I used to think the whole self-care thing was just another excuse. A form of procrastination. Being disciplined isn’t flaking off all the time to self indulge. And I was, foolishly, one of those diehards who believed that the tough never took breaks. Maybe you went to bed earlier one night. That was about it. Stop whining.
But now I’m in the process of moving, and that’s a job in itself. This entails not only a move but coordinating a lot of other events and people. I have a work schedule that’s been hectic for a couple of years. I’m getting the feeling I’m spinning plates and I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care.
Days fly by and there aren’t enough hours to do everything that needs to get done. I could feel I was spreading myself too thin and I knew I had to find away of not running out of energy and making it to the finish line. That’s when I began pacing myself and doing something to counterbalance all the work. Something for me, to rest and recharge. Out of necessity, I had wandered into self-care land. And it wasn’t to indulge, it was to avoid burning out.
Self-Care Isn’t Weakness
Before, self-care land and Care Bears land was pretty much the same to me. It was softie-land where people listened to themselves way too much and spent their time indulging. But self-care, I learned, is about pacing yourself. It’s knowing when to take a break and do something physically and mentally replenishing. It’s avoiding self-neglect that comes in the form of lack of sleep, skipping meals, isolating yourself because you don’t have time to talk to friends or family.
Self-care isn’t about putting things off or sidestepping responsibilities. In fact, it’s about managing yourself to make sure you meet those responsibilities and reach your goal. It’s a tool in order to make sure you get to the end of your journey.
What To Do
Self-care can take on many forms. It’s ‘me time’; whatever that looks like to you. Taking a walk, watching a movie, going out with friends. It means being careful and considerate with yourself. And part of that is not guilting yourself. Not feeling bad because you are not productive every single second of every day. Not putting pressure on yourself.
I found myself at the beginning of my move going in circles and getting overwhelmed. Then I started implementing some self-care. I only do so much in a day. I don’t rush. Rushing doesn’t work for me. I usually wind up making a mess or hurting myself. It also means doing things to counterbalance for all the extra work. Things like a hot bath with Epsom salts, getting enough sleep, making sure I continue to eat balanced meals and, of course, exercise. I also take time to talk with close friends.
On a more serious note. Fatigue and isolation can quickly morph into depression and that can lead to suicidal thoughts. If you feel this is you, if you’re sad, discouraged or irritable, talk to someone. Make an appointment with a health care professional: your doctor, a therapist. If you’re really on the edge, if you have a plan to end your life, if you know how you’re going to do it, get to a hospital or call 9-1-1 now and tell them exactly that. They’ll know what to do. Be well.
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