I was wondering what your take is on self discipline vs. leniency with respect to proper self care. I guess my personal challenge is staying on track doing all the good stuff I know about with all the provocations, temptations and just regular failing motivation. Every second half of any cycle I seem to undo any of the progress I may have made the first half, simply because some where along the line of being good I succumb to temptations. I’m curious on your take: Do I hard-line, taking a addiction type of approach (where you can’t fall off the wagon on any given day) or the lenient approach (where you kind of accept you’re gonna mess up and you just aim on getting back up asap).
First of all, let me quickly recap why I talk about and care about self-care as a topic here at holistic hormonal health. Fertility awareness is a way of taking care of yourself that I think is really important, and without proper love of and care of yourself you likely will not love or be successful with fertility awareness. That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but in general taking the time to get to know, understand, and appreciate your body (which are all facets of fertility awareness) don’t come easily to those that don’t take care of and love their bodies. In addition, self care is important for your hormones. It can help you be less stressed, eat better (which is a form of self care), exercise, and much much more.
Also, I just think it’s important to take care of yourself, especially because, as a society, we value women taking care of others and not themselves. This can leave them depleted and resentful (which can also cause health issues). Boo.
Alright, on to the meat of answering this question. What do you do if it’s not exactly easy for you to stay on your self care regime? Do you force yourself to do it or do you let yourself do what you want and trust you’ll pick things back up later?
Well, if you’ve been around here for a while my answer may not surprise you much, because I rarely answer things in a black and white way. In fact, I think teaching other people is a lot more about helping people find the right questions instead of finding the right answers. My answer: It depends.
Here are some things I’d ask myself or someone coming to me with this issue:
- What kind of personality do you have when it comes to addiction/willpower/perfectionism/etc.? You may be someone who HAS to do things all or nothing. There is no “a little here, a little there.” It’s all about doing everything perfectly or you will never ever do it at all. In those cases, sometimes it’s best to stick with things so that you don’t hate yourself and never try again.
Do you tend to get burned out easily and have a really resentful attitude when you do something you don’t want to do, making you vow that it’s the worst thing ever and you never want to do it again? If that’s the case, perhaps you should ease up on yourself when you don’t feel like doing something and just not do it.I think it’s good to take a long term view here. A lot of times self-care things are little tasks that need to become habits. Whether that’s cleaning our houses better (one I’m always trying to improve on since I love a clean house but unfortunately do not have tidy-person habits), exercising, writing in a journal, or eating better, it all becomes habit the more you do it.
So, how are you going to actually do it more? By forcing yourself to do it, or by allowing yourself to slack when you just aren’t in the right headspace for it?
- How important is the self-care? Are you doing something extremely important, like taking medications (or doing alternative treatments) for something like a life-threatening illness? If that’s the case, I’d say do everything in your power to make that stuff a habit ASAP. If it’s something you want to do just for personal betterment or happiness or whatever, I think it’s better to reframe and instead of worrying about and focusing on what you HAVEN’T done, take a look at how much you have done and be appreciative of yourself.
I have examples on both ends of the spectrum for myself on this one. For the former, I have all these little things during pregnancy I am supposed to be doing. That’s really important to me because, duh, I really care about my baby and my own body’s health going through the pregnancy. One of those things is exercises specific to helping the baby not go breech (or later in pregnancy flip from breech). I know I really need to do them because I have some seriously poor postural habits on an everyday basis, but they are kind of a pain in the butt. Even though I’d rather let myself slide when I don’t feel like it, I usually force myself to do it.
For the second scenario, this is me and trash. I try not to make any trash at all, and ideally not recycling either. But, as you all probably know, that’s not very easy to do in today’s society (a lot of you actually might think it’s impossible. This is the lady who originally inspired me with this endevour). I used to seriously get SO ANNOYED anytime I made trash and it made me feel like a failure and made me a lot more likely to just say “eff it” and make more trash. However, now I see how much I am doing, instead of the random “failures” I have, and that’s keeps me on track to keep doing what I do.
Those are my top two questions to ask yourself when you are sorting out how obsessive or not you should be about your self-care. I think that if you can honestly answer those for yourself you will be able to be successful long term, even if it does take you a little while to get there!
Have you had good success with implementing self-care and what did you do? Have you had to do things differently depending on the situation?