Photo credit: Jakob Owens
This may sound like an asinine question and completely counterintuitive to the practice of self-care, but it’s a real truth that’s pervasive with today’s self-care practices.
As you know from my posts, I’m very active. I enjoy weightlifting and as of last year, I began running. Those are my self-care activities.
I realized firsthand that my self-care outlook had gone amiss. When I was really busy with work, other responsibilities and didn’t have time for working out, I became agitated with myself. I was annoyed by not accomplishing my self-care goals for that day. The less time I had to dedicate to self-care, the more my agitation grew.
I felt stressed, anxious, and guilty. I engaged in negative self-talk. Mind you, I’m a firm believer in what you tell your mind, you become. At that point, I had to evaluate why I was being so self-critical.
After doing some research, you know I love my research, I found that self-care in this day-and-age can lead to stress, anxiety, and guilt. Yes, yes, and yes. I was a goner.
For starters, self-care is not something to check off of a ‘To-Do’ list. Self-care isn’t a chore. Self-care is something that you look forward to doing. I enjoy working out. It’s very cathartic. I allowed my type-A personality reduce it to a chore to check-off.
Secondly, in our social media age, practically everything is documented in a perfectly staged photo. When I saw others getting in a serious workout, but I wasn’t working out to my full capacity, it drove me to self-criticism.
Self-care is not a social media moment. Self-care is about me – loving myself and connecting with my inner-self.
Also, technology is not necessary to experience self-care. In actuality, technology can pose a potential threat to self-care. Let’s look at wearable devices and fitness apps. They monitor everything you do. When you don’t accomplish your ten thousand steps or burn X amount of calories, you feel guilty for not accomplishing your goals and engage in negative self-talk.
Whoa Nelly! This had my name written all over it. When I didn’t do my written workout verbatim, I discounted the other exercise I did accomplish. Boy, did I find out how counterproductive that is to self-care.
My solution? Get off the grid. I stopped monitoring my run statistics on my running app. I also ditched my pre-planned exercises and went freestyle. I still performed exercises for targeted areas of my body, but I performed the exercises I felt like doing that session.
I also added a new component to my self-care. I began listening to wellness podcasts. I find them soothing. Listening to wellness podcasts allows me to release the pressure valve I place on my self-care.
Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room. Self-care is a hot industry right now. Self-care is an $11 billion industry. Bottom-line, a lot of the commercial self-care market is about capitalism. It’s not about mindful, conscious practice. It’s about the Benjamins. Or as Cardi B sings, “Yo quiero, yo quiero dinero. Yo quiero, yo quiero dinero. I just want the green, want the money, want the cash flow.”
In my discovery, I realize that self-care is how you define it for yourself. It’s about showing up for you.
If you can relate to my story, I suggest one thing. Find out what it takes to soothe yourself and give you freedom from your worries. That, my friend, is true self-care.