When Is Self Care Bad For Our Health?

Personal Notes

Self care can take many forms, a warm cup of tea or coffee, coloring books, face masks, massage, playing video games, a date with your best friend, naps, reading a book, a special dessert, listening to podcasts, long showers, sleeping in, a new hair or beard oil for the men out there, or even cleaning (which is one of my husband’s self care activities). But when do these little acts of kindness turn into bigger things harming our health and sending us down a detrimental path?

Normally my mornings look like this, but today I have been the caretaker of a moderate fever in our house for 24 hours and the feveree is in incredible pain and can’t sleep. I’m doing everything you should, cold compress, cool showers, temp taking. And we even got the fever down one degree, which is a blessing.

This morning I was woken up to a deep guttural moan that turned into a painful yelping, coming from a grown man that looks like a lumberjack. I sprang up into action and stumbled over the cats who were genuinely freaked out. Once things calmed down and the lumberjack was back on his way to sleep, I laid back down to try and rest myself. This was my first mistake in self care. due to the chaos of the moment I hadn’t realized what time it was and didn’t take my medication for my mental health.

Later in the morning after he decided to stay awake and the Tylenol kicked in, I moved him out of our communal space in the house and back to the sick ward so I could pick up, clean, and get to work, since I work from home. Surprisingly, he was compliant. haha.

Instead of melting into the couch with my coffee so I could give myself a chance to wake up, I told myself that I couldn’t have any coffee until I cleaned the kitty litter and put my makeshift couch bed away. This was my first act of self care for the morning… bribery. But some days you have to balance GSD’ing and Self Care with a little bribery.

While the water was warming I was called back to the sick ward. I was happy to see that Mr. Lumberjack was in a positive state of mind, and hungry. So, Dr. Jenny sprang into action and forgot about her coffee, but on my way back to the kitchen I passed the bathroom and realized I hadn’t taken my medication yet and it was hours after I was supposed to, so, I snagged them.

When I finally got to my morning aeropress coffee ritual I finally felt a semblance of normalcy. Our house had gotten quiet again, the cats calmed back down, and I could smell the enticing aroma of coffee brewing up just for me. While I was putting in my creamer I decided consciously that an extra spoon full of creamer would be my act of self care to help calm and nourish my soul for the morning. But then I realized… when is that small seemingly simple act of self care actually bad for our health?

I felt guilt for a moment, then told myself, nah its ok, you’ve switched from dairy creamer to unsweetened almond creamer, you go get it girl! So, in the extra spoon of creamer went.

But it got me thinking, when is self care bad for our health?

Two years ago, pre-medication, I was in such a tumultuous mental and emotional state, that I allowed myself small acts of self care like extra creamer multiple times a day, and looking back it didn’t work and only made my physical body health worse. I was consuming more, moving less and not balancing out those little decadent extras that I was deeming acts of self care.

So how far should we allow ourselves when it comes to self care?

I started setting timers for myself when it came to self care activities to make sure that I didn’t over indulge. I switched to a plant based diet so that I could have a few bites of dairy and meat here and there, and those bites became beautiful little treats that I relished.

Just because you find yourself freaking out because of anxiety or depression, but have the presence of mind to stop and take time to prescribe yourself self care, doesn’t mean that the prescription is always a “small” square of “dark” chocolate. All of those “small dark” chocolates add up and affect your physical body health.

So ask yourself, when is self care bad for your health? Have I taken self care too far? weather its a nap, a consumable, tv, or an activity, there is always balance needed. Just because you decided to use self care, it doesn’t mean that everything will be better. There are other real life things that sustain your ability to live, like work, chores, and grocery shopping, that have taken a back seat to your self care. Instead of over-indulging in negative actions under the guise of self care, look to actions that nurture positive outcomes and help you achieve your goals, even if the goal is just being able to get out of the house.

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