A viral post about self-care has us all thinking.
Unbeautiful, but helpful
Shared by Nepenthe and penned by Brianna West, the post begins by reminding us that actual self-care isn’t about escaping your life or treating yourself.
It’s about being real and helping ourselves, often in very practical and unglamorous ways:
“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing. It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution,” it starts.
“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine…
The post is long and profound, but the general gist is this: to really take care of yourself, you need to be proactive – not reactive.
“A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure,” (hello wine time!).
“True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
Forget treating yourself
Having struck a chord, Brianna’s post has gone viral and has been shared over 273k times.
“If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with ‘treating yourself’ and a whole lot to do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.”
But what about mums?
If self-care is more about parenting ourselves, then it’s really about taking care of ourselves in the same way we do with our kids.
Yep, add yourself to your caring role.
So we know that for our little ones to thrive and be happy, they need sleep – and a lot of it. We know they need nutritious food to feel good and to grow, so we try to feed them well.
But how much are we on top of that day to day stuff for ourselves? How often do you stay up watching Netflix because finally, FINALLY you have some me-time after the kids have gone to bed, but as a result, you are a grumpy cow the next day and find it hard to cope with life? (Puts up own hand).
Or how many times do you eat someone’s half-eaten banana and discarded Vegemite sandwich crusts, to then feel too full to make yourself a proper lunch? One that will fuel you through the pre-dinner tantrums?
While this is the base level of self-care, maybe it’s where tired mums need to start? Then once we are sleeping and eating better (and I know, little ones make this hard. Especially the sleeping), Brianna encourages us to reevaluate our lives so we do what makes us feel good, instead of what looks good.
Self-care “often means looking at your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategising. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others,” she writes.
Self-care is “becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it,” ends Brianna’s post.
To be honest, her post feels like it’s perhaps penned by someone who isn’t a mum (with the mental load of a road train), but I think there is some truth in it.
I for one will be going to bed when my kids do tonight.