Practicing Radical Self-Care

How many times in the past week have you stopped and realized your muscles were tensed? Have you found yourself drowning in work? Do you avoid work just for a moment of relaxation, just to realize you can’t seem to find it? You need some radical self-care in your life.

These past two weeks have been rough for me. I’m in the beginning of structured eating disorder recovery. My dog passed away last week. My other dog almost drowned. I’ve been avoiding work and causing for my stress level to skyrocket, which makes me want to avoid work even more. And, ironically, I moderated a class today on body positivity and self-care.

It’s time to practice what I preach.

I write this post as I sit in a coffee shop sipping tea and letting my muscles slowly release and relax. I’m doing this because I gave myself back spasms last week and had to get a shot in the ass because of them. So I’m now chilling the hell out.

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For me this means taking time to focus. Focus on what my body needs. What my mind needs. What my emotions need. My body needs more movement and more relaxation. My mind needs one or two goals a day to complete. My emotions need to be validated, acknowledged, and released.

Self-care is easy to talk about but hard to do. With our current societal standards in the U.S. constantly pushing for results, finished to-do-lists, and innovative ideas, we feel guilty if we focus on ourselves. We are deemed selfish, self-absorbed, and lazy. All of these are bullshit.

To use the classic simile, the body is like a machine. If you never restart a machine, if you never fuel it, and if you never give it preventative maintenance, it’s going to shut down. Self-care is preventative maintenance. It’s saying, “I respect my body and my well-being and I’m taking time for me.”

Self-care for me always feels like a chore at first. You’re telling me I have to take an hour and purposefully not get work done? Yes. Yes I am.

Take a bath. Drink a cup of tea outside. Go for a leisurely walk. Stretch your body. Read a good book. Write a blog post. Do something that releases your tension. Feel your face muscles smooth and your eyelids get a little heavy. Breathe. Breathe deeply.

Radical self-care isn’t new. As we get older and take on more in life, it is essential we always go back to ourselves and make time for selfishness.