Self-care. In reading those words, what comes to mind? Bubble baths, pedicures, a glass of wine with friends? Or maybe it’s like this - drinking a green smoothie, taking a walk in nature, or getting enough sleep. All of this is good stuff, stuff that can replenish you and bring a smile to your face. It feels good when you do it. That’s the shiny side of self-care, the rosy cheeked cherub of things going easy and well.
What if I told you that self-care had a flip side, a dark cousin, a hundred pound weight that it carries around?
Well, it does. And I’ll call it Mr. Fomo (as in fear of missing out). I discovered Mr. Fomo in the last few years while I’ve been practicing a devotion to self-care. This devotion came from need - I was tired, overwhelmed, feeling stuck and burnt out from how I had been living life. It became clear that the only way forward was to really devote myself to what my body needed. Period.
It all started pretty well. I ate healthy, took walks in the park, started going to bed earlier and began a mediation practice. Ahhh, that felt good, and it gave me more brightness and ease. And then I started noticing Mr. Fomo. There was a night when a fun sounding party was happening that started at 9, but I was going to bed at 10:30. I got an invite to a potluck, but there was sure to be very little I would actually want to eat. There was the opportunity to go on a hike, but I was really needing to rest. A cool workshop was happening, but it was my moontime.
One night in particular, there was a gathering of friends I had wanted to attend. I was longing for connection and it sounded like fun. But when I really checked in with myself and my body, I just needed to take it easy and go to bed early. Damn.
The pull of something fun and connecting collided with the truth of what I actually needed.
I found myself being upset, and wrote this:
“Self-care ain’t all bubblebaths and roses. Sometimes it’s damn hard. Sometimes it’s isolating. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and not care. Sometimes I cry because my body needs rest, but my spirit wants to go out for the night. Self-care ain’t for the faint of heart. It requires deep devotion and a service to the bigger picture of a healthy and grounded life.”
You see, self-care is both saying YES to things that nurture and support you, and saying NO to things that drain or deplete you.
I’ve made my body the expert in this realm, and it hasn’t always aligned with what my heart and spirit want.
That’s Mr. Fomo at work - he wants to do all the cool stuff anytime it comes up. He wants to say F it to self-care, let’s go have fun. And sure, doing that sometimes is healthy and good, but doing it all the time is no bueno.
The dirty truth about self-care is that it can be damn hard at times. And that’s part of the journey. So I say put on those really comfy big girl panties and know that it will be a full spectrum experience.