Thursday, October 19, 2017

Self-care is not self-indulgence. Or, at least, not always.

Fall is a difficult time for a lot of us with mental health issues.  Of course, I don't have stats to back that up, but anecdotally, a lot of my friends have said the same thing. We struggle with the changing of the seasons.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love fall.

I can finally wear pants, cardigans, heavy boots, and cute scarves. I'm not inundated with boob sweat or swass. Also, everything is flavoured in pumpkin, and that's just exciting.

I love the cozy nights by the fire place and the crisp breezes and the colours of the leaves. What I don't like is the crippling depression and dread that sometimes goes with it.

So, it was fitting that on October 10th, the day set aside to discuss World Mental Health, I couldn't get out of bed.

It is no secret I have depression and anxiety issues.  I've joked about them time and time again.

I have written seriously about them too.

With that in mind, I've been thinking a lot about self-care.


Self-care has recently become a bit of a catchphrase that has lost all meaning.  (Like saying "tartlet" too many times! source)

It seems to me that now it is all lithe blond girls on Instagram who take pictures of themselves with large glasses of wine and a hashtag of #lol #blessed #selfcare!

And, while I'm sure that is also true, that's not always helpful for most of us.

What is self-care?

Self-care may better be described as emotional health care.

It is taking care of one's self so as to be the healthiest, best version of you.  It's doing the things to make that happen and to be gentle with yourself when those things aren't an option.

The trouble we come across, as a society, is that we seem to have gotten lost in the line between being gentle with ourselves and giving in to our every whim in a guise of "self-care".

Some days, me staying in bed all day is the only thing I can do. In order to take care of what I need to that day, I can stay there and not feel guilty or lazy.  I just do it and know that tomorrow will be a different day.

The problem is when I'm on day 3 of staying in bed all day.

That is not self-care.  That is depression taking over.

At that point, self-care is bribing myself with pie if I get out of bed and take a shower.

It's all about balance.

But again, if I only eat pie for breakfast every day and then get myself that extra-large latte and treat myself to ice cream for lunch - for a week - that isn't self-care. That is over-indulgence and emotional eating.

Sometimes, self-care is doing things we don't want to do, but that are good for us.

We have to be the "parents" of our bodies and our health - both physical and mental.

Just like with real parents, we need boundaries, we need rules, but we also need to shuck those rules sometimes and go to the zoo.

Be good to yourselves.


  1. I love this -- and your caveat about when self-care becomes indulgence or self-enabling.

    1. I know I have to drawn that line sometimes with myself. And I’ll say, I have to do something about the fact I’ve had ice cream everyday for a month. Someone will respond with “that’s self care!” Nope. That’s me having a problem.

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