Self-care Don’t Care

Self-care is a fickle beast. I think we can all agree that this year has done a lot of damage to people, and many have started to cope with all the changes in positive and productive ways. Jobs that were thought to be most important didn’t break the world when they stopped. Workplace practices changed seemingly overnight, and are reinforced by months of caution and precaution. Those staying at home have dealt with boredom by cooking, hobbying, binging shows. Families have gotten closer, people have learned to appreciate what a privilege it is to go out for lunch, walk in a park, shop in malls.

My dad spent the first months of quarantine to bake cookies, make fudge, and make spaghetti from scratch. My mom is very into yoga now. My brother’s life hasn’t changed, and he’s just as glued to his gaming as he was before the quarantine. So many have let themselves sleep in, indulge in new cuisines, get back into old hobbies. People are being kinder to themselves.

But there’s a dark side to that. I’ve learned that personally. Sometimes something that seems like self-care is the farthest thing from that. Yes, I did sleep in, it’s not a huge deal. But then eventually you come to realize that you’ve been sleeping for like sixteen hours a day for the past month. Yes, I am catching up on things I had no time for before. But if asked, I would not be able to tell you what I watched, it was time spent staring at a screen with no motivation and engagement. Yes, I have been busy and organized and on task. I’ve been opening a lot of important things on the computer, I’ve been moving around the house getting documents organized, sending things that need to be sent. Well, yes, I’ve walked up and down the stairs and checked the bills, but like, I’ve done that yesterday too, and the day before that, and the day before that. At some point all of that has seized to be the act of being on track to get over this hellhole of a year and has become the very thing that is making everything worse.

At some point the idea of taking care can get out of control. And it’s important to acknowledge that. And it’s more important to stand back, take a look at all the kindness you’ve been allowing yourself, and see it for how cruel it can be. And then most of all, it’s important to adjust. Set an alarm, learn to focus your efforts, and recognize how to be kind to yourself again.

One comment

  1. Thank you for the reminder. I spent the first month in a fog figuring out how to protect my 81-yr-old mom. The 2nd month I think I remember sitting on my couch a lot and prior to stay in place I was actively going to gym 4 to 5 days a week to swim and workout and yoga. The 3rd month I down loaded a meditation app. This was tremendously encouraging. I also bought six months of Betterme (some online workout app)…and began to log my foods and try and work out 3 times a week. I’m still doing the food log. The 4th month I put a habit tracker back into my bullet journal and ordered my vitamins that I’d stopped taking…and took a longer route when I walked my dogs in the morning. The 5th month…I RESCUED a puppy that someone was unable to take care of. NOTE: Puppies will keep you young. Sugar bonded to my mom like there was no tomorrow and she only wants to hang out with me if I give treats or am going walking.

    My mom has laughed and giggled a ton since we got her. I love it. But she wasn’t potty trained yet and OMG I forgot what a pain.

    Wrapping up this saga, I’m figuring it out slowly. This month, which I think is month 8 for Stay In Place?? I scheduled a dental appt for the first time. It’s like doing laundry with bleach for the first time in a year. That clean freshness of dental cleaning. EVERYONE needs to get a dental cleaning. TYVM Great article Val.


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