This is a reminder that the external care does not equate or replace internal care.
Recently, I had one of the most difficult weeks I had ever experienced. Filled with deadlines, skipping meals just to hustle forward, lack of sleep, unconscious jaw clenching, and isolation. The extent of my unwinding included a glass of wine and conversations with my boyfriend about how I felt I was whirling. It subsided my anxiety a bit but it didn’t dispel it.
Once the weekend came I found some spark of joy in a new eye shadow palette, treated myself to a fancy non dairy cappuccino, painted my nails because I had some social plans lined up. Because, as I said to myself, “I deserve it.”
There was also brushing off the stressful build up from the week and continuing to move forward. We like to believe that we can out of sight, out of mind. Then the thoughts may creep up of you might find yourself over analyzing a situation, anticipation an outcome, etc.
My errors included the following: I believed it was okay to stress myself to the point of exhaustion and covering the burnout with Band-Aids. Reveling in small indulgences is okay but it’s not a therapeutic practice in regards to healing from stress or feeling emotionally empowered in the long run.
For some, it becomes habitual to push yourself to the limit. You can run on autopilot until you hit that burnout. In my case, when I felt the physical and emotional toll, I knew I had to stop being so damn hard on myself in a cyclical manner.
The way I view self love is the act of planting seeds within yourself – but truly taking care of them. Watering them, giving them necessary sunlight and attention. A lack of cultivating leads to collapsing their growth.
At times it is easier for us to think we deserve “our way” or that we should solely pamper ourselves. Perhaps our first instinct should be: “wait, I shouldn’t give away all of my energy, nor should I neglect myself when I need my-self the most.” This is easier said than done and not everyone’s circumstances are the same. Self-love means to put yourself first and recognize what is working for it and what isn’t. it’s prioritizing yourself, as well as treating yourself with care. It also means giving yourself a break and allowing room for (yes) mistakes but also growth.
As soon as I conclude this piece, I am going to treat myself with a warm shower and a warm cup of tea. I’ll follow that by queuing up a chill sleep playlist and then hitting the pillow. The most important part comes next. It’s the fact that I will not let any negative thoughts cycle through my mind. I will not tense my body or let myself get distracted. I’ll choose to be present in that moment and think: “today I did my best and that’s all I can do – and for now, I deserve rest.”