If I could go back to my 20 year old self, I’d tell her three truths about self-care.
I misplaced so much of my energy when it came to my wellness. I had a ridiculous idea in my head about what “healthy” looked like. I set unrealistic goals, put loads of pressure on myself, and beat myself up when I found myself in the same old mess I started in. The backfire from this was to avoid any sort of challenging self-care at all, and dove head-first into lots of unhealthily coping devices that made me temporarily feel "good".
But after working in the wellness field for more than 11 years, and practicing personal development for nearly as long, I’ve learned a few truths that are total self-care game changers.
1. Self-care is only hard until you accept that it’s hard.
One of the reasons we suffer so greatly is because many of us refuse to accept our feelings.
We’ll chase happiness in all sorts of ways, drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, media binging, gambling, etc. And sometimes we’ll go about finding happiness in “healthier” ways, too (exercise, hobbies). But honestly, we’re only tapping out of reality for a minute while we temporarily distract ourselves from our BS. Until we face the things that are troubling us, our problems will stay lurking in the background waiting for us when we put down our feel-good devices. And the long we ignore them, the strong they grow.
And there lies the vicious cycle of ever-growing problems despite how many ways we try to escape them.
This theory applies to the challenges that come with practicing self-care.
Creating new healthy routines, or ditching the shit that’s no longer serving you is SO FLIPPING HARD.
But once you accept that it IS hard, oddly enough, it actually get’s easier. Embracing challenges and surrendering to those uncomfortable feelings will create less mental resistance.
You’ve gotta change your mindset and tell yourself: Dude, this is hard, but I can do this.
2. Self-care isn’t so personal
Wait a hot minute… How can self-care not be personal?
So glad you asked.
Since self-care is literally the actions one takes to maintain homeostasis (the body’s main objective; general wellbeing and balance), it’s more about science and less about ego.
Humans have a tendency to let their feelings hold them back from working towards their self-care goals. We find reasons to avoid putting in the effort, believing we’re too busy, undeserving, haven’t “earned” it, resentful towards it, scared, whatever. The reality is, that’s just the subconscious making up lots of nonsense in its attempt to keep you in your comfort zone.
The subconscious brain likes for your life to be predictable. It likes routine…even if it’s unhealthy. So, any time we challenge that routine, or our thoughts, the subconscious puts up a bit of a fuss.
The trick to overcoming these hurdles is understanding the science behind behaviors.
You’re like a computer with feelings. You’ve been conditioned to go about your life a certain way. When you try to add or omit habits or thoughts, it’s awkward, challenging, and sometimes impossible feeling. That’s just because you’re working against your algorithm (thanks, subconscious). But just like a computer, you can be reprogrammed.
You can create new routines by setting smaller, achievable goals, by being realistic about the time it takes to create change, and by calling on the power of your CONSCIOUS brain.
The conscious brain is the part that has the final word. It’s the part that thinks rationally, creatively, and makes decisions. Now, the subconscious will always come around, and try to convince you that your new habits are a bad idea (#selfdoubt), but that’s horse shit. Yes, change is uncomfortable, BUT, it’s totally doable.
Whatever unhelpful silliness you’re telling yourself, don’t listen. That’s not you, it’s just the science of your subconscious. Drop the ego, use your intelligent decision-making conscious brain, and choose what’s best for you.
I promise, over time, your algorithm will change and your new habits will feel more natural.
3. Self-care is NOT selfish
A human being does NOT have infinite resources.
The average human, at rest, produces about 100 watts of energy a day. This is the equivalent of roughly 2,000 calories. This energy is being used to perform basic bodily functions like pumping your heart, breathing, and managing your unrelenting surveillance camera...the brain.
The brain actually eats up the most energy because it does All. The. Things.
The brain is like a power plant that supplies actual, literal electricity throughout your body. It's the reason you're able to engage in the physical act of reading these words. But its energy expenditure goes well beyond mechanical function. While the brain is physically controlling the muscles that move your eyes, it's also making sense of the words that you’re reading.
We're constantly taking in information through our sensory organs. Everything we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and feel (like, in the gut and heart) has to be processed through the brain. And because humans are complicated organisms, how we interpret this information isn't always cut and dry.
Anyway, in order to be a high-functioning human being who has a healthy mind and body (hello, homeostasis), we have to create balance within our lives. Self-care is so much more than diet and exercise, and it isn't spa treatments and bubble baths. It's a collection of actions that vary from day to day that support immunity, vitality, and emotional wellbeing.
And there's nothing selfish about offering the world the best version of yourself.
If you’d like more helpful self-care tips, you can sign up for my weekly Newsletter, and receive my FREE Mindset Makeover Kit.
And if you really want to dial up your self-care game, check out my Quick Guide to Identifying and Tending to Your Self-Care Needs instant download.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
Thank you so much for being here.
I’ll see you soon.
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