Don’t treat yourself; take care of your self!

Giving yourself a treat and really taking care of yourself are two different things.  I find that when I start looking for treats, what is really happening is that I am neglecting my needs for more meaningful care and renewal.

The past week or two have been a great example.  We lived for a week with the contents of our attic in piles around our livingroom, infusing our normally peaceful space with chaos.  Saturday was a busy day with the yard sale and then figuring out what to do with things that were left over.  Sunday my allergies hit me hard, and I got to bed at 7 PM after feeling terrible all day.  Had a very busy week, and some additional stressors that don’t typically happen during the week.  By last night, I was on edge, and ended up with a massive, torturous migraine.  My body was saying, “You need to stop and take care of yourself.”

Treating yourself is worlds easier than taking care of yourself.  But it’s like taking an aspirin while sitting on a thumbtack.  You might think it’s helping, but that thumbtack is still there.

What if…

Instead of treating myself to another piece of flourless chocolate cake…
…I took care of myself by preparing a healthy, nutritious lunch and eating it, at a table, with a napkin and fork and actual glass of water (not my Camelback water bottle for once).

Instead of buying myself flowers…
…I walked in the woods every day and spent real time in living nature.

Instead of going to the movies to escape with mindless entertainment…
…I learned to quiet my mind with meditation or yoga.

Instead of spending a lot on dinner out…
…I made meal preparation a fun family event.

Instead of taking a break at work by checking my personal email, Twitter, Facebook, or news headlines…
…I took a break by walking outside and sitting under a tree.

Instead of walking to the coffee shop when I need a pick-me-up in the late morning…
…I walked outside and did five minutes of Tai Chi in the grass.

I do believe that to change ourselves, we must take small steps at a time.  I hope to make my next step a meaningful one – one that is on the level of self-care, and not just a passing treat to make me forget my discomfort for a short time.  Won’t you join me?


One response to “Don’t treat yourself; take care of your self!

  1. Great ideas! I’d never thought about it, but I usually want a “treat” when I feel stressed. It’s so much easier (in the short run) than to figure out a more long-lasting good way to take care of yourself. Especially when you’re very busy with a job, a family, and home to help manage – you have to make the taking care a part of your routine, because at a particularly stressful time, you’ll think of the treat instead of the care.


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