When you think of self-care, what comes to mind? Baths? Meditation? Spending $200 online for a serotonin boost? Honestly, same. But self-care isn’t all about spending money and face masks-the beauty kind anyway. It’s about investing time and energy back into oneself. Don’t get me wrong-I am all about buying things that make me happy, doing my skincare routine, and having a glass of wine. However, after a rough, anxious week, I had to do a little extra work on myself to start feeling ‘normal.’
I recently wrote a post about seasonal affective disorder and how typically this time of year is a big trigger for people who experience this. While this is normally the opposite for me, I have been having intense anxiety this week and depressive episodes; thoughts of worthlessness, feeling like I was stuck in a pit, not trusting my own judgment, the works. Though it was not the singular cause of it, it took me a couple of days to realize that something I have been struggling with as of late is my wavering self-confidence. This is something I have dealt with for most of my life and only started actively confronting this year:
Still, a few months of progress compared to 26 years of negative thinking doesn’t eliminate that barrier of discomfort for me. I believe in positive affirmations, but it feels unnatural to say them to myself. I don’t do the mirror exercises of power posing, finding five compliments to say to myself, or using Post-it notes. I simply just try to have a good day and hope I don’t fall down the rabbit hole of self-loathing. Like anything else, that eventually stops working and it did this week. I tend to forget that we have to treat our brains like muscles and mine was way overdue for some exercise.
Self-care for me this week meant allowing myself to unravel. I allowed myself to spend an entire day in bed doing nothing but napping and watching my favorite TV shows. I allowed myself to cry whenever I felt like crying instead of trying to suppress it. I allowed myself moments of complete silence and other moments of complete distraction through playing Animal Crossing, going on a date with my boyfriend, and texting with friends about Ariana Grande’s “Excuse Me, I Love You” premiere. Finally, I allowed myself to slack off at work and with YouTube. I can’t be my most productive self 365 days a year and I was certainly no good to anyone when I felt like I was completely and utterly drained both physically and emotionally. I had to let myself be present and let time do its thing.
As important as the release is, so is the recovery. I had to make do with my two-day weekend since my job doesn’t close for the holidays. I encouraged myself to go on a run because I know how impactful physical exercise is for my mind and body. I encouraged myself to eat even at my lowest moments when I didn’t want to. I encouraged myself to be off my phone so I didn’t start inflicting a pressure to be ‘on.’ I encouraged myself to clean the house and basically anything else that I knew I would be happier that I’d accomplished rather than putting it off only to increase my stress at a later date. Self-care is not all about aesthetics. It’s about remembering that you have to make yourself a priority.
That trust and belief in myself is slowly but surely rebuilding. The work is far from over, but I needed this reminder as I approach a long weekend off and enter the new year. What some bad habits y’all are trying to kick when it comes to the way you think about or talk to yourself? Let me know in the comments!