Does any of this sound familiar? You have so much to do, or a goal you’ve been working towards, but you find yourself straying towards negative habits to soothe yourself of exhaustion? Like clockwork, you drop your plans, drop your goals, drop your healthy eating or that important event you didn’t really want to go to but knew that being present for would advance your career, and you pour yourself some bubble bath, order a pizza, and Snapchat it all with the caption #selfcare.
We’re all guilty of indulgent #selfcare hashtags. But the dangerous thing here is that what has turned into pop culture self-care is actually self-destruction, because we’re crossing the line of treating ourselves to falling into traps that provide an outcome that is in fact, the opposite of this preached “self-care”.
Think about it: if you were really engaging in “self-care” rituals – would you actually be eating chocolate cake? No! Chocolate cake is absolutely terrible for you and provides no nutritional value whatsoever. Between sugar, fat, artificial ingredients and – let’s face it – more chocolate, you’re practically clogging your arteries and insides with unneeded chemicals and calories. If you were actually serious about self-care, you’d make the darn cake yourself, and think of wholesome ingredients to replace the deadly regular ones with. It isn’t even about a small factor such as weight – it’s about internal health, which is necessary for you to survive. Ergo, “self-care”.
What about ditching everyday essential responsibilities in favor of self-care? Let’s say you’re a freelancer with a huge deadline due in a few days, but you find yourself too cold and tired and hungry to come home from work and throw yourself into even more work. Trust me, I know how easy it is to pop yourself some popcorn, throw yourself on the couch and turn on Gilmore Girls just telling yourself “I had a hard day at work today! Self-care!” The problem is, that self-care is actually self-carelessness, because the purpose of extra work is to make and save more money, putting off your work heightens the risk of compromising its quality, which could disappoint your clients and prevent them from requesting more work from you. If you however, buckle down and do your work with a “slow and steady wins the race” mentality, respecting your looming deadline, you’ll avoid conflict in the long run and be able to present your clients with adequate work.
All of this preaching isn’t to school you, dear reader, towards the more practical ways of life. It is however, meant to encourage you to make better choices and to consider how overly spoiling yourself can affect you negatively in the long run. To avoid such errors, take a look at some positive Self-Care ideas that work for your wellbeing, rather than the temporary (yet extremely satisfying on the surface) options that end up working against you.
Massages in favor of bubble baths
Both are equally soothing, but a bubble bath is silly, and does nothing for the environment. A massage, however, has no way of negatively effecting the environment, and is actually a healthy alternative to exercise to get your blood running and flowing.
Leisurely walks rather than shopping
Walking is free, shopping isn’t. Both give a rush of accomplishment, but you’ll almost always experience buyer’s remorse, or you’ll spend too much and overly justify. Rather than clouding your judgment in crowded malls or online shopping platforms, clear your head and get some fresh air by walking outside.
Family time rather than solo Netflix and Chilling
Look, downtime is important – I’m not saying it isn’t. But if you live at home, spend time with your parents. They won’t be around for much longer, and you’re going to miss those precious moments once you move out and go your separate ways. While a solo Netflix binge is a nice thing to indulge in every now and then, it has a dangerous way of turning into an isolated habit, which will turn you socially awkward, and into a couch potato.
Cooking versus ordering out
We’re all tempted to say “screw it, I’m ordering a pizza”, but in my experience, teaching yourself how to make that pizza from scratch is far more rewarding. You know exactly what’s going in it, you end up eating less, and believe me, the process of creation is so fun!
Cleanses and detoxes
I just felt the need to put this in here because I always do them. They really do wonders for your soul! Might I recommend the Whole30 Challenge?
Socializing instead of staying in
This is a little controversial, because we’ve turned into a generation that’s proud to boast how much we hate going out. It’s not that bad, guys, and it reduces the FOMO factor. What’s more, is that when you go out and try new things and surround yourself with different people, you never know what opportunities may come from it. You could find yourself making a new best friend, finding your future partner, or even a new business venture! Not to say that you should never ditch going out in favor of staying in for some #selfcare, but don’t make a habit of it. Besides, if you absolutely hate the environment, you can always leave.
Those are just a few tips to start your 2018 self-care routines off on the right foot. Remember, we’re all fans of indulgence every now and then, even if it does mean making a cake out of a Betty Crocker box rather than crouching in front of google for an hour to find a vegan nondairy sugar free paleo alternative just to satisfy a craving. However, it doesn’t mean we should let it run, or ruin our lives, and we definitely shouldn’t slap on a #selfcare hashtag to justify what is purely irresponsible behavior. As human beings, we’re meant to be productive, not spoiled and lazy.
Happy New Year!
Featured image courtesy of Alisa Anton via UnSplash.