This is What The Truth Looks Like: I Suck at Self-Care

According to a Google search (because of course I had to Google what exactly self-care is):

Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self-care is a challenge for many people and it can be especially challenging for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse. It can also be an important part of the healing process.

Intentional actions I take to care for my physical, mental and emotional health? *Crickets chirping*

I’ve realized lately with everything I’ve gone through in the past 2 years, between a divorce, selling a house, buying a condo and moving and then very serious job insecurity, I have put myself last. Being a single parent and desperately wanting to help my daughter cope with her parents being apart has meant weekly child psych appointments that involve an hour and a half of driving on top of the daily grind of wake up/do breakfast/make lunches/do drop off/work all day/do pick up/do dinner/do shower time/do bedtime. Throw into the mix that I’ve been sick a lot this year and let’s just say I’m almost running on empty.

I highly value giving back to those around me, lifting other people up and making sure people are cared for and loved. Like, that’s the entire focus of my life. I really thought, until recently, that I had the ability to give endlessly. That no matter what I was going through in my life, I’d never lose my ability to do special things for people, to think up random acts of kindness, to check in on friends and family from time-to-time so I would always know what’s going on in their lives. It’s been a tough lesson to learn that I can burn out. That I’m shit about self-care. That my reserves are gone.

I don’t even know what self-care looks like. It feels indulgent to me (although I would never in a million years think other people’s self-care is an act of indulgence, apparently I only apply this attitude to myself). Honestly, I’d rather not have any needs. I’d prefer to just keep giving and giving and giving because that’s my comfort zone and that’s what I like to do. I truly love sending cards to people in the mail, occasionally paying for the person in line behind me at the coffee shop and being there for people in my life. Why do I  have to accept that need to think about myself too? I don’t want to think about myself. I want to live my life in service to others.

But I’m finding that the whole ‘you have to put your life jacket on before you can help other people’ thing might actually be true. But I don’t know what that looks like for me. For as long as I can remember I’ve stuffed down any feelings of need with overeating. Finding actual healthy outlets that make me feel rejuvenated and refreshed so that I can continue to give myself to others feels like a daunting task. But I need to start down this path, as uncomfortable as it may be, so that I can get back to feeling like myself again.


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