One of the myths of self-care that I’d like to dispel is that self-care is indulgent, and that it has to feel luxurious in order to count. Of course, it CAN feel indulgent and luxurious. I support you treating yourself right! Yet, sometimes self-care is a bit more like a chore and things you don’t want to do.
For example, flossing your teeth. Not something you get super pumped about. But it’s still an important form of self-care. Not only because it helps protect your oral health, but it feels SO GOOD after, am I right? (Although my dentist last time was trying to get me to switch to a waterpik instead of flossing. She said it was more effective. I’m not convinced, but maybe that’s just me being stubborn.)
ANYWAY, today’s big idea is that sometimes self-care is the equivalent of eating your lima beans. (Or insert your other least favorite vegetable). And while that’s not sexy or particularly exciting, it’s OK. Because perhaps viewing these not-so-pleasurable things you don’t want to do as important self-care might help you actually do them.
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Let me give you an example
One form of self-care I do that I don’t really get psyched about or even enjoy all that much while I’m doing it, usually, is interval training with light weights. I am a yogi and a walker through and through. But I have lived long enough to learn that when I’m not doing any kind of strength training, my body just doesn’t work well. I experience back pain. I gain weight. And I just kind of… go to seed.
I’ve come to realize that I need to spend 20 minutes 3 times a week doing things like push-ups, squats, kettle bell swings, and overhead presses with hand weights. And I’ve accepted that I will need to continue doing this the rest of my life if I want to feel good in and about my body.
I love the doing of it for one reason only:
It’s efficient. And of course I love having a pain-free back, and being able to carry heavy stuff and do strenuous things like walk up a big hill. And that I can actually detect some musculature in my bicep area. It’s totally ok that I’m meh on the experience. It’s still self-care even though it’s not this warm fuzzy experience.
I bring this up today because while I think it’s important that you find ways to take care of yourself that you enjoy, you can’t only do the fun exciting stuff. It’s like practicing yoga at home on your own. You’ll probably never do the poses that your body really needs because they are hard for you. Sometimes we just need to do the unpleasant stuff.
Not only are these not-so-pleasant things self-care, but THINKING of them as self-care can help you actually do them. It’s harder to talk yourself out of something when you acknowledge that it helps you be your best.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment for today is to think about something you KNOW is good for you but that maybe you haven’t been doing all that much because it’s not super pleasurable or fun. And just have a little check in with yourself about it. Remind yourself of the benefits this not fun thing provides, or how good you feel after it’s done. Can viewing it as self-care help you actually do it?
It’s like something I tell my kids a lot — you don’t have to want to do it, you just have to do it.
Come back tomorrow when I’m talking about an important form of self-care that DOES feel good but that most people never think about doing.