Self indulgence vs self care

Every once in a while, the universe reminds me that self indulgence is not the same thing as self care. Or, maybe what I mean is that self indulgence is only part of the bigger picture of self care. But, you can't self care just by being self indulgent. You need other things to self care (in addition to some self indulgence).

Okay, if your head is swimming after that paragraph, then you know exactly how I've been feeling for at least a week.

Here's how it started.

This thought: I should be taking better care of myself. Eat well. Work out. Be retrospective. Mostly, I need to work out. Working out is the secret to handling frustration and anger for me.

Second thought: How can I take better care of myself. I already spend every spare minute doing what I want to do.

And, that's where I sat for several months.

Yes, I was spending every spare minute being self indulgent. But, I was sewing or knitting, or crocheting. Not walking. Not doing yoga. Not getting any exercise. I had become three dimensional. Family. Crafting. Work. (I gladly insert "In that order".)

Here's the story. I had put all my self care eggs in one basket. I was walking every day. And subsequent to that, dieting and meditating and recharging. Over time, something happened to my feet. The more I walked, the more they hurt. And, not just during my morning walks. The more I walked in the morning, the harder it was to get out of my office chair and walk during the day. Heaven forbid that I do anything barefoot because if I stand too long without shoes, my feet will hurt for three days.

Yes, I have to take that to the doctor. And yes, even taking it to the doctor is an example of self care. And, no I haven't done it yet, even though my feet have been bothering me for over a year. I thought that if I rested, things would get better. And, it was true. They did get better. As long as I wear shoes and don't walk a whole lot. I let my sore feet separate me from a whole lot of my self care.

But, I was self indulgent as all get out. I made quilts, I made afghans, I made a roman shade, I painted part of the kitchen, I made socks and a wool coat. You name it. If I could use it to indulge myself in my favorite passtimes, I did it.

Now, a bit of that was stressful self indulgence over that mouth surgery I had and a whole lot of it was stressful self indulgence about work. And, everybody knows that having a 13 year old in the house is stressful.

But, a whole lot of it was letting self indulgence trump self care.

I guess this post is just to reaffirm that I also need self care. And, the first step of any journey is always the hardest...especially if you're trying to get back on a horse you recently fell off of. (how's that for mixing metaphors?) Yesterday and today, I had a nice preliminary yoga workout. Just some stretching and some balance work. No program or structure. Just stretch a muscle, use a muscle, free form work. With a bit of soft jazz in the background and a 5 minute meditation at the end.

But, it has done wonders for my mental well being. Just knowing that I'm doing something...anything...to take care of me. Not to indulge me, but to take care of me. It will rarely be what I want to do. I'd rather be crafting. But it is what I need to do. And, over time, it will become what I enjoy doing again.

But for today, I'm sore. In a good way. And, I'm sooo relaxed. Yes, I took some time to indulge in some sewing this morning. But I also took some time to take care of me.

Now, you take care of you, however you do that best.

Have a great Tuesday. Lane


Glenn Dragone said...

I agree 100%.

I was 2 dimensional. Working and quilting. Recently, I began to swim again every morning. It's made a world of difference. I can force better and I feel better about myself for the day as well.

Yoga is wonderful.. stick with it!

Andra Gayle said...

I could be the one talking here. I worry about work, I eat, I sew, and that's about it since our family vacation ended a few weeks ago. The love I had for health and exercise before I had kids, has been gone and, though I try, it has not returned.

Shevvy said...

Great post. I never self care, just indulge. Thats why I have let myself get so fat and unfit.

Even my half hearted attempts at changing things earlier in the year fizzzled out when I could blame work for taking up all my time.

When I'm back home, it is back on to the program and try for some self care.

LynCC said...

Isn't yoga wonderful? I really love it. It helps my back feel much better.

Pauline said...

Very insightful! The old adage is true. "If you don't take care of your body, you inflict its care on someone else."
A kid who drives crazy, has an accident and becomes paralyzed has forced his/her care on the parents. Same with a teen who gets pregnant, the parents are forced to care for them. The father of the "occto mom" has had to put off his plans to retire and continues to work to help support her brood. We need to think about how our choices affect others.

birdmommy said...

Thank you for the reminder.

Vesuviusmama said...

This post resonates with me. I've been pretty firmly in the self-indulgent camp myself. Sure, I do karate, but the intensity level of those workouts varies greatly, and I have been feeling badly about some bodily changes that I would prefer to not see. While hanging out with my college roommates this weekend, one of them and I made individual goals for ourselves regarding exercise (of a type that we enjoy and an extent we feel we can manage without becoming resentful) and agreed to check in with each other once a week for support and encouragement. We started by going to a yoga class together yesterday. I fuss about not having time for taking care of myself, but truly, how can I afford to not MAKE/TAKE time for myself? Yoga is on the agenda, twice a week at home. I've already failed at it - I woke up early this morning to do yoga, and discovered that the floor was too dirty to spend time on (I was gone all weekend and there are two kids and two dogs), so I spent the time cleaning instead. It sure is hard jumping back on the wagon! Good luck to you taking care of yourself! I'm right there with you.