Updated: May 2, 2019
I need to be honest, especially with myself (which sometimes is the hardest) and talk about the struggle of self-care. Transparency is vulnerability, and here are wonderful quotes about the importance and beauty in vulnerability:
"It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity."
"I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure."
"If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it."
I'm currently reading Brown's book, Daring Greatly, which I highly recommend if you're interested in learning the effects of shame, and what it means to be vulnerable (hint: it's the opposite of weakness).
I blog about self-care; I'm constantly brainstorming self-care ideas, how to make self-care easier, and why it is important in the first place. However, I still struggle with the actual application of self-care in my own life.
"I'm too busy, I don't have time."
"Boring self-care can be done tomorrow."
"I'm too tired, stressed, depressed, or even too happy to need self-care right now."
I've found myself using all of these excuses, and it wasn't until I was forced (see: 7 Ways to Stay Effortlessly Genuine) to complete some boring self-care, that I was reminded of how much self-care truly affects my moods and behaviors.
Now this may not come as a surprise, but fun self-care is easier for me than boring self-care (lol duh). This means that it's easy for me to light a candle (pretty wildflower candle), take time to write in my journal, and play with my dog (Morty) when I need a pick-me-up. But- it's extremely hard for me to find the motivation to do my laundry so I'm not picking up clothes off my floor in the morning, do the dishes so my sink isn't gross and I can grab a clean dish when I need one, and call/schedule appointments I may need so I'm organized and prepared.
It's not that I don't want to do these things (I mean they don't sound super fun), but I just can't find the same motivation I have for other things (even other semi-boring things like homework, studying, or walking my dog when I'm tired).
My psychiatrist told me I'm being too hard on myself. She said, "But you do your homework, go to school, go to work, go to volunteering, run your blog, take care of your dog, and you aren't late to or missing our appointments." We had planned on taking baby steps, starting with an important concern of mine that I don't drink enough water. During the next week, I would focus on trying to drink more water.
I write lists every day. Despite writing as a form of self-care (see: 52 Mental Health Journal Prompts for Depression), I also write lists for everything, including daily to-do lists. I include laundry, dishes, etc. on each list, and never get to it.
I have the intention, but not the drive?
If you've had experience with depression you may recognize this pattern. Your energy is low and it's extremely hard to get yourself to do things- even things you want to do!
[Not every person experiences symptoms the same way, or even have the same symptoms. This is my experience, and I know it's a common one, but it's not the only symptom of depression. Check out the other signs & symptoms of depression.]
It gets really frustrating because I consider myself an ambitious and hard-working person.
Monday was different, however, because a package arrived at my house. I had ordered a new comforter that was on sale at Urban Outfitters, and it finally came. I was so excited (my old comforter was an impulse buy at the freaking dollar tree and it was an awful design and it felt like plastic), and in my excitement I decided since Morty had torn up his last bed, I could try to let him sleep on my old comforter. I gave it to him, and right on cue within 30 minutes he had chewed one of the corners open (secretly, I might add) and ripped out the stuffing. I took the old comforter out of his crate and decided I'd throw it in the trash later.
When I was heading to bed that night, I walked into my room and saw what I had been putting off for weeks. My sheets were washed and sitting on the floor, and I was sleeping on my mattress, with a plastic comforter on top of me each night (literally embarrassing, but again... vulnerability). That is the boring self-care I had been putting off because I couldn't get myself to do it. But what I could do was play with Morty, write for my blog, finish my homework, and start reading a new book.
So that night, I had to make a decision. Was I going to sleep on my mattress, with no comforter, again? Or was I finally going to put on my sheets and get out my new comforter? I knew if I put it off the first night I could have put it on, then I was just going to put it off forever. So I pushed past the drive I knew I wasn't going to magically produce and... I just did it I guess.
I went to bed almost giddy; I was sleeping in and on soft sheets, and I had a cool new comforter. The next morning, I cleaned out the front 2 seats of my car (if you know me, you know my car is just a mobile trash can /: lol). I still feel good about it while writing this, and I wanted to share this small success in my struggle with self-care.
If you've ever experienced anything similar, let me know in the comments below if you feel comfortable, and if not, you can contact me privately! Want to connect on social media? Head to the top or bottom of the site to find my social media icons! This post contains affiliate links! For more information, see my disclaimer.