In my recent post about self care, I talked about the dark side of self care and how it’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and face masks. How sometimes self care can be some of the hardest stuff you have to do.
The dark side of self care is when you’re pulling yourself out of a hole and making sure you’re doing what you need to survive. Using self care as a time to de-stress and relax is good and all, but self care really matters most when you’re at your worst.
So how will self care save your life?
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How Self Care Will Save Your Life
It seems like such a grandiose statement to make, but hear me out.
As I mentioned above, self care is most important when you need it the most. Self care is also hard and can be a struggle to do. When you’re at your lowest point, it can be hard to do much of anything, never mind making sure you’re fed, watered, and keeping up with basic hygiene.
Keeping yourself going in life is hard enough, but when you start to neglect yourself for other things, self care is really what is going to get you through it all.
Self Care When you’re at Your Worst
When you’re at your worst you need to make sure your self care game is on point. If you’ve reached a low like this, you’re most likely neglecting yourself. You may not even notice it.
When you think about hitting a low point like this, the first thought might jump to a depression-like slump. However it can be that you’re in a really stressful time in your life, and you’re not focusing on yourself. That’s the main point; whatever it is that you’re going through, you’re not putting yourself first. You’re putting something else in your life before your well being.
It’s possible you just went through a break up, you’re at a rough time in your career, or you’re gearing up for a promotion and you’re throwing yourself full force into your job.
Whatever it is, you’re in the most stressful time of your life, and with stress, it’s possible to neglect yourself or even lean towards not-healthy or even harmful coping mechanisms.
My bad coping mechanism was alcohol, and I’ve recently wrote about my journey with the struggles of alcoholism. Turning to alcohol to deal with anxiety, depression, and social situations ultimately lead to a rock bottom moment where I had to stop drinking or it would have completely taken over my life.
Self care when you’re at your worst is more about survival. One day you’re going to wake up and realize just how far off track you’ve gone, or someone you care about will notice just how exhausted you are. When this time comes, you’re going to have to do a quick run down of a few basic things. I go over them in the 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Having a Bad Day in more depth, but the gist of it is:
- When was the last time you ate?
- When was the last time you drank water?
- When was the last time you slept (for 8+hours!)?
- When was the last time you spoke to someone else?
- When was the last time you took care of your mental health?
- When was the last time you went outside?
- When was the last time you moved?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is “I don’t know” or isn’t within the last few hours or days, you need to put aside whatever it is you’re doing and put yourself first.
At it’s core, self care is caring about your self. You are the most important thing about your life. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you’re doing a severe disservice to your well being.
Some days may be harder than others. You may have to fight with yourself to go to sleep, and other days you may need to force yourself awake. You’re really going to have to dig deep inside yourself to make sure you’re doing okay. Whatever it is that you’re going through, remember to take care of yourself first.
Related: 8 Things to Do When Depression Hits
Self Care When You’re at Your Best
Self care when you’re at your best is the fluffy, sparkly, happy side of self care that you see all over Pinterest. It’s the kind of self care that’s putting on a face mask while you run a hot bath after a long day at work.
It’s going for a run at the gym instead of drinking at the bar when you’ve had a bad argument with your significant other. It’s indulging in a good meal when you need a comfort day.
When you’re at your best, anything else is extra. When you’re running on a full tank you don’t have to worry about whether you’re eating and drinking enough, or getting enough sleep. You’re already interacting with friends and co-workers and you at least take a walk during your lunch break at work.
So what you do for self care when you’re at your best is like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. It’s making sure you’re following your skin care routine instead of making sure you’ve taken a shower or washed your face today.
This is the fun part of self care that’s more about relaxation and moving forward than recovery and survival. Think about it as the happy ending to a story, or once you move past a trauma or bad situation. You’re no longer trying to get through all the ugly stuff, you’re finally able to see the light and make improvements to yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with self care when you’re at your best, but remember that self care is most important when you’re at your worst.
So how will self care save your life?
Self care will save your life when you make sure that you’ve eaten something, and if you’re lucky, that something is a balanced meal. Self care will save you when you make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep for the first time in a month because you’ve been having work issues and they keep you up at night. Self care will save you when you finally step outside after you’ve holed up in your apartment for weeks because you just had a bad breakup and you just can’t face the world.
It may not run into a burning building to save you from a roaring fire, but it will keep you alive when things get rough. It will also nurture you to make sure you’re doing well, even at your best.
What do you think about self care saving your life? Has self care ever saved you? Let me know in the comments below!