The Foodie Dietitian Blog

A New Way to Think About Self Care (Mindful Monday)

Getting caught up in all the pictures of green juices and spa retreats and massages on Instagram and feeling overwhelmed by self care? I’ve got a new way to think about self care that will help you feel excited about self care and not shameful. This post was sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus. Thanks for supporting the brands and organizations that help make TFD possible! As always, opinions are my own.

I think we have a bit of a self care identity crisis on our hands.

Self care is kind of trendy right now. Everyone is telling you to be kind to yourself, to take care of yourself, and if you can just nail self care, all your problems will be solved.

You start to think well if I can just master this self care thing like I see on Instagram and drink all the green juice and meditate an hour every day and go on yoga retreats and get regular massages and facials, then I’ll be healthy. Then I’ll get it together.

But here’s the thing. Or things.

  1. You can’t master self care. There’s no perfecting self care or failing at self care, just like there’s no perfecting or failing at intuitive eating. You can apply perfectionistic, black and white thinking to anythinggggg, including self care. Notice if that’s happening for you and see if you can ease up on yourself a bit with the self care expectations and grant yourself more flexibility and compassion.
  2. Self care is not just massages and green juice and mani/pedis. Self care is about SO much more than that. Self care is so much more than the idyllic pictures we see painted on Instagram. And so the work we need to do is to start expanding our definitions of self care and start thinking about it in a new light.

I saw this quote from my colleague Marci a little while back about self care that totally resonated with me and I think hit the nail on the head. She said, “Self care is really adulting with compassion.” Self care can be facials and mani/pedis, sure. But it is also how we parent ourselves with a hefty dose of self-compassion.

I recently did an exercise with a client where we talked about this expanded definition of self care and she made a list of all the things that felt like self care and all the things that felt like healthy distractions, and we discovered that there was so much overlap between the two. For instance, for her cleaning was a healthy distraction and felt like a form of self care. Comfort food also felt like a form of self care and a distraction. In helping her to expand her definition of self care, she realized that there were an abundance of ways she could show up for herself in this world.

So I decided to make my own self care list, in case it inspires and helps you to start thinking outside the self care box.

  • Making time for yoga practice
  • Taking a few minutes to breathe deeply
  • Going to therapy
  • Sticking to an early bedtime
  • Relaxing on the couch and watching TV
  • Reading
  • Managing finances
  • Traveling
  • Staying home
  • Saying NO
  • Petting my cat
  • Going for a walk outside
  • Getting a massage
  • Getting a pedicure
  • Sleeping in
  • Grocery shopping for the week
  • Having a (flexible) meal plan for dinners for the week
  • Organizing my office and kitchen
  • Cleaning my apartment
  • Grabbing drinks with girlfriends
  • Making time for date nights with the hubs
  • Eating every few hours
  • Honoring my cravings
  • Eating comfort foods
  • Putting my cell phone in another room away from me
  • No work after 7pm
  • Planning out my work day the night before
  • Planning out my work week the week before
  • Creating space for slow, relaxed mornings
  • Eating breakfast at home

My self care list is NOT sexy. Sure, there are some sexyish things like getting a massage and pedicure, but there are a lot of unsexy things too, like managing finances and grocery shopping and meal planning. It may not be Insta-worthy but it’s worthy to ME. Self care isn’t black and white, either. I have on my self care list travel AND I have staying home. Meaning that it doesn’t have to be one or the other; I can create space for both of these things to feel like self care depending on my mood and what I need. For instance, after a busy week of work, my best self care practice is staying in on a Friday night, ordering take out, sitting on the couch and catching up on my TV shows or reading a good book. AND there are times when traveling really energizes me and fills my soul, which feels like a form of self care too.
One of my fav self care activities as of late is cultivating a slow, relaxed morning making breakfast at home. I try to do this during the week on the days I work from home and on the weekends too. I love making a cup of tea, having a glass of Florida Orange Juice and making a delicious breakfast like waffles or an egg sandwich. And Florida OJ helps me get in one of my daily recommended servings of fruit! Not to mention it provides the amazing 5 in every glass: taste, vitamin C, folate, potassium and no added sugar.Self care is taking care of yourself. And that’s going to look a little different from person to person. And that’s okay. As I always say to my clients with all the different diets they hear about from friends and the media, it’s important to stay in your own lane. What works for another person doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. So rather than checking on social to see what forms of self care your friends are practicing, make your own list. Create your own self care toolbox and discover all of the different ways you can show up for yourself. All of the ways you can treat yourself with kindness and compassion. All of the ways you can parent yourself.

What’s on your self care list?

To keep up with the Florida Department of Citrus for more self care inspiration and recipes to fuel a balanced lifestyle, follow them on social below!

Getting caught up in all the pictures of green juices and spa retreats and massages on Instagram and feeling overwhelmed by self care? I've got a new way to think about self care that will help you feel excited about self care and not shameful.

I’m a nutrition coach and yoga teacher helping people to learn to love food again. I love cooking, taking pictures of my food and traveling around the world. Follow my blog for delicious, seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more yoga and mindfulness into your life. And check out my e-book to learn how to improve your health through nutrition and yoga. Show me what deliciousness you make! Tag me @karalydonRD on Instagram.

Comments

  1. The self-compassion focus is spot-on. Most of us find it easy to be compassionate with others but we’re often excessively tough on ourselves.

  2. I love this. For me, self care is getting in a good workout and taking time in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee before the day begins.

  3. im so happy to see self-care taking off but at the same time, social media portrays only luxurious things as self care which always bothers me. we all need our own self-care tool kit, which we should update as needed.

    i love easy going mornings too but they dont come to often around here 🙁

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