1.12.18

Can self care be bad for you?


During any time of healing you have to be extra nice to yourself. Of course you deserve another duvet day. Yes you can have another glass of wine. Why not buy that cute top if it makes you feel better? 
But I’ve started to wonder if too much self care can actually have the opposite effect. Can it be bad for you?

Recently I've been making the most of focussing on myself, embracing the yolo attitude and putting myself first in every way possible and I’ve come to realise there is a fine line between self care and self sabotage that is so easily crossed.
We endlessly promote self care as a way of loving ourselves, something I agree we should all do. But when the boundaries start to blur and you realise you’re actually just using it as an excuse to avoid doing anything productive, difficult or painful maybe it’s time to reassess things. 
Take all the time you need to feel better. Treat yourself. Be kind. But learn to recognise which actions are just masquerading themselves as being beneficial to you. 

I’ve started to question the selection of activities I choose to indulge in and label (rather dubiously) as ’self care’. 

What am I really gaining from spending hours in the bath of an evening, except avoiding doing something productive like planning my next project. 

How wholesome is it to be endlessly scrolling Tinder, chatting, dating and ‘wasting time’ with random boys when I could be spending actual quality time with myself. Being a complete human all on my own. 

How much good is all this wine doing me if at the end of it all I’m still sad and bored but now I have a headache? 

I’m just sayin, maybe eating hash browns for every meal just because I can isn’t really a way of caring for myself at all - unless my goal in life is to turn in to an actual potato. 

It gets to the point where you have to ask yourself, how much is all this legitimately helping? What am I gaining from this? Am I just using the idea of self care as an excuse for not actually caring too much about anything at all. 
Especially myself. 

This is where I realised - healthy self care needs to include some tough love too. 
 
Part of growing means you need to learn some hard lessons - and you can only do that with a bit of structure and discipline. If you gave a child free rein to do whatever they wanted they would eat sweets for breakfast and watch TV all day - and that’s the approach I’ve been taking towards self care. All in all, not great. 

So I’ve been making some changes. I've been challenging myself to do the difficult stuff, using self care as the reward and focussing on activities that nurture me. Ones that make me feel calm, creative,  respected, successful or allow me to be reflective. 

Obviously if you’ve realised that you, like me, are over indulging in too many negative forms of self care then I’m not advising beating yourself up about any of it. You’ve done what you needed to get where you are. I’m not even suggesting to avoid it altogether. We all need down time, a way of recharging and getting back to feeling more like ourselves, but maybe it’s time to do it in ways which are actually positive to our mental and physical health. Ultimately confronting the issues that are making us feel sad, stressed and more in need of all that faux self care will result in us all feeling more confident, successful and balanced.  

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