and that doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as planning to read a good book at night or planning to have dinner with someone whose company you enjoy.
8- Self care means knowing how to debrief from a day’s work. That might mean walking home from work to clear your head, driving in silence or listening to music to help transition from work to home.
9- Self care means feeding your spiritualself. That might take the form of meditating, praying, communing with nature by a walk in a park, observing a sunset or sunrise, attending a religious service, practicing gratitude, reading or listening to something inspirational.
10- And finally, self care means taking time to love yourself and appreciating that there’s only one you and you’re the expert on that.
I read those and said, “Wow, bitch you’re overdue”. I have too. many issues in my life that could be potentially solved or even made to be less stressful if I practiced a little “self care”, then I think about some of the things on that list and wonder how I could do that when people might not understand. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again, some of the closest people to us don’t want to see us doing well. It’s easier for people to predict you, and imagine life with you, when they know the same person they’ve already knew.
Often times self care leads to growth, for me as I grow, I change. I refer to “growth” as entering the next chapter of your life. I also associate growing with possibly upsetting others, I blame the Gemini in me, most times first thing out my mouth is BYE, then other times I overthink and never follow through.
I don’t know how you guys translate self -care but I read #6 and it said taking time should mean getting to know YOU
I read that and immediately think ostracizing myself. In order to get to know myself better, I have to spend time with me … that doesn’t mean always hanging with the crowd, or constantly being around friends or family it means being ALONE, but how many of my friends and family would understand that?
Once I made it through all of the practices to #10 “But most of all self care means taking time to love yourself” I really knew I was at a bridge . Imagine if we did things to others just to prove to ourselves we love us more, a lot of yes’ would be No’s. We’d lose interest in people and situations because in reality we KNOW they don’t serve us , but because we are good people we try to still salvage the bad.
I did a “21 day Self care challenge before and I noticed the comments , or the reactions for simply reading a “self care book” or starting a diet or gym regimen. Apparently, Even your biggest fans don’t root for you sometimes.
Then I thought , “but if I made it about other people wouldn’t it defeat the purpose”? —- and if its about other people ? How can I possibly figure me out?
As I got older I began becoming frustrated with beginning things and never following through, never accomplishing things . The self care challenge would most likely be a battle, a battle to chose me, or them.
A battle I’ll probably never figure out.
So for those who have committed themselves to a “____ self care challenge” Let me know how they turn out —- and wish me better luck next time
until then the quest to find balance continues.