Back in 2015, I was in the worst health mentally and physically. It was shocking to have such problems at the age of 30. Although I had a condition I could not help and was probably genetic, I had spent years not taking care of myself. This means letting stress get to me, not listening to warning signs, putting a lot of garbage in my body, and other unhealthy habits. With my health wake up call, I began focusing on the things that would improve my overall health. This was my beginning of understanding the difference between self-care versus self-indulgence.
But Mandy, What Do Those Words Even Mean?
I never thought of these words before my 30s. Everything to me was just ‘surviving’ or ‘thriving.’ The term self-care has made a resurgence lately, and I have been seeing it all over the place. (Or that could just be the algorithm on my Pinterest account!) Self-care means to do the things that keep you an overall healthy and happy person. While self-indulgence is the result of going overboard with things that make you feel good for the moment. In some cases, self-indulgence is the result of overdoing the self-care. Also, some people’s version of self-care is someone else’s self-indulgence.
Most of us, especially women, spend a lot of time taking care of business with family, work, and kids. The cycle continues until one day something stops the cycle for us. Whether it is sickness, bangs, or an existential crisis. Rachel Hollis spoke about this topic in her book Girl Wash Your Face. She recounted her experience with bell’s palsy and how the stress in her life triggers episodes. So isn’t it better to evaluate and take measures to help yourself first? Also take into consideration that you cannot help the people in your family if you are not operating at your best.
Here Are Some Examples of Self-Care
Making an effort to get 8 hours of sleep a night.
-Whether it is by going to bed early or creating a night time routine.
Enjoying a cup of coffee while reading or having some contemplative time.
-It is alright to sit alone with your thoughts or think about something that interests you.
Spend the money to replace your 3 year old bras.
-If it is something you need, fork out the cash!
The Pitfalls of Self-Indulgence
If I was on the show, My Strange Addiction, it would be for my love of Asian dramas. It all started with Meteor Garden on Netflix last year. (Thanks Teacher Lauren!) Since then, I have binge watched close to 10 of them. The thing with the dramas, is that there can be 40 plus episodes a season! So I love sitting on the couch, and watching these shows ridiculous plots, subtitles, and all. With working over a 50 hour work week, where does this become self-indulgence? I pretty much tell myself that if I do not do anything that day, I am being a little ridiculous. However, I feel like a champ if I watch two episodes then take a walk.
If it is something you are spending too much time, money, or energy on then it probably is an indulgence. When anything is taken in excess it can have a negative effect on us and even get in the way of self-care.
Here Are Some Examples of Self-Indulgence
Constantly sleeping late.
-Getting up a little earlier with a small routine or ritual can really get your day started right!
Pounding down sodas and over consuming social media.
-Both are really bad for us!
Shopping to make you feel better or put a band aid on a bad day.
-Any other unhealthy habit can go into this like needing a drink or eating a tub of ice cream.
Defining Self-Care for Yourself
Take a moment to contemplate your basic needs and then think of your personality type. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Your answer will depend on whether that glass of wine at happy hour is self-care or not. Write a list of ideas to get started with self-care or steal one from online. If you still feel in doubt or confused, do not feel scared to find a mental health professional or close friend to discuss this further.
How do you practice self-care? What self-indulgence do you love, but try to avoid?
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