The ugly side of self care

In today’s world of the “treat yo’self!” mentality, it seem like it’s all manis, pedis and bath bombs. And while those luxuries can definitely make you feel recharged and confident, self care isn’t always so relaxing and pretty.

Like many other people striving to “adult” on a day-to-day basis, I feel constantly busy. I sometimes even notice a little more anxiety set in on Sunday evenings, knowing that come Monday morning, I’ll be going nonstop, usually at least until Friday evening. And while some of my busy days may include dinner or drinks with friends, or other “fun” things, my weeks feel very busy nonetheless. And I know I’m not the only one.

My typical work-week days look a little something like this:

4:45 am | Alarm #1 (because who doesn’t hit snooze a few times? …especially at 4:45 am)

5:30 am | Arrive at the gym for a one-hour workout

6:30 am | COFFEE

7:15 am | Leave the house for work… aka rush hour traffic

8:00 am – 4:30 pm |The full-time gig

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm | Any work I can squeeze in to promote FitBump before picking up the husband from work

5:30 pm | More rush hour

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm some nights | Meeting with doula clients | Catching up with a friend(s) over dinner

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, or some nights, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Dinner, dishes, packing tomorrow’s lunch, shower, and (finally) bed.

Because I know my days are packed with obligations, I do my best to set myself up for as much of a stress free week as possible, starting on Sunday– my “self care day”. Unfortunately for me, this doesn’t mean bubble baths and smoothies. While my self care Sundays can still feel busy and tiring, they get me prepared for the week ahead.

I start off the day with allowing myself to sleep in, letting my body wake up when it feels ready to. I start a pot of coffee and immediately head to the mudroom to throw in a load laundry. I know that having all the laundry done on Sunday will help me feel ready to take on the week with only clean clothes.

As I sip my coffee, I’m usually browsing recipes for the week, clipping coupons and making a grocery list (and creeping through Instagram, of course), trying to muster up the motivation to tackle the grocery store. I usually take this time to peer pressure my husband into tagging along, because sucky things always seem more bearable with him around.

Once we conquer the trip to Meijer and groceries are unloaded, the meal-prep begins. Chopping veggies, making meals, cleaning dishes… it sometimes takes hours. But it’s worth it for me to have healthy meals ready to grab all week long.

TBH, my self care Sundays sometimes feel just as busy as the M-F grind, but I still manage to enjoy a little downtime to rest for the week ahead. I allow myself to sleep in, get a slow start to the morning and I typically take advantage of having a “rest day” from the gym, allowing my muscles to rest from the work they do all week. After meal-prep and dishes are done, I spend the rest of the evening, relaxing with my husband, usually watching TV.

No matter how busy my week gets, I always try to fit in other types of self care- the things that I know will keep me going throughout the week. For instance, you may have noticed in my daily breakdown, I schedule in time for a workout, usually every morning… another “ugly” part of self care. As difficult as it can sometimes be to drag myself out of bed in the mornings, I know it’s an hour of time that will fuel me for the day and make me feel good- mentally and physically.

Meditation, stretching, spending time with loved ones and getting enough sleep are other parts of my daily routine that keep me sane throughout a busy work week, and all things that don’t take a lot of time or effort.

While bubble baths and massages and days at the spa are perfect ways to “treat yo’self”, sometimes the best ways to care for yourself are doing the things that you may want to do the least. But often times, these are things that fulfill you in the short and long term.

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© 2020 Erin Brier

erin brier