“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.
It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.
It is often doing the ugliest thing that you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.
A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.
True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.
And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.
It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.
It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.
If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.
It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place.
It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.
It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.”
-Brianna Wiest, in Thought Catalog
Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a new client about just this thing: we live in a world where we are encouraged to ‘go go go’ he just did a lecture where he told students to always say yes… then came to see me because his body is failing him. Our culture of more more more is creating nothing but misery and sadness: we need to stop the disease of busy and find fun in life: find the balance between what gives you joy and what puts food on your table.
Chinese medicine ascribes our health principle to the strength of our Jing, our constitution: our bodies own strength to tolerate this thing called life, and each persons is unique:so some can work from 7am to 11pm and then go to the pub while other cannot.
Find your balance, learn to listen to what your body is telling you BEFORE you get ill: and if that ship has sailed then starting working on nourishing yourself: support your body and mind back to health.
We live in a Yang driven world: find your Yin: find what gives you quiet nourishment be that meditation, reading, lying on a beach, eating good food, walking in nature, snuggling on the sofa… ( think I’ve just given you my list) DO IT.
Pick something you want from your ‘ideal life’ and implement that one tiny thing, make it habit, make it utterly part of your existence, then add another and so forth. By doing this you will rediscover your health.