As part of this series on self-care we’ve looked at the gifts of burnout and what self-care isn’t. This post is all about the things that get in the way and stop you from enjoying the self-care you need.
Guilt – Guilt is critical here. It’s the number one reason people cite for not having ‘me’ time. Guilt is all tied up with how much we have worked and whether we truly deserve it. Just recognising guilt as an emotion will kick that thinking out of the ballpark. When we talk about guilt in this sense, we mean it feels wrong, we don’t deserve it and it’s almost sinful. When we see it like that, through those words, we realise just how chaste and paralysing guilt can feel. My problem with guilt is that it’s never relieved. We could work a 100 hours a week and still not feel justified in taking a break. My other big problem is that guilt works for other people. It does not have your best interest at heart, at all.
Advice overwhelm – you generally come to self care when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It is at this point that Pinterest gives you 11,598 results for self care – you’re lost, and you’ve guess it, overwhelmed. The truth is no one will give themselves time-out if it’s not doing an activity they feel compelled to do. I am never going to start practising yoga at 6am – it’s not in my DNA. But I will read a book into the wee hours. I’m not going to meditate as I’m not in that place but I love the swimming and would got out of my way to jump into a cooling pool. You have to think “what do I like doing?”. Don’t do something virtuous that adds to your to-don’t list. Enjoy it.
It’s a job in itself – Adding some self-care into your life can feel like you are adding to an already packed list of stuff to do. Which is annoyingly stressful. Overwhelm for me is like being in a swimming pool trying to keep afloat. The water is my to-do list and general life-y ness. If I’m struggling anyway I don’t need more things on my to-do list and more ‘water to tread’ I need to drain that pool! The first bit of self-care is to stop doing something, ask for help and then you can fit in some ‘non-grand gesture’ self-care ideas.
“I’m just tooooo busy and important” Being busy has acquired social status in recent years. A sort of competitive to-do listing. The high that you get from rushing around, coping with twists and turns in your day and still coming out on top can be quite alluring. At a time like this, when we are giving everything to support the needs of other people and where being productive is ranked more important that being happy and contented – self-care can feel far too indulgent and, at worst, a little bit selfish. Ouch!
I might not like what I feel giving your head space and time to think and evaluate can be a dangerous thing. You might feel fed up with a relationship or a work situation or find yourself getting angry. “It is possible that these feelings make us uncomfortable and unsettled which is why we keep ourselves busy as much as possible” says Daniela Paolone. In truth, having some time out helps you look at this situation with fresh eyes. The problem is going to be there, self-care or no self-care, it is possible that you’ll get more out of the situation if you evaluate it from a calm, centred space.