Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm not very good at being an adult. Self-care is something I've really embraced the last few years, especially as I have come to terms with my mental health issues and have tried to live alongside them instead of letting them rule me. But lately, I've started wondering if I was just using that as an excuse to straight-up indulge myself. An entire bag of pita chips for dinner? Treat yo self. Staying up late one night to binge watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Treat yo self. Going to dinner and a movie when your credit card is about maxed out? Treat YO SELF.

This isn't to say that self-care is useless, but it's just that I've been going about it all wrong. To the casual onlooker, my eating habits would seem that of an unchaperoned child at a birthday party. I count "not laying on my mattress for 5 hours before I go to bed" as my current exercise routine. I reason that as long as I'm not sobbing somewhere in a grassy field at 10:43 at night after having an anxiety attack, I'm doing alright for myself. The worst part of it all is that these things that are supposed to make me feel better aren't really making a difference at all. I feel the same.

If anything, I feel better in that moment when, after a stressful and long day's work. I'm thinking that I'm going to do something for me "for a change." And that moment is brief y'all - like the time that we've had internet vs. the amount of time that this planet has sustained life, brief.

I'm realizing that some things I would qualify as "self-care" can really be unhealthy practices that I perpetuate - things that help me believe that I'm doing the right thing for myself. It's hard to be responsible all the time - sometimes I just want to let loose and forget about my troubles.
I'm starting to understand that a lot of self-care is what we should do to help ourselves in the long run, rather than what you want to do in that moment to make yourself happy. It means eating a freaking vegetable more that once a week, it means dragging your sorry butt out of bed to go for a walk in the out-of-doors every once in a while, it means being fiscally responsible and going to bed at a decent hour and being honest and brave when you'd rather hide and everything else.

And yeah baby-child, Tom and Donna would want you to take joy in ways that are special and specific to you. But it's also important to remember to take care of yourself as a human who has a body and mind, because it's the only one you get (unless reincarnation floats your boat). You've gotta be judicious about how you balance this, and I know it's difficult sometimes, but this sort of diligence is what might make all the difference.

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