Are You Using ‘Self-Care’ as an Excuse?
The term self-care has become as ubiquitous and widespread as words like woke and intersectional feminist, and rightfully so, as it originated in political roots. There are now self-care newsletters, like Girls’ Night In, boasting a multitude of ways to stay at home and take care of oneself (glass of wine, good read, and a face mask, anyone?). TED talks cover topics such as emotional hygiene and being mindful. Celebrities are even vocal about the self-care methods that work for them: Lucy Hale took a trip to Arizona to hike and meditate, New Girl star Hannah Simone opened up to HelloGiggles on how she makes self-care feel less daunting, and Riverdale actress Camila Mendes shared her self-care routine with Byrdie.
As a workworkwork culture, self-care can act as a nice reprieve from the stress and anxiety of our daily lives. But what if we misuse or abuse this indulgent practice?
I can personally recount the times I spent binge-watching Gilmore Girls, lazily reading my favorite tomes, or taking long, luxurious naps…all under the guise of self-care. Instead of using these moments as a way to recharge and unwind, I alternatively decided to make the almighty Self-Care a shield to protect me from the projects I didn’t want to start—a form of procrastination that was deeply rooted in my fear of being inadequate.
Turns out, I’m not the only one who does this. When video chatting with one of my friends (who is currently abroad teaching English), she admitted to taking advantage of self-care. She shared that while she has become more mindful and in tune with manifesting the life she wants to lead (like snagging her dream job!), she still uses self-care as a way to procrastinate.
The looming voice in your head that eggs you on to stay complacent, tells you to put off important work, and reassures you that fear is the only way to live, is Ego. Let’s take a moment to be clear: Ego is not a part of who you are. I REPEAT: those feelings are not you. Are you afraid to start a project because you think you’ll fail? Do you clam up speaking to a group of people, thus putting off writing your speech? Would you rather eat a pint of ice cream than go for a run around the block? Those are all signs that Ego is trying to have its way with you. So if you’re just looking for a reason, anything, to put off getting that Really Important Thing done, don’t. Dive in with the confidence of a mediocre white man.
However, are you taking on more projects than you can handle? Do you put your friends and family before yourself? Do you have trouble sleeping and show cold-like symptoms? If you answered yes to one of those, you could be burned out, in which case you should take time to care for yourself. Everyone’s different, so you might consider squeezing in an hour at the gym self-care, while I could spend an afternoon eating cupcakes and reading books and call it the same thing.
As long as you follow your intuition, you can’t go wrong. And remember, breaking bad habits can take time so don’t worry if you slip up and procrastinate via self-care. You’re making progress and that’s what counts.