Self-care is more than a trending topic with moms these days. It has become a war cry of sorts. Making time for your self is critical—we can ALL agree on that. But, there’s a difference in how you feel when you’re engaged in escapism versus nurturing yourself through self-care.
How you’re spending your free time can make the difference between feeling rejuvenated and feeling let down.
It’s important to determine whether you are numbing yourself from the discomforts of your life, or doing things that help you live your best life.
Escape? Yes, Please!
I’ll be the first to admit that I have days where all I want to do is lock myself in my bedroom, binge garbage TV, and drink an entire bottle of wine (both, undoubtedly deserved). But, that’s not really taking care of myself.
Why? Well, because after returning from a Netflix coma, you still feel like shit…maybe even worse. Plus, all the stress, anxiety, frustration, or whatever else you’re fleeing will be there waiting with open arms upon your return.
Escaping from the craziness of your world may seem like the ideal solution, but if it’s your go-to pick for me-time it’ll probably backfire on you.
Escaping from your life instead of planning and living the life you really want won’t bring you lasting happiness.
Living Your Best Life
Sometimes self-care DOES mean relaxing in a bathtub with a nice glass of wine, for SURE.
But, as much as it pains me to admit it, you also have to dedicate SOME of your me-time to nurturing the great many other facets of your life. Because if it’s all wine and Netflix, then you’re likely not making time for things that fill your life with purpose, friendship, connection, and joy.
In a brilliant post, Practice Your Self-Care with Mindfulness, Lisa Marie Blair suggests that we use “self-care as a safe place to be mindful of what isn’t working, what isn’t fulfilling, and what is hurting.”
Bottom line, it’s important to nurture your life and to use your free time to ask some tough questions, get some clarity, and put in some effort into YOUR OWN WELLBEING.
Part of self-care is being thoughtful or mindful about the life you have and creating the life you want.
Mindful Self-Care Practices
Okay, so if binging Hollywood Medium isn’t self-care, what is?
Personally, it’s about balancing the things that I really like and the things I really need to make me feel better. I look forward to my daily meditation as much as I do my glass of wine. If anything gets in the way of either of those things, then I may cut you.
I see a therapist when I really need to dump truck the stock pile of emotions I tend to hold on to longer than I should. It’s beyond cathartic. I also have a journal that I use as a surrogate therapist. Sometimes putting the craziness down on paper is just as beneficial psychologically as going to a session.
Getting outside is critical for me. I definitely don’t always look forward to this, but 99.9% of the time I walk away feeling good about life.
Quality time with friends. Oh, I wish I had more of this one. This is the hardest one for me to do regularly, but when it does come to fruition—I feel more like myself. Maybe it’s the validation, the camaraderie, or just being around people who love the WHOLE you. Better than Prozac.
There are no “rules” about this. But, Melody Wilding, the acclaimed performance coach, suggests you should ask yourself whether the practice is going to “sustain (instead of) drain you.” If so, then it’s likely a keeper. If not, then you may want to cut down on how much time you’re dedicating to it. Here’s a great place to start for getting a handle on what self-care practices may work for you to help you live your best life.
What’s Working & What’s Not?
To be clear: I am pro-binging TV. Some of my favorite past times are snuggled up with my husband working our way through Game of Thrones and House of Cards. As much as I love those times, and look forward to our next session, I also know how critical it is for ME to make time to do things that make me feel like I’m living the life I want instead of just trying to avoid it.
Sometimes it is necessary to mindfully evaluate what’s working and what’s not working in our lives. To me, this is THE BEST form of self-care.
So, go get that bath, but maybe finally start that meditation practice, too. Or, you could start journaling about the ups and downs of your week (but feel free to pour a FAT glass of wine before hand).
If you take the time to check in with yourself, then you’ll be better able to stay in tune with who you are, what you want, and what you need to live YOUR best life.