Last week, I was talking about what to do when things are really difficult when everything hits the fan. What triggered me actually talking about that last week was my own challenges. I think what a lot of people do is when they’re challenged, they look to what they call “self care.” Society has created this vision or version of what self care is, and it’s not really self care. It’s all about this idea of “treat yourself.” Treat yourself is not self care. Treats don’t help you feel better.
What I see is reaching for Starbucks, or chocolate cake, or a manicure or pedicure. And there’s nothing wrong with any of them, but they’re not self care. It’s empty calories for your body, and it’s empty calories for your soul.
Let’s take a little bit more of a deeper dive into what self care is.
Processing our emotions is actually self care. Because when we have a really hard day, and we come home at the end, and we are like “That sucked. That was a really hard day. Where’s the wine? Where’s the tub of ice cream? Where’s that? Where are the cookies that I need? So that I feel better?” It provides that emotional hit of feeling good, and yet, it doesn’t last. That’s a temporary fix. And then we just need more of that. And really what we’re doing is numbing our emotions.
When we have a bad day, and we have that emotion that comes up by processing the emotion. It doesn’t necessarily feel good in the moment. But when we process those emotions, we’re allowing the emotion to move through, which is more supportive at the long term, then it’s not packed down in our tissues. What I see with a lot of mind-body pieces is that there’s an emotion that’s been tucked down, underneath the liver, or in the muscles of the low back. And then we wonder why our low back is screaming to us at the end of the day.
What is self care for you? What is a “treat yourself?”
I’d love for you to think right now what you perceive is self care for you. What does a treat feel like to you? Do they all fall in the food category? Do they fall in the mind-numbing category? Are they alcohol-related?
I’ve talked about this before: I notice that I use social media as a mind number. I don’t drink anymore. I have mostly cut out sugar except for the occasional blueberry pies I talked about last week. And so I’m not using food. I’m not using sugar. I’m not using Netflix, not using alcohol. And so my mind is looking for a mind number, especially during the pandemic. How does that feel in the long term? I want to encourage you now to make a list of things that are not food or alcohol, that feel delicious to your body, and that actually supports you in who you are, and what you want to become in your life.
So I’ll give you some examples in my own life. I love podcasts. Which is why I’m doing a podcast right? I love inspirational podcasts, something where I can learn something that gets me thinking, usually about self help. I have podcasts on shamanism, on life coaching, on unlearning racism, nutrition. What’s also delicious to me is actually having have been eating this beautiful kale salad with grated carrots and turnips and green apples cut up on it and cucumbers and pumpkin seeds with olive oil and lemon juice, with fresh squeezed lemon on it. And it just makes me so happy.
My tomato plants outside make me so happy not because of the tomatoes that I have. But because they just I just walked by them and I feel joy for having them. Right flowers bring me happiness. Also, being outside: moving my body, belly dancing, or dancing in the living room with my kids or without my kids. Going out into nature sitting next to a babbling creek is like heaven. Those are things that feed my soul for a longer term. It’s not an immediate chocolate cake dopamine hit.
So, my definition of self care is something that nourishes you, that supports you, who you are now and who you want to be. So for me, another one that falls under that is meditation and mindfulness. Those are huge self care items. In fact, they’re non negotiable self care for me. Because if I’m not meditating, pretty much every day, then I notice I just don’t feel as good physically, mentally, emotionally.
Self care is being kind and loving to yourself, and being compassionate with yourself.
I love you so much. I want to take amazing care of you. That’s what I want you to get out of this podcast.
I want you to love and care for yourself in in a way that you would care for your own children. Because really, my view is, we are just taking care of our own inner child our own self as best we can.
This is one of the foundational pieces of feeling better, of having more energy is instead of wasting all that energy on the voice in our head that is telling us unkind things. We turn our attention to compassion, kindness, and love.