The Self-Care Conundrum

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So, working on a Sunday sucks.

I usually designate Sundays as my self-care day; it seems like the world slows down a little bit and there is less demanded of me.  So, being a self-care day, I can justify staying in bed past noon, keeping my pajamas on until 4 PM, and stuffing my face with Chinese takeout.  I mean, this is what it is to relax, right?  I can be indulgent because, fuck it, I earned the right to be.

Overindulgence as self-care has become a growing trend.  It starts as something inconsequential, like an expensive bath bomb, because taking a bath is a great way to carve out some alone time for yourself and relax.  Light some candles, put on some music, throw in a bath bomb and for the next hour, you can just be.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself nicely once in a while.  I’m a fan of the occasional bath, complete with aromatherapy oils and bubbles and soft music.  I mean, fuck it, I earned it!  I worked all day, I dealt with shitty people and a horrendous commute.  Why not treat myself to the finer things?

Well, at some point, we all go overboard.  We over-purchase and push through immediate buyers remorse because we bought things that supposedly make us feel better.  We overspend on a spa day because we need to unwind, sacrificing something necessary to make it happen.  Indulgence becomes gluttony very quickly, and in a short while, the things that used to make us feel good are just not enough.  We crave more and more and in doing so, the ability to obtain satisfaction is diminished.  And to what end?  When will we find that one thing that makes all of the stress melt away for the long-term?

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I was thinking about this as I washed my face just now.  I looked at my collection of face masks that I’ve accumulated, picked one out, and as I was applying it, I felt pretty silly having accumulated so different masks that do the same thing: provide me with the illusion of bettering myself.  I looked around and saw a $34 bottle of conditioner and a $10 bar of soap.  The day before I had wondered why I’m incapable of saving money and where all my hard earned money had gone.  In looking around, I noticed those hard earned dollars had been squandered on shit that did me absolutely no good in the long run.  For a few hours my skin was soft and my hair smelled pretty.  That’s about it.

I think the conversation revolving around needs to be changed.  Self-care shouldn’t be limited to the here and now.  The difference between self-indulgence and self-care is that self-indulgence is focused on instant gratification, while self-care is a bit delayed.

In a nutshell, self care asks the question “What can you do today that future you will thank you for?”

There is a future me.  I don’t exactly know what’ll happen to her or how she’ll feel, but maybe taking steps towards self-betterment now will have some positive effect later.  It might not feel the best now.  In fact, sometimes the best thing I can do for myself feels super shitty at the moment, almost like a punishment.  No one likes scheduling doctors appointments, or paying bills on time, or refilling prescriptions, or buying groceries.  I know that I don’t and do everything I can to put them off.  The thing is, doing these things improves the quality of life.  Buying groceries now means I don’t blow a ton of money on take-out later and hate myself once I feel bloated.  Paying this bill now means that I maintain my credit, which will make finding a new apartment later much easier.  Refilling my prescriptions now means I won’t run the risk of running out of medication.  Hell, even taking my medication as prescribed now means that my season depression might now be really crappy come November.

I’m not saying that self-indulgence is without merit.  I like cheesecake.  I like pedicures.  But I like feeling less burdened even more.  It’s all about balance, right?

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Author: Leila

Just another case of arrested development.

2 thoughts on “The Self-Care Conundrum”

  1. I took the day off from life yesterday so I could read. I love reading and I haven’t had more than five minutes on any given day to do something I like so I made the time yesterday. And the earth did not end. I didn’t spend a penny. I felt better about being able to finish that novel. You don’t have to over indulge or over spend too practice self care. Isn’t that a good thing to discover?!

    Liked by 1 person

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