I need to voice my opinion on the misconceptions of self-care and how many people think it’s just about treatin’ yo’self. It is SO much more than that!
I came across an article on a very popular website that I will not name (I’m not tryin’ to get sued) that really pissed me off.
The article was accompanied by an equally aggravating video. The premise of the article is that self-care is not enough to fix or avoid burnout. The article also mentioned that a bubble bath will not cure the underlying anxiety of motherhood.
Why was I so riled up?
Because it’s misinformation. Pretty harsh, I know. Do I think that this was deliberate…absolutely not.
But this article really let me down.
Self-care has been deduced to bubble baths and face masks. That is not the case.
I really don’t want to do what I’m about to do but here it goes.
The oxford dictionary definition of self-care is:
- the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
- the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Self-care is paying attention to all aspects of your life. It is hard work but it’s worth it.
It’s taking a deep dive into everything that affects your mental body. What we see on the surface is manifesting from neglectand LACK of self-care.
Society has already told us the kind of mother that we should be; too attached and you’re damaging your child; fast and loose with the rules, you’re bound to have a rotten kid. So any feelings that come up when you feel like a failure, or feel ashamed, or feel lost, or feel trapped have to be shoved down because it’s “wrong”.
And we’re just accepting it. Taking it as the only option. Waiting for something or someone out there to change it up so we can feel better about ourselves.
Now, just like how I was catching feelings for that article, the same might be happening to you right now with this post. Stay with me, it’s worth it.
Because I’m going to take you to an uncomfortable place within yourself, delve into the neglected parts of YOU and bring them to the surface. THAT is self-care.
Here is an example of practical self-care in 3 steps:
Step 1: Question everything, even your own thoughts, feelings and opinions. Just because you think it, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
Step 2: Make connections – how are your feelings, thoughts and opinions causing you to act?
Step 3: Heal – make peace with your old belief and replace it with a new one.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address my own discomfort and the REAL reason why I was so outraged with this article. Here’s a play by play of how I applied the 3 steps to recover:
- Yara reads article and is outraged!
- Yara struggles with her emotions rising as she continues to feel the outrage post-article
- Yara doesn’t like this feeling stirring inside and begins to turn her attention inwards
Step 1: Question my feelings, thoughts and opinions
What is causing this outrage?
The article provided no solutions, the moms who will read this will feel stuck
Why am I concerned about other moms feeling stuck?
Because I’ve been there, and it made me feel lonely
Step 2: Make Connections – Recall that experience where you felt stuck.
I remember feeling stuck, physically and emotionally. Pregnant with my third child, 2 toddlers running around. Diagnosed with SPD, that pregnancy condition where you feel like you’re going to split in half, and I eventually had to use a cane to get around.
My husband had to help me up the stairs, get off the couch, get in and out of the tub, put my clothes on. I couldn’t lift my young kids and was constantly aggravated from being in pain ALL the time. I felt like I wanted to leave, just go somewhere, escape. I felt trapped because I felt like I had no options. STUCK.
I felt hurt because this article was actually SPEAKING to me. It took me back to a time when I felt guilty for wanting to leave and escape the current reality. I didn’t want moms who are going through the same thing to get discouraged and upset, left with no options.
Step 3: Heal – Replace your old beliefs with new ones
I am a bad mom because I wanted to escape → I am a strong woman because I stayed!
This was 5-7 minutes in a bubble bath.
The same amount of time it takes for my leave-in conditioner to soak in. Self-care at it’s finest.
My call to action for you is to take care of yourself, ALL parts of yourself. Show up for yourself and do the inner work. Sometimes, it can be hard doing this deep work on our own so asking for help is crucial. Take the time to heal, mentally, emotionally, physically, always!
While I still believe that the article does a disservice to the importance of REAL self-care; I went back and reread it with fresh eyes. I found things that I related to and some that didn’t. I no longer had the same intense emotions after digging in and addressing the part of me that felt guilt and shame.
Shine your light on your shadows and grow!