“True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to not build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
-an excerpt from this article about true self-care.
Now, you might be hard-pressed to find someone who likes salt baths and chocolate cake more than me…but Brianna Wiest (author of above article) has an excellent point. It’s about building a life that is enjoyable and balanced. In all fairness, I believe all paths of life are overwhelming, but when we regularly feel at the end of our proverbial ropes, it’s time to check in and figure out where the burnout stems from.
Oftentimes, we need to make changes when this happens- and some of those can be very hard. I have experienced this feeling of needing to “escape” from a few very overwhelming scenarios: new motherhood, loss of a pregnancy, and multiple points in my career. All were (are) unbelievably challenging in different ways, for me.
I knew I needed some reprieve, but I wouldn’t take it (mostly because of my perfectionism + people pleasing- probably my worst character flaws). Some of the most common self-destructive mindsets are the following:
“But if they did it, then I should be able to do it, too.”
-Don’t compare your path to someone else’s. Live the life you are meant to live.
“But what will they think?”
-Unless that person is squarely in your corner and looks out for you, be sure to take their opinion with a grain of salt (or don’t listen to their opinion at all).
“This is the way it’s been done for years.”
-Keep an open mind and see where it takes you!
“I can’t do this.”
-Yes you can!
“I can’t ask for help,” or “I don’t know who I would ask for help,” or worse, “I refuse to ask for help.”
-This is the toughest one for me, and I still find it difficult to ask for help. For me, these signal burnout, some depression, and isolationism.
I dug my heels in about some changes (because of these thought patterns), but it didn’t help any of those situations. For the record- taking a salt bath or eating several pieces of chocolate didn’t help the situations, either. Time to change the focus of my energy- the real work to be done was internal. And that’s as much self-care as anything else.