Is your self-care just escapism?
Real talk — a lot of times the way that we talk about and practice self-care veers into the realm of escapism. Little "treats" that we allow ourselves as a reward for slogging through days, weeks, and sometimes even years that feel so depleting, endlessly arduous, and painful that we have no choice but to retreat from the world for a while.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with a Netflix binge, yoga and brunch with your gal pals, or a luxurious epsom salt soak. These self-soothing activities can be life-giving, truly nourishing, and a legitimate component of what self-care looks like.
A problem arises, however, when we use these types of experiences as a way to slap a band-aid on our bone-deep exhaustion, the lack of alignment between our values and our lives, or as a way to avoid difficult emotions or experiences.
Sometimes self-care looks like reevaluating your expectations for yourself and others (even when that feels uncomfortable or scary), setting healthy boundaries in relationships (even when that involves having difficult conversations you'd rather not have), creating nourishing daily routines and patterns for yourself (even when it's a pain in the ass to get up a half hour earlier every morning so that you can start your day in a way that doesn't feel frantic and frazzled), and prioritizing a life that FEELS good over a life that looks good (even when that means saying "no" a heck of a lot more than you're used to). What would it look like for you to take some practical steps toward a deeper level of self-care?
How can you create a life and a way of being in the world that feels more joyful, nourishing, free, honest, growth-oriented, and open to change and challenge?
But being able to self-soothe — to get grounded and give yourself the comfort that you need — is important too. So if what you need is a hot bath with a mountain of epsom salt (glass of sparkling wine and pulpy novel du jour = optional), then here’s my recommendation: Dump in WAY more epsom salt than you think is "enough" before you turn on the water. For relaxation and stress relief, add a little lavender and patchouli essential oils to your epsom salt pile before running your bath. Achy, stiff muscles? Try copaiba and marjoram instead.
So how about you? How do you self-soothe? What does your self-care practice look like? Where are you feeling invited into crafting a life that you don’t need to escape from?