I’ve written quite a few articles now on wellness where I reference, directly or indirectly, act act of loving yourself. Self love, or self care, is really the cornerstone of wellbeing. Without caring about and loving ourselves, we will never truly feel whole or satisfied with life.
As with all things, a careful balance must be observed when engaging in self loving activities (get your mind out of the gutter). Depending on your current level of discipline, it can be far too easy to indulge in some unhealthy habits while claiming that you are actually trying to take care of yourself.
Food is always an easy example. In The “Mindful Eating” Diet, I discuss a well-balanced approach to eating healthy. As part of this “diet”, we are allowed to make allowances for cheat meals as long as we do not go overboard. Indulgence is when you realize you have used the DoorDash app every single day so far this week because you don’t feel like leaving the house. You then justify it by saying “I’m sad and just eating my feelings” or “I’ll just start over next week”. This is all hypothetical, of course.
This is not self love. This is indulgence. You are using your emotions and unwillingness to leave a comfort zone as excuses to behave badly.
Physical fitness, or rather lack thereof, is another area we may over indulge ourselves. “I went to the gym yesterday and I’m sore so I need a break”, “But I’m so cozy in my pajamas”, or “I’ll just go tomorrow” are not how we take care of ourselves. We are once again allowing what feels good in the moment to trump our overall health and wellbeing.
Procrastination, binge-watching, and retail therapy are other ways in which we may try to convince ourselves that we are practicing self-care.
Now, any of what was mentioned above is perfectly fine if it occurs every once in a while. It is when you find yourself making excuses on a more regular basis that you are actually creating a problem for yourself.
Taking breaks, spa days, a cheat meal, and cozying up to a good book or movie are all great ways to practice self care and love. However, we must remember that eating healthy, going to the gym, taking care of our finances, and doing the work we need to have the career and life of our dreams are also very important examples of self care and self love.
I didn’t feel like writing this article today, but made a commitment to myself to write at least one piece a week for this site. It came very close to becoming a night of binge watching The Boys on Amazon Prime, but instead I decided to keep the promise I made to myself (another great example of self love) and write something that was helpful to myself and hopefully to others.
We can do it. There are many times where it just feels easier to curl up under the blankets (especially now with the colder weather and less hours of sunlight coming) instead of doing something that is momentarily uncomfortable. But let’s try to remind ourself that the short term discomfort is what will yield great future results for us.
You’ve got this.