Taking care of myself or taking it easy

A few weeks ago I had a moment of insight after reading a blog post about self-care. The author described learning to take of herself after having a moment with a needy child, and realizing that she was good at taking care of her children by feeding them nutritious foods, helping them get enough sleep, and so on. I've read a lot about "taking care of yourself" and I thought I was doing that, but after reading the article I think that I really haven't been. I've always been the kind of mom who really worries about the physical needs of her children--I try to feed them good food, buy them comfortable clothes they like, limit their screen time, and enforce appropriate bedtimes. And yet, as soon as they aren't home or are in bed, I stay up late, use the computer too much, and eat way too much unhealthy food. Because I'm an adult. 

Well, if too little sleep and too much sugar are bad for my kids, why do I do that to myself? Why hadn't I thought of this before? I feel kind of silly. Two weeks ago, when the kids were last at their dad's house, I bought a bunch of vegetables and made a batch of ratatouille for dinner on Saturday night. I ate the leftovers for lunch for the next few days as well. Tonight the kids were at a family dinner with their dad, so I cooked myself some gnocchi with spinach cream sauce and a batch of roasted autumn veggies. It was delicious. I love to cook, but had fallen out of the habit of cooking for myself when the kids aren't around. It's nice to feed myself some tasty, nutritious food again. 

After my last post about motivation, a friend sent me a message asking if we could text each other for motivation on our particular goals. It was working pretty well, until I fell off the wagon this past week. I think I'll try that again this week--and while in the past I had her texting me to remind me of bedtime, I'm going to try reporting back the next day because I think that will make it even easier to stay on task. There's nothing like having to confess to someone else that you stayed up until 11:30 reading dumb stuff on the internet. 

As I've thought about this idea of taking care of myself, I've realized that there is a big difference between "taking it easy" and "taking care of myself". Yes, sometimes taking a break and relaxing can be an important part of self-care. However, too often over the last few years I've been taking the easy route of not setting goals, not pushing myself to do hard things, and avoiding a lot of things that I should be doing. In the end, this actually isn't relaxing or very nourishing to my soul. I feel a lot better on days when I do things and get stuff done--not excessive amounts of things, mind you, but real things that feel like real accomplishments. Now that I read back through this post, it feels similar to several of the other things I posted recently. I'm just putting pieces together and figuring out how to do fewer of the thing I don't really value, and more of the things I do value.


The Weed said…
Love it.

Self care is so crucial, and this is a in important distinction that I too often forget myself.
Samantha said…
This is why I love it when you write a post. You remind me of things I need to tell myself. You're awesome! Thanks!

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