My relationship with self-care

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I’m genuinely unsure what I want to write about right now. To be completely honest I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself from moment-to-moment. I’m sort of in a low-energy phase, and I’m not sure how long it’s going to last. In these phases I usually like to make excuses to myself to perform behaviours I know are unhealthy for me in the name of self-care. It’s not that these behaviours are unhealthy per se, and when done properly as part of self-care I imagine they’re incredibly helpful for a lot of people. The sort of things that I’m talking about are spending an entire day watching TV, or waking up later in the day and having a ‘lie in’ during the week, or eating a lot of rich take-away food (usually British-Chinese).

On the surface, these usually seem like sensible avenues of self-care; you eat some comfort food, or relax for an entire day watching TV instead of stressing about things. I understand that (or at least I think I do!). I guess what I’m saying is that I can often have a destructive relationship with these things, in that they often have a detrimental effect on other things that I want to do in my life at the moment. Having a low-energy day watching TV seems nice on the surface, but that activity rarely brings me the sort of visceral joy that I actually need to drag myself out of whatever rut it is I need to pull myself out of at the moment. I think, for me, what counts as true self-care is prioritising and performing activities or actions that genuinely bring me joy in their performance; or at least their accomplishment. Things that invigorate me. I guess the conclusion I can draw from this is that, previously, I thought of self-care activities as having a particular aesthetic – one that required me to be passive. I think, then, that self-care should be explicitly energising.

So, what then energises me? What is to be done? If I have a quick think there’s a few activities that come to mind wherein I feel genuinely brimming with energy afterwards:

  1. Strength Training, obviously. I will continue to sing its praises as a catalyst for growth.
  2. Waking up early and just doing something. Either reading or listening to audio. Strangely, staying in bed an extra hour or so doesn’t really energise me when it’s a habit.
  3. Building things I want to build. At the moment my ‘building things’ todo list is mostly software, but I’ve been putting it off for ages.
  4. Eating right. Although sometimes a bit of a chore, eating right is good for my body which gives me physical energy, and when it’s a habit I tend to feel really good about myself as well.
  5. Strenuous activity. Stuff like walking up mountains, or sailing. I suppose Strength Training could fit here as well, but it has its own ‘space’ in my life. I don’t do enough of these things at the moment. Although the immediate aftermath of the activity is always “Ooph I’m really tired and need a rest”, about a day or two later I’m raring to go and conquer whatever activity comes across my path.

So, yeah. I suppose there’s a self-care plan of sorts? I dunno, if nothing else then at least I’ve mapped what I’m missing at the moment :-P