Self Care is a Balancing Act Between Burnout and Over-Indulgence

“No one will come and save you. No one will come riding on a white horse and take all your worries away. You have to save yourself, little by little, day by day. Build yourself a home. Take care of your body. Find something to work on. Something that makes you excited, something you want to learn. Get yourself some books and learn them by heart. Get to know the author, where he grew up, what books he read himself. Take yourself out for dinner. Dress up for no one but you and simply feel nice. it’s a lovely feeling, to feel pretty. You don’t need anyone to confirm it.”   Charlotte Eriksson

1.From The Balance Bee: The Self-Care Struggle in Recovery:

Learning to slow down and engage in regular self-care can be a difficult part of eating disorder recovery.  It’s easy for those of us with perfectionistic mindsets to become hyper-focused on always being productive and accomplishing our goals. Our whole self-worth can become based on how efficient we are at meeting deadlines and crossing items off of our lists. When productivity is the primary focus, the practice of taking time to slow down and relax can fall by the wayside.  We start telling ourselves that taking time for self-care isn’t that important; we have other priorities that need to come first.  We tell ourselves that we have to accomplish X, Y, or Z before we “deserve” to take time to relax. An eating disorder just fuels this mindset even more, constantly telling us that we are lazy or not good enough if we aren’t getting enough done.

I hadn’t realized until recently how much my own self-care practice suffered throughout the depths of my eating disorder.  Friday night, I came home from a long day at work and decided to take some time to relax.   I sat down on the couch and turned on Netflix. I hadn’t even gotten 10 minutes into my show when my mind immediately starting jumping around.

“Why am I wasting time watching TV?”

“I should get on the floor and do some yoga or crunches while I watch!”

“Maybe I should get my computer and get some work done at the same time!”

I tried to remind myself that taking time to relax and watch TV doesn’t make me a bad or lazy person, but in the back of my mind remained this lingering cloud of guilt that I couldn’t seem to shake.  I realized that Friday night was the first time in months that I had allowed myself to sit down and watch a TV show without doing something else more “productive” at the same time. And it totally blew my mind how difficult it was.


2. From Mental Health @ Home: Finding Little Bits of Peace:

Self-care is about taking time to do things to take care of ourselves.  Sometimes self-care is a more active practice, but it’s also good to fit in some pure relaxation, and just be.  Here are some of the things I like to do to relax:

  • Massage: my massage therapist uses a weighted blanket sometimes, which is also very relaxing
  • Aromatherapy: lavender is one of my favourite calming scents
  • Tea: it’s nice to curl up with a good book, a blanket, and a cup of tea on a cool fall day
  • Bubble bath: unfortunately this hasn’t happened for me for a while because my guinea pig boy has taken over that corner of the bathroom
  • Snuggles with the guinea pigs
  • Napping: I seldom get much sleep when I lie down for a nap, but if I can I like to take 30-60 minutes out of my afternoon to lie in bed and just go blank
  • Baking cookies: I need the motivation to actually get started on this, but once I’m at it I shift into domestic peace mode
  • Reading my favourite books I’ve read a million times, or watching the movies I’ve seen a million times
  • The sound of water: things like fountains, streams, and the ocean, preferably in person but also from a digital source

3.From Getting High on Recovery: “Four Ways that “Self-Care” Will Sabotage Your Well Being“:

“It’s Time To Make Hard Work Cool Again: A Conversation With Mike Rowe”

We are in an age where self-care is cool and hard work, hard stuff is neither passionate, nor cool. Self-care is about setting boundaries that prioritize good health alongside time for employment, family relationships, “maintenance” of of our homes and possessions (which is another word for the ever-unpopular and uncool daily or weekly chores).

For me, self-care involves exercise, awareness of my emotional life and attention to what I am eating… (trust me, I avoid eating organic grass fed free range pampered beef/chicken/salmon/salads…). It means having an appointment in my calendar each week where my wife and I have coffee and talk about anything in our lives that is important. It means cleaning up my desk, my garage, my lawn and my side of the bedroom. Self-care also means having time for fun things like reading, time for a few of my hobbies and for my favorite self-care activity: unstructured lazy unproductive-time.

I will finish up my musing for today with another quote from Mike Rowe from Industry Insider. Work, Rowe, says is about finding a way to make yourself happy where ever you are. That advice points to one of the best forms of self-care that we can possess:

“Boredom is a choice. Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way they feel. But trust me, those people are mistaken.” Mike Rowe


Photo credit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s